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Day 20, Ribadesella, This is a day late

Sorry you're getting this a day late - no interweb at the hotel I stayed in at Ribadesella.

Breakfast didn’t disappoint, definitely 4 star to go with the rest of the place. Had scrambled eggs and bacon served to my table. Along with everything else available, I am tucking in like this is my last meal. There’s a few tables occupied, all people my age, it’s all very quiet and polite. Then there’s a surprise. A young couple appear with a baby in a buggy. Who let them in? You can see the panic going around the room. Please don’t sit near me with that screaming child.

I was contemplating more food and a sixth coffee, but decided this was a good time to scarper.

I get back to the room to pack up. One of the last tasks is a quick Email check. There’s one from saying the hotel in Gijon booked for tomorrow is now saying the bike can’t sleep there, despite saying the opposite when I made the booking. Going to have to deal with this later. Give me something to think about grinding up the hills.

Set off with a nip in the air. Stopped to put my arm warmers on. One of those flashing signs you get in places says it is 12C. My glasses have gone back to misting up, so having to peer out above them.

Took the scenic route to St Vincente de la Barquera, recommended by the reception guy in the hotel. He was right, it is stunning, surf beaches and cliffs. There’s already loads of surfers in the sea playing in the big waves. There was even one beach with a Durdle Door type cliff with a hole in it.

St V is a stunning harbour, the entrance through a gap in the cliffs. There’s then a big lagoon behind the cliffs with the harbour and town centre to one side. Really pictureque. Only 10km in, still stuffed, so too early for a stop, even for just a coffee.

The Picos mountains are stunning, they’re literally a near vertical wall right next to me. Only issue, that results in lots of hills.

At the bottom of one hill there’s a big sign, announcing the start of the region of Asturias. There’s then a long, long climb up the next hill. Not an ideal spot to welcome cyclists to your region, on seeing the hill, did think about a u-turn. You’d think if the marketing guy had any sense, he’d put his sign at the top of the hill.

Coming down a big hill later on, I’m doing 40 to 50 km/hour , leaning in to the bends, haven’t moved the pedals for a while. Feeling like this is similar to something I’ve done before. Then it comes to me - it’s like riding a motorbike, so much fun and no effort required. I’m suddenly filled with the annoyance I’ve brought the wrong toy.

For those unfamiliar with riding an e-bike, mine thinks it’s clever, measures the effort you are putting in turning the pedals and adjusts its electric motor power, so the harder you pedal, the more oompth it gives in return. Supposed to make the whole sensation feel more normal.

It has an unfortunate side effect. As you hit the start of a new hill, you’re at that moment where things can go one of two ways. You’re positive, pedal just a fraction harder, the bike senses it and decides, heh he’s on for a challenge, let’s give him full blast assistance, and you get up it. Or, you’re unsure, feeling pretty tired, those five coffees are still floating very close to an exit hole, so just for a moment in a lack of commitment, you don’t quite push so hard on the pedal. The bike senses it, decides if you can’t be bothered, neither can it. There’s a massive loss in power and you’re coming to a stop rapidly. In this scenario there needs to be a frantic dropping of gears to try and regain some forward travel.

I’m facing such a situation as a new hill approaches. I have a conversation with both thighs. OK, whose turn is it to make an effort this time. They’re both claiming having off days with sick notes from parent to justify excused from PE. OK, crawler gear it is then.

40km in, I’m ready for coffee stop and looking for a suitable venue. Perfect, a great looking place with tables in the sun, even some motorbikers there and the whole wall of the place saying camino pilgrims welcome. I think that’s me.

It’s while I’m sat there with my cafe im basso, I suddenly realise there’s been a massive change. Someone’s turned on a 50 gigwatt space heater and it’s gone from parky to sweltering in the space of a minute. Arm warmers off, but it’s still seriously hot. A later village sign now says its 30C.

Around 60km in I pass through Llanes, another stunning little fishing harbour and beach, with crashing waves. I could have stopped there for lunch, but as Ribadesella is only another 15km, I decide I’ll keep going and pig out at the end.

I arrive at Ribadesella just before 2pm. Another stunning harbour and beach. You’re probably thinking he’s exaggerating, they all can’t be, but really they all are. I find a restaurant with a 3 course menu and enjoy my Sunday lunch. My hotel has an amazing position, half way up the cliff behind the quay giving it and my room the most stunning views. No internet the lady on reception announces. I’m having a very bad hotel day. I assume I won’t be sending this until I check in to a new hotel tomorrow in Gijon.

Rang the Gijon hotel, requested cancellation if the bike can’t sleep there, how hard can it really be to find a space for a bicycle. Might have an argument tomorrow.

Distance today 75km

Forgotten how far I've come.


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