Backpacking is our favorite way of spending our summer holidays. But this year we were going to do it different. To prepare for our journey on the bicycle it is important we do a thorough test ride. Thus we would be cycling three weeks around and through the French and Spanish Pyrenees.
Our plans were ambitious and scary. It started with our train ride to Bordeaux, always logistically a challenge with two bikes and ten(!) bags. We arrived in the evening and had a first challenging trip to our planned campsite where we arrived at 12:00 o’clock at night. From there we had five days of reasonably flat terrain, part of it was along the popular cycling track of Canal du Midi. We camped in a field, in the backyard of a nice Englishman who made us eggs for breakfast and stayed at campings.
Then we were faced by our first challenge cycling up Coll du Montsegur. For me it was a mental and physical challenge and I praise Martin for motivating me along the way. Until the top I thought I would never make it and then all of a sudden we made it with tears of joy and stress flowing down. The next challenge awaited us and we would climb for 30 kilometers up to Port d’Envalira. At 2000 meters up there is a commercial village and the border with Andorre. Then cars can enter the tunnel and cyclists are required to bike another 400 meters up over the pass. This is for both of us an all time high and we reached the top at 19:30 in the evening. The next day we were treated to a 66 kilometer downhill all the way down to Spain.
The following week was up and down along the bottom of the Pyrenees through magnificent surroundings with scorching temperatures. We camped mainly at campings but sometimes just where we could find a nice spot and also in the middle of a little village. We were challenged by multiple ascents, had great views and enjoyed being close to each other and close to nature.
At the start of week three we crossed back to France and enjoyed some downhill. But then, when you least expect it, there were hills again; those hills that go up and down and up and down again. I have realized that I prefer going up and up and up with a long downhill than climbing up for short stints. It gives me less of a rhythm. We were confronted with 14% and 18% uphill, although it was short, it was very intensive.
After this the going was easy, we were at sea and we had a maximum of 5 meters up or down on most of the days. We did some sightseeing and before we knew it we were back in Bordeaux to celebrate our arrival and the 14th of July.
We had a great holiday. Although the first week and a half were extremely tough and the rest of the trip was hard, it was very challenging, physically and mentally tiring but fabulously energizing! Our gear set-up is good, we know what we miss and would like to add and we could test routines and practice a lot. Also we tested being around each other non-stop and also that went well. So after evaluating 🙂 we decided that we are definitely going on our big journey to experience a lot!
Off course a lot more happened on our trip, so if you want to know the details, ask us! For an impression watch our movie about the trip.