Wednesday June 29th.
Blog-log: Kilometres from ‘Go’: 774.4* (373.6 ridden today).
Position: my own home, Tarragona!
* I’m recording the mileage separately (in kilometres of course!) for the Cap de Creus -Finnesterre part of the treck – so the starting record is 21,309 on the clock!
Another day, literally full of ups and downs! And I’ve ended up at home – well sort of, more below!
Spent a good night at the camping, despite being very tired. In the morning I was up in time to see the sunrise and walk along the marine path to the lighthouse on the Punta de s’Arenella – a pretty weird name even for Catalan! – which gives lovely views over the bay to Port de la Selva itself. I only rode through the village, which is pretty small, but I’d say that for this notoriously costly part of the coast it’s the least ‘touristy’ – definitely a recommendation. As was the camping, which I explored rather more relaxed in the morning: hint use the non-smoking toilet/showers, they are really luxurious, in sharp contrast to the standard ones which I was fed up with the night before!
On to the day: first thing: Cap de Creus! You have to ride though Cadaques to reach the lane to the Cape. I’m not a great Dalí fan but you can see why he lived and worked here – the light is amazing, stuck right out there in the sea it would be, bit so is the landscape; the whole peninsular is something else, quite different from the rest of the Costa Brava, and it gets more and more surreal as you ride to the Cape: rocks sculpted into weird shapes by the wind – more on that in a mo’ – strange ground hugging vegetation, no wonder it’s an important nature reserve – No Camping signs everywhere! and that light . . .
And that wind! Oh my. I didn’t get to bathe at the camping because the waves were about a metre tall – far too much for my feeble corpse to swim against! – and I should have heeded the warning. As I approached the final headland the wind howled and shrieked, nearly having me off the bike on I don’t know how many occasions. An example, typical Brit abroad I rode right up to the lighthouse, ignoring the parking restrictions of course, got off the bike carefully and parked it face to the windward to stop it being blown over – I mean that! – take off crash helmet and put it under the bike and . . . the helmet gets swept away over the greensward by the wind and I had to chase it like a kid’s lost balloon! That’s how windy it gets at Cap de Creus! Not only that, I used the term side winds loosely – the wind comes at you from all sides!
Enough: I was lucky riding to the Cape as I beat the tourists. Not so on the way back and on to Roses, really terrible traffic on such lovely roads. So the lesson is, go there well out of season and get out and about early. Roses I bypassed and was then on a mission to meet Peter, a.k.a. Motomarca.com, at Vidreres well to the south. I’d already lost time and was worried that he’d be closed for the typical Spanish long lunch – end of my day if I had to wait until 3.30 for him to open again (it’s 5.30 for normal shops as opposed to workshops and mechanics, etc.). A quick phone call got that sorted – he doesn’t close for lunch and would be busy for the following hour or two with a tricky job. Excellent, I had plenty of time to explore a route I’d found, the GI-664 from Bisbal d’Emporda to Cassà de la Selva. This was truly amazing and I’ll write it up as an ‘Ace Ride‘ when I have time. Less good was constantly getting lost crossing the Pla de Roses; new roads have left the signposts in a state of chaos and routes that made sense to M. Michelin didn’t seem to exist on the ground. It was also getting extremely hot – 37º according to the farmacia clocks in the villages!
Peter was great – a post about him and Motomarca to come. Bit my route on then followed the C-25 trunk road to get right across to the other side of Catalonia. Bad news – the whole road is being converted to dual carriageway, which I knew about, by these works have closed all the overtaking lanes on the numerous long gradients. So I spend almost the entire stretch behind an underpowered Polish truck at 35 kph! To give them their due, Spanish trucks tend to be equipped for the terrain, big motors and hugely powerful ‘magneto’ brakes – ask a British long distance driver to comment on this!
So, I realised I’d have scant chance of getting to the camp site at La Fresneda and I was also getting seriously boiled, as was the bike. So I decided to call in at home – which is almost on the route anyway and I’d taken a spares et of keys in case. “Adventure riding involves staying at home?” I hear you cry! Well, yes and no. I haven’t slept in a real bed since April and haven’t been at our tiny city centre flat since February. There’s nothing strange about this, it’s a case of nursing an old dog who’s got some dyeing to do, and as I have a choice I’m helping him do it in the mountains, which he loves – but I must be a good nurse as he’s kind of hanging on a bit!
One last point: going home also meant going on my home ‘territory’ roads, even though I’ve decided not to keep the bike in the city any more. The C37 from Igualada to Pont d’Armentera – sublime – and another ‘Ace Ride’ in the making!