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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 35. Amelie les Bains- Vic

Posted by admin On Agosto - 14 - 2010

127 kilometers. 8 hours and 9 minutes.

JL: The Road just stood aside but overheard the tandem bicycle’s conversation with the Wind and the Sun. In the end, the road broke its silence and said: “My dear friends, you have overestimated, the entire time, the effect you exert on the tandem bicycle’s trip; you must not forget that it was I who brought the tandem bicycle back home.” The Wind and the Sun simultaneously burst into a fit of laughter after the annoyed road made its comment. However, they immediately muffled their laughter and looked at each other, somehow puzzled. The Wind snorted and said hastily: “With my power, I shook objects as I please; I can help them build up speed or I can slow them down; had I not brought good fortune, the tandem bicycle would not have made it”. The Sun furiously retorted: “It is my energy that endows good causes with courage and will and it was my generosity that gave the tandem bicycle the strength to get back home.” At that very moment, the Road gave a self-satisfied smirk and said: “what good is knowing all those things if you do not what the correct path is? It is I who guides men towards their destination.” Seeing the Sun, the Wind and the Road were on the brink of having an argument, the tandem bicycle asked for permission to join the conversation and said: “it is no use being the center of attention if others do not feel at ease with you. Receiving acknowledgement and tasting victory are better enjoyed when shared. That is the essence of teamwork and that was the reason why I made this trip in the first place.  It is good to keep this in mind and to say it to those who decide to travel to make their dreams come true.” And they all remained silent. 

Yesterday we didn’t succeed in splitting the ascent to the Col des Ares mountain pass in two days because of a summer storm that forced us to seek shelter ahead of time. We didn’t know whether to continue the trip in the rain or to stop until the rain ceased. We were starting to get cold; that was what made us decide to continue our trip later. We were soaked to the skin when we got to the hotel, once again. This morning, our sneakers were still wet. How unpleasant it was to wear drenched clothes!

So, today we had to meet a big challenge: to cycle upward from Amelie les Bains at 250 meters to the Col des Ares  at 1513 meters. We had to cycle uphill 35 kilometers in 3 hours and 54 minutes, shrouded in a thick blanket of fog, to cross the French-Spanish border. 10-degree slopes and a paved road in poor condition characterized this mountain pass. On the one hand, this mountain pass posed the greatest difficulty; on the other hand, it held the greatest appeal: the scenery and the mountain towns are worth it. The ascent was extremely tough (watch the video). We made it; not by using our legs; rather, by using our heads.   

For lunch, we had a ham and tomato sandwich, as large as the aircraft carrier Prince of Asturias, in Prats de Mollo. Later on, we bought some fruit in a street market before resuming our trip.

A swift and cold descent. Lunch in Campodron. We went by Ripoll and San Joan de les Abadesses; then we arrived in Vic. All these towns are worth visiting.

By the way, I can tell you, after cycling across six countries, that the roads in Spain are among the best in Europe. The road surface condition, the width of the hard shoulders and the number and clarity of the signposts far exceed everything we saw abroad. Unfortunately, motorist behavior in Spain is not on a par with what I mentioned above. Therefore, there’s still much room for improvement.

More kilometers added to the solidarity count. We’re getting even closer to home!

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