Day 1: When Everything Went Wrong
The first day of our ride didn't start as we planned. Late trains, bad weather, and riding through the night and rough weather can never end well, but it did.
- Day 1: When Everything Went Wrong
- Day 2: First Climbs and 10 Hours in Saddle
- Day 3: Change of Plans
- Day 4: Going Around Col du Tourmalet and Bonked by Finish Climb
- Day 5: Cruising Through
- Day 6: Trains and Royal Descent
- Day 7: Finish at Mediterranean Sea
During day zero we were staying near our final destination in few kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea. Today we planned to reach Biarritz by trains with two transfers: the first at Narbonne, then Bordeaux, and finally Bayonne, a city next to Biarritz and Atlantic ocean.
At 3 pm we should arrive at Bayonne, swim in Atlantic and head to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. It should have been a nice and easy 70 kilometres ride with a small gradient and 840 meters of ascent.
But everything went wrong right at the start.
In Narbonne, our next train was delayed for about 2 hours, and our mood went down. Our ETA had shifted to 7 pm, and during autumn it is a time around sunset. Feeling that there is nothing we can do about it, we waited.
Then we travelled to Bordeaux, where we had a couple of hours before the next train. We took our bikes and went on a ride to look for food. Bordeaux is great, except for bad weather following us. Showering rain and strong wind were our foes.
Next, we finally arrived at Bayonne, 4 hours behind schedule, and still with 70 kilometres to go. It was getting dark already, good news we had lights and reflective clothes.
We skipped “swim in the ocean” part of the plan, and hit the road. While cruising through town we missed a couple of turns but managed to get through the city and got to a nice bike path along the Nive river. After city lights fade behind us it was pitch dark.
There weren’t any lights along the road, it was showering and we got wet to the skin in a moment. Even clear glasses weren’t any help at all, so we rode without them.
Unfortunately after 15 kilometres of an easy ride along the river, we had to move onto the road because the river was going in a different direction.
Riding along with cars has its pros and cons. Cars gave some light, and cars make a lot of noise and splashes. But the most magical thing is that after 5-6 kilometres of suffering, our friends, who had travelled the same route by car, met us by accident and stopped to say Hi.
They had Fiat 500X, they had luggage, but we convinced them that we’ll fit inside with bikes, and oh boy we did! We were saved and crushed emotionally.
We arrived at the hotel around 9 pm, wet to the bone and exhausted. Only a great meal could cure us. We were lucky that one restaurant was open because the end of October is off-season time, and nothing works late.
Nonetheless, we were pretty inspired by morning mountain views and decided that it was worth everything.
Because of weather conditions and darkness, we didn’t take any pictures during our ride, sorry about that.
Next days will have more epic views, stay tuned!