St Felu de Guixols to Cerbere

For me the optimal usage of a tent while touring is once; it justifies having lugged the thing around for the entire tour while minimising the number of nights without a bed!

The downside to this approach is that it often results in a late start, because I am hopeless at packing the blooming thing away! I can never remember how I got such a huge expanse of nylon into such a tiny bag. Today was a particular shocker and it was eleven o’clock before I was on the road!

The day proved to be of similarly mixed blessings to yesterday, with the what little was left of the morning and much of the afternoon, spent inching along the Costa Brava on flat roads falling into one of two categories: big ones with near constant road works or small ones unable to bear the sheer volume of traffic demanded of them.

The long road works on the bigger roads had a more intimidating feel to them. I was seriously delaying some pretty big freight vehicles and masses of tourists (mostly Dutch it seems) who were less patient than their counterparts yesterday.

Whilst the smaller in-town roads were less dangerous, they were no more enjoyable, as they were just too small. The narrowness of the streets meant that being on a bike was not the advantage it often is in such conditions, the only option being to site there and choke on exhaust fumes.

In the first four hours I only managed 60 kilometres. If I were to come this way again I would definitely try to find an alternative route.

However, shortly after that, conditions (if not my average speed) improved considerably with the return of the coastal roller coaster. The climbs were less frequent than yesterday, but much longer and they begin with a stiff 300 meter ascent out of Empuriabrava that you can see coming for miles.

The GPS registered 1,100 meters of climbing today, of which about 80% came from the final 50K. It would have been a fair bit more but for a handy tunnel that chops the top two miles off the final peak before Portbou.

My legs began complaining on the climb up to the French border and I resolved to stop in Cebere, partly because it met my objective for the day of being back in France (just), but mainly because I could see that there was yet another climb out of town on the cards.

Stopped at the first hotel I came to on the outskirts of Cebere on the basis that it had the feel of an English coastal hotel that has seen better days and might not benefit from so much passing trade. Even so I was still lucky to get the last room.

Last look back at Spain

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Day:12 of 15
Date:31 July 2007
From:St Felu
Distance:121 KM
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