I was tempted to stay another day in such a nice place, but I didn’t. I packed my stuff, let my tent dry out from last night’s humidity while having breakfast and left Urrugne and the Atlantic ocean for good. I cycled enough to the south and it was about time to start heading east!
I started my day very excited, not only because I had a second breakfast by the ocean, but because I was about to face the mountains of Perenees. Of course I was uncertain if I could make it or not, so I didn’t plan for a specific destination, but I had only marked on the map several towns with campsites.
Even being so close to the sea, just after 10 kilometers in the mainland the slope of the road started becoming noticeable steeper. Also the fact that I was constantly seeing groups of cyclists going up and down, made it obvious that I was going the right way. I’d like to note that the majority of these cyclists, were at their middle age. No wonder why I’ve never seen any of these electric/lazy chairs in France. Minutes later I saw the first cycling sign which indicates the name of the col I was going to, the altitude, distance and the grade of the road at that point. 10-15 minutes later I made it to my first top! Col Saint Ignace is only 169m and the grade doesn’t go above 5%, but I think it was ok for my first climb.
After my short break for a fruit and a PR photo, I continued to the nearby village of Sare. Sare along with Ainhoa and La Bastide Clairence are villages that I had read that are very interesting to visit. All three were very small, with similar architecture and character. Nice houses with coloured beams and windows, within a fantastic landscape, full of trees and streams of water. The first one had an open market and I kind of regretted that I had already bought my lunch, as there were some stalls with delicious looking products.
I went to the second village of Ainhoa via Spain. Yes I did cross the invisible borders for about ten kilometers and then back in again. It wasn’t really necessary, but I thought why not, just so I say I’ve made it there as well.
Sortly after my break for food refuel, I continued to La Bastide Clairence and after that I faced the last part of the ride which was to get to Saint Palais that had a camp site. Through out the whole day I cycled through some amazing landscapes full of trees, streams and rivers. It really paid of the effort of cycling up the slopes.
Apart from the first col, I did go up and down the slopes several times. So after managing to cycle 95 kilometers, one thing was certain that I was exhausted and very hungry. I pitched my tent, had a shower and washed my clothes in fast forward and then cooked my self a hefty portion of pasta with sausages, fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic and cheese, which by now has already been digested.