I thought I’d learned to ride a 2-wheeler when I was 5... I thought I’d gotten better at it these last few months… Today, that all seemed to change.
With all the new components, it was like I had a completely new bike! Where had my old friend gone? Brakes feel different, shifting is different, gear ratios are different. I had been worried about changing everything mid-trip like this.
The front cogs are much bigger than my last, so that means that it’s harder to pedal. Worst day possible for this change as this was the day we tackled the start of the big mountains. I felt like I was back in Ireland at the start of the trip - before my muscles had developed. I haven’t pushed my bike since the first day in France - in the Alps of Normandy (excluding that one 18% grade in the Pyrenees), but I pushed today!
Rising 500m was nothing in comparison to some of these peaks (1800-2200), but that’s still ½
kilometer vertical. Some of these roads have a difficult pitch, but thankfully the roads are quieter now. It’s no wonder that these lands were traditionally traversed by foot and donkey - they are much better suited than bicycle. But still there are lots of friendly waves and honks of the horn from the few people we see.
As with any climb, the ascent is hard, but the views are amazing and the descent is sweet. Long, long coasts back down to sea-level again. The bike worked just wonderfully on these sections! Cool breeze in my hair makes me forget about the pain of the climb so I’m ready to do it again.