Detours

Week 4 - Hairpins

Simon

We had to take a bit of  a detour the other day. The road we chose through the Pyranees had three tunnels on it. Problem is, cyclists aren´t meant to cycle in them as the car fumes can get pretty nasty, particularly in the longer ones. We´re committed to riding every bit of our route, apart from of course any sea or ocean crossings. While crossing any landmass, we cannot be assisted by any other means of transport, such is the nature of an unsupported expedition.

After climbing for about 3 hours into a strong, freezing cold headwind, we were about to pass through our third tunnel of the day when an official stopped us and said in no uncertain terms (he threatened to call the police at one point) that we weren´t allowed to pass through this final tunnel. He pointed us in the direction of the wee road that went over the pass and sent us on our way. The road was narrow and very steep, at one point I swear I saw a snail overtaking us! It was pretty hard work but as we ascended to the snowline we were rewarded with breathtaking views of the Pyranees. Even better, we found a great pub and settled by the roaring log fire for a couple of beers and a big feed. We eventually peeled ourselves from our cosy surroundings, donned our down jackets, balaclavas and thermals and headed on a 32km downhill to Pamplona, our route unbroken.

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