London to Spain. Day’s 10 (rest) and 11 – Escala

We spent yesterday in Bagneres du Luchon, our first proper rest day, watching the Tour de France, recovering and ‘re-hydrating’, well sort of dehydrating and rehydrating at the same time.

Was a cracking day and managed to take in the finish of yesterday’s tour stage. Realise most folk aren’t interested, but here are some real cyclists.

Also managed to get Lamby into the swing of things.

The day largely involved, sleeping, eating and lubricating…

The Tour is some machine, I’ll say that. What an amazing logistical machine that is. Even as we rode today, over one mountain pass, tour traffic, including the entire marketing caravan, replete with Cartoon goldfish adorning cars, was coming the other way, just to get to the start… they do this every day. There must be thousands of vehicles involved.

So…today. An absolute corker.

Day 11. Bagneres du Luchon to Escala – Espagne

So to frame today in 3 words. Mountains, Pro-cyclists and, most importantly, Spain!!

First job of today, get up and over the Col du Portillion. And what a joy that was. A relatively easy climb, in relatively cool climes, shades by trees, with the most stunning of scenery.

We made good work of it. And the prize… Spain. The border, high in the Pyrenees between France and Spain was at the top.

After the decent we stopped in Bosot. A small town for a quick refill, water, coke and energy. Weird that we were suddenly ‘speaking’ Spanish… I resorted to Oui and Si just to be sure.

Upon leaving Bosot, it quickly became clear that almost all of the Tour de France cycling teams had been staying in Spain, and near here…

As we cycled along – facing a 17 km, 5,000ft climb, a group, a trio, in fact of cyclists approached in the other direction. They had a support vehicle, they had 2 support vehicles. It was none other the Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal – out for a warm up ore- today’s stage. You’ll have to take my word for that, but shortly after we passed the teams hotel.

In the next town we encountered almost all the other teams. Some shots…

The rest of the day was largely getting over the highest climb of the trip, the Port de la Bonaigua. It was long, high, but the gradient was easily manageable… it was stunning. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

So, we’ve successfully made our first night in Spain. And our hotel is brilliant. Happy happy days.

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