Days 5 to 7: to León

30 May 2016

First off, an update on the Garmin relationship. We seem to have reached an uneasy truce, where it realises it needs me for charging and I need it for routes, and has been cooperating much more in the last few days.

I’m sat in León enjoying the beginning of my second rest day, having spent the last three days riding from Melide, about 270 kms. When I look at my position on a map, it finally feels like I’m making progress across northern Spain. And after rain, hills and threat of massive thunderstorms that’s quite pleasing.

The first day out of Melide saw nearly 2300 metres of climbing, the first serious bit of climbing on this rather heavy bike. Stunning scenery saw me through the day, though; if you’ve not seen them, I’m posting a few pictures as I go over on Instagram. Protip: if you’re ever in need of help on a remote country road and there’s no one around for miles, just go and relieve yourself. A dozen cars will suddenly appear from nowhere.

The weather forecast was looking increasingly bad for the next couple of days, with thunderstorms and heavy rain predicted. Heavy rain I can cope with but thunderstorms, on a bike, no thanks. I booked a hostel partway to my intended destination so I could stop there if things looked dicey, and started early to try to get done before the storms hit. In the event, there were no storms, just damned cold, heavy rain at 1500 metres. Only when I stopped to put on my winter gloves at the top of the hill did the rain decide to ease off.

An easy 50 km ride into León yesterday, with rainclouds chasing, saw me arrive just after 11am. Thankfully I had breakfast number 2 on arrival as I’d completely forgotten how everything shuts down on a Sunday afternoon in these parts. Everything. I decided that the calories from beer were the only option so I settled in a bar with a book until the restaurants opened at 8.

Tomorrow I leave this inland route and head through a national park to the north coast. An easy few days with little climbing are ahead, which will give my legs some time to prepare for the rather hilly ride along the coast and down to Pamplona. The rotations of 110/110/50 km followed by a rest day seem to be working really well, although time will tell if that’s gonna work for an entire 6 weeks…

I’ll probably move to writing once every 4 days now, when I’m on my rest day, so expect the next update when I’m over in Santillana del Mar. And if you’re not following me on Strava, here are the last few days’ rides:

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