Mon 10th June.
Col de Port. Getting comfortable in the mountains.
Despite the wet, I slept quite well. This was the first time I listened to a podcast I’d had for a while but not heard yet. It was Giles Peterson with Bobby Womack for two hours, talking about his career, stories behind his songs and his recent album and return to the business. Little did I know it would become an integral part of the trip and lift my mood without fail whenever I was down.
Luckily for me, the sun was out and strong. I left my things in its glaze for an hour before setting off and pretty much everything was dry before hitting the road. I knocked on the door to say thanks, but they had already gone out on errands. I felt bad I didn’t leave anything to say thanks, but decided to get moving with my new philosophy fresh in my mind.
I looked around St Girons. It was very historical and picturesque with the river ‘Le Salat’ running through its centre.
I had to get going. If I pushed ahead today, as I could be sure to save a day from the itinerary. I headed south and then east. Once I was out of the town the roads were fairly flat and smooth. For a while a followed a small off-shoot of the river in an ideal countryside scenario. The sun kept up its shine and illuminated the day.
Out of nowhere a guy on a bike appeared beside me and started talking to me. I went through the whole pantomime of being English and we worked on what few words we could share with each other. One difference was that he stank of booze and was slightly unstable on the bike. I really couldn’t be bothered to humour this guy and after he kept asking me the same questions I dropped back and he went ahead not noticing. Strange.
I moved smoothly through the countryside, getting ready for the next Col. I would come across my fifth today. I was getting used to them and the challenge had started to become the norm, not that I was sprinting uphill, but I had adjusted nicely, following the slow and steady mantra of consistency.
I passed through a few more towns and was at the base of the Col de Port. This one was much more mellow, in it’s finishing altitude, the steepness of the hills and the views on the way up. I got going, stopped about three times in total and within two hours I was at the top, taking in another expansive, panoramic view.
The descent was equally as mellow as the ascent, so no major build up of speed, but still, miles of downhill riding in the mountains with no-one around could never get boring.
After this pass the terrain changed again. There was still the space with the mountains looking over you, like a kind of protective parent, but what really struck me was how similar it looked and felt to parts of Thailand, which seemed really odd. The was enhanced further on, when I stopped for a snack and the road I was on was closely surrounded by large rocks with long green plants and trees, densely filling the space. Obviously it lacked the humidity of Thailand, but it was very unusual and amazing.
I continued on my route and kept moving at a solitary pace,covering a good range of land. I decided I had done enough and just when it start with a gradual ascend, I kept riding before finding a perfect spot in a field and getting down.
I cooked the everyday meal of fish, sweetcorn and rice and got a much welcomed early night.