London to Spain. Day 12 – Lleida.

Spain proper. And proper hot – like 40 degree hot.

We started today in the Pyranees, it was borderline cold, we ended it in a furnace.

The journey out of Escalo was amazing. Firmly in the stunning neguaro valley. Most riding from the valley floor as we descended. And we descended fast. It was a great start.

We made the first 30 miles in little over and hour 20. Was great. Then, as we got lower, and the sun higher, things changed.

We began to bake…

Not only that, but the geography was changing. I’m finding hard to believe how the north and south foothills of the Pyrenees can be so different.

We were baking, and suitably, were doing it in the Grand Canyon. There was some climbing, rather worryingly given the heat. But the views were stunning, though, terrified I was going to keel over with heat stroke, I feel I maybe never gave it the appreciation it deserved.

Here are some shots.

We ploughed on – heading for the 70 mile mark and the town of Balaguer for a late lunch, some shade, tons more fluid, to prep for the last 20 miles.

We found the town square and sat down, in the shade, for lunch. The woman had us sold on the menu of the day and the regional specialties. Bad bad mistake. 1 by 1 we snuck the pig fat and bone into our serviettes and off to the bin. It was absolutely vile – I hate slating local cuisine – but this was revolting.

Matt took the lead in the inferno of the Spanish plain for the last 20 miles. Chapeau to him, there was no way I could, and I hung on for dear life. We’ve made it though, and tomorrow is our last proper day’s cycling.

More pictures…

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