La Grande Boucle de Pyrenees travel blog

A view of the valley from which we climbed to Port del...

A llama statue at Port del Comte decorated irreverently.

Coffee and Coke stop in Vilada after lunch on the second last...

Street view in Vilada because I hadn't taken many pictures.

Panorama of the town of Berga which we actually bypased.

Fornols to Borreda

I forgot to mention last night about two incidents of interest. Firstly, two of our fast men Marc from Germany and Gerhardt from Belgium shot off and missed a vital turn. Because the route they chose followed a similar profile to what they wer expecting they managed 28 km befor they realised that they had gone the wrong way. So they had to come back of course, making a 56 km detour. Not satisfied with that they misread the map again while on the correct route and again went the wrong way. They finally rolled into camp at abou 5:45 having done nearly 75 km more than the rest of us. They didn't seem too upset over the situation. They are very strong riders. In a different incident David overcooked it on a left hand downhill curve. He applied too much back brake and fell heavily on his hip. Today he has a bruise the size of an entree plate on his left hip. Needless to say he didn't ride today but will try tomorrow so he can do the ceremonial ride finish into Barcelona.

Rain, thunder and lightning in the evening made for a soggy meal and an early night. The rain eased off fairly early and I woke, afetr a good sleep, to clearing skies. The tent was a bit soggy when I had to pack it away for the second last time. The camp site was quite steep and small and tents were packed in quite solidly. Little did I know that our next camp site would be even worse. The profile fro today's ride showed two cols, neither of which was listed in the ride guide. The first, Col de Port (1658m) was only 14 km from camp and the climb started basically at the front gate of the camp. It was a fairly easy climb but made more memorable by my first puncture for the trip. I had a feeling that there was a sharp bit of stuff in a cut on my tyre and I had been meaning to check it out but forgot. This came back to haunt me after only 30 minutes today. With a bit of help I had the tube changed in five minutes and we were off again. It's funny how you feel a bit tentative for quite some time after a flat and every time the back wheel makes an unexpected move you think "Uh Oh". The descent from the coll was almost 20km to our coffee stop at St Llorenc de Morunys. Up again to something called Coll de Jou (1480m) but when we got to lunch we found we were at the top of the climb and it was only 1200m - no complaints! Another descent, another coffee stop and then we rolled into camp at 2:30pm afer only 87km. Due to my puncture I was one of the last to arrive and all of the good camping spots near to the trucks were taken. I had to climb some steps to the caravan park section to find a suitable spot for my tent. It may turn out to be a blessing in disguise as I think that the tents are so close together that when one person rolls over so will everyone else.

So, up to the bar to watch the latest episode of the Tour and have a drink before dinner. Speaking of drinks, some of the riders put away a huge amount of beer and ther are a couple who I am sure have serious alcohol problems except that they don't know it yet. Today's weather wa pleasantly cool with a maximum of 22C on the ride into camp. Tomorrow is a longish stage of 125km which will finish at a hotel in the hills above Barcelona. It's hard to believe that 21 days have passed so quickly.

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