The campsite office had put up severe weather warnings last night, and we weren’t disappointed: there were storms over night and it was still raining this morning. We still managed to hit the road by 8.30 after a copious amount of ‘Cruesli’ – a chocolate muesli Sam recommended.
It was pretty hilly from square one, as we made our way down the coast towards Irun, and the going was made more interesting by strong winds and driving rain. The real climbing didn’t start until we turned inland and at the spanish boarder and made our way into the Pyranees. We followed a river to start with, so it wasn’t that steep, but soon enough we’d left it behind and started in ernest. We were directed off the main road onto a smaller one, complete with classic switchbacks, which were tough going. We stopped for lunch at a cafe on the way up and received a bit of a spanish revision class from the bar tender, as well as an unwelcome exaggeration of the number of kilometres to go until we reached Pamplona – today’s target.
As we neared the top of the climb I got a puncture – we stopped to repair it, and were nearly done when we were told to move up to a lay-by by traffic police. This was an inconvenient suggestion as I had a wheel of my bike and kit everywhere – we might have protested more forcefully, but noticed that he was armed and thought better of it! After a photo on top we descended quickly to a campsite near Pamplona, which came as a relief as we were all pretty cold by that stage. It’s been another great days ride, but we’re all hoping the weather becomes a bit more Spanish (i.e. ‘scorchio’) tomorrow!