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Europe by Tandem

From Castellon (Spain) to Northern Cape (Norway) by Tandem supporting the fight against cancer.

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Day 32. Privas- Saint Hippolyte du Fort

Posted by admin On Agosto - 11 - 2010

142 kilometers. 7 hours and 26 minutes.

IVAN: Right off the bat. Beads of sweat on my forehead trickled down in between my eyebrows, ran down my nose and jumped into the void from the tip of my nose again and again. Right off the bat. Today my swollen blood vessels stood out on my arms and legs; they pumped, by means of a pressurized fluid, gasoline into my muscles right off the bat. Today my heart and my lungs worked hard. I exercised aerobically, and on some ocassions, anaerobically as well right off the bat. I had to roll up the sleeve of my right arm, bend my elbow with my arm at my side and check my pulse right off the bat. Today I got into a one-on-one conversation with the mountain right off the bat. Today, the mountain did not want to experience delays.

The profile of today’s mountain:

The following video shows the final part of the descent over the mountain ridge (see graph above). Please, pay rapt attention to the way the van driver recklessly maneuvered. I make a direct appeal to the readers’ sympathy: cyclists deserved to be a little bit respected. As the wise saying goes, “It’s better to lose one minute of your life than your life in one minute,” which takes on its true meaning here; however, in this case, it’s not the van driver’s life we are talking about but other people’s lives.

Today’s stage was extremely hard and long. The searing heat and the continuous ascents and descents along mountain trails burnt us out. (note: the profile sells itself short because of the first mountain; but, if you take a close look, you’ll see that, in fact, it’s saw-like, full of ups and downs; 50 meters up, 50 meters down again and again). That first steep mountain made us think, in the very beginning, that the beginning of the ascent, (if you will forgive the repetition) was the hardest part, we were wrong though. What’s more, it was not difficult at all and, if we compare it with crossing the Pyrenees, well, it was a piece of cake. The Pyrenees, that’s tough. Once, somebody said: “No pain, no gain”; well, Spain is our gain.

Today’s stage started off in a town near the Rhode river. The vegetation was very green and thick. Once we crossed “the wall”, the surroundings had a Mediterranean blend; their vegetation constantly reminded me of the vegetation you see in the place where I live. If there had been orange trees instead of vineyards, I would have thought I were at home. 

Last but not least, we got a flat tire, again. I think it’s the 4th tire we have replaced since we departed from North Cape. Well, it’s not that bad. One flat tire every 1000 kilometers. 

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