Day 3

Belvorado to Villalcázar.

Now covered 400km in total. The day started great. We paid 3 euros for a breakfast consisting mainly of bread, it was cack but milky coffee on tap woke me up. I then took on the task of getting back into very wet clothes. Not nice. A few of the walkers had set off before us and were on the outskirts of town as we passed. Already drenched. We started the climb to Burgos. With 40ish km’s to go and a climb of 6% in places we just got stuck in. I’d started to have problems with the wet clothes as the water running from my front made my leggings rub on the thighs. This went through the skin and started to bleed the night before. So I split down a plastic bag and covered each thigh with it under the shorts, meaning hopefully no more rubbing and it would get a chance to heal. It did work but i had to keep checking to see they hadnt shifted. My waterproof socks worked. So much that the water hitting my calves ran down my leg and into the top of the sock. With no where to go the water pooled until my foot was swimming. Only at night was i able to tip the water out. The water soon warmed to the temperature of my feet anyway. So i left it.

Into Burgos was nice, greeted by a roundabout sculpture of the Camino shell and the usual Spanish mix of new/old and concrete jungle architecture. We stopped for dinner at a bar which had a pavement enclosure with seats in a plaza near a beautiful old church. It meant I could keep an eye on the bikes, a security conscious state of mind which I’ve explained a dozen times to the bemused over here as because I come from “Manchester”. “Ah…. No further explanation needed…” Warm meal was like a ray of sunshine and the Sunday back drop of a procession going passed beating drums was pleasant but because we were still outside my core temperature dropped. It wasn’t then until the outskirts of the city and the massive climb that I stopped shivering a little.

So we plugged away. Set ourselves a goal of another 100km and as we reached the border between Burgos/Leon the rain stopped and the terrain flattened out. we realised it would be doable. My jacket dried a little in the wind (though everything else remained soaked, all on the washing line outside now, no sounds of rain either which is promising!) anyway we reached a bridge which is featured in all the guidebooks (I’ll update later) and stopped at a little Camino seating area and monument. So Glen grabbed his toilet paper and ran into the woods (think like a bear) and Miles and I took photographs of the old bridge, each other, the bikes, In fact anything just to celebrate being able to get the cameras out again in the dry, I even tried to find Glen but he was too well hidden (think like a bear) and we pedalled through very different countryside right up to the 400km mark. When I slammed on the brakes. Right outside an Albergue. Which is within a hidden courtyard. The “Manchester” in me has made me lock up the bikes. The Camino in them meant there are no keys and the doors are unlocked. I need to chill.

Hunger woke me up. And numb fingers. This area is the start of the pilgrim tracks or “pilgrim autopistas”! And we’ve seen them run alongside the road already. Hoping we’ll make some distance today. After seeing the renewed figures yesterday we’ll need at least 150km per day to stay on target. And the highest climb at Ferro de Cruz is yet to come…..

Glen’s Journal:

Day 3 – 26th October 2012

Belverado – Vila ca zar de sigma – 137 km (furthest push so far) a mile stone was hit at the end of today – total distance covered in 3 days – 400km (248 miles – remember were on fully panniered mountain bikes not road bikes) (Averaged 82 miles a day slightly over)

Even though I could have slept on a clothes line worst nights sleep so far…8-10 of us in this room I had a draft were I was slept too felt sorry for the woman and bloke sleeping near the toilet door.. open close all night..  im sure half of the lot in the albergue were ill… cough cough splutter cough…

I remember thinking breakfast if it was as good as last nights dinner were in for a outstanding breakfast… 3 euro breakfast we thought we might as welk grab food before we go with it being a sunday… breakfast was warm baton bread coffee and cakes..not enticing at all but it was sustanance and calories… so scoff scoff scoff drink coffee which was the highlight….

After breakfast we hit the road to burgos… it was small climb aftrr small climb… followed by a few big climbs…trucks passed us frequently but gave us enough space… my back wheel today was very twitchy on the downhills but it was manageable. …

We got into Burgos.. following a morning of constant rain.. we were soaked very cold and hungry I was slightly tired by this point too… We pulled up at a pub/restaurant called Ojanas…. we considered eating inside but with no immovable object to secure the bikes too… we ate in the glass box outside we warmed up as soon as food started going down ..

Chicken and Chips and cafe con leche… coffee twice… Myles ate inside we ate out carefully keeping an eye on our bikes..we were getting ready to go after eating and I never felt so cold… I never felt so cold I was shivering and shaking… temperature guage on a pharmacy sign indicated 10 degrees but with the rain our cold clothes it felt much less…I needed warm up quickly. .

Leaving Burgos I didnt expect much hills I was wrong constant climbing hill after hill.. we turned off onto a road were it turned flat…  3 of us cycling dow  this deserted flat road it fekt sureal…

We turned following the maps and gps a sign on the left handside of the road said 497km to Santiago… we had completed about 350km by this point… heart sank… we needed to cover more distance… and with the knowledge of 2 mountain ranges to ascend…I panicked to myself Tony stayed calm.. which he always did… I was trying to rack up how many km a day we needed to make the distance. .. the thought crossed my mind will we make this challenge… we could only keep cycling and keep going.. onwards is forwards…

We got going after this sign roads became flatter mile after mile/km after km… 20km pace on mountain bikes thats good..I was happy…

We got to a bridge id seen it many times on pictures.. I was dying for a poo… so like a wilderbeast I ventured into the woods toilet roll in hand… I covered it up best I could… I thought Rachel be proud.. Iv never had a poo outside and I did it on spanish soil…  after this I was relatively more awake felt better.. we pushed on and carried on to 385km…we consulted Myles book another 15km to go and an albergue…. perfect hit 400km after 3 days… I remember this last 15km we flew…  the sun was slowly setting… we were dry.. the roads flat.. we were passing the stumps with the Camino shell… a glorious evening to be cycling. .. 400km we hit it… a photo opportunity… I posed under the sign of villa de cazar de sigma… acting silly..

We booked into the albergue a small but comfy place food served in the pub.. the bar woman from the next village of Carrion… I rang Rachel that night… good to hear her voice..I had spaghetti chicken and flan…. food again was fantastic… we had coffee it was so good…. I was so hungry that night..

We spoke with a woman from Glasgow who was walking the Camino in reverse as she had done it the other way before….

After tea I organised my kit called it a night… my knees were sore now… the first day I think I rode with my seat slightly too low…. causing pain today and the 2nd day… I brought deep heat cream it was necessary for my knees… so glad I brought it…

I wrote in my notes ‘this is tougher than anything I expected’

Rach told me she had found a baby bat in the house and how they had locked it in the boiler cupboard.. it made me laugh…

As I was writing my notes I thought goal for tomorrow 150km further a bonus….  maybe a goal too far??

Tony is a top friend is ability to push on and continue astounds me..some serious strength in them legs…

This blog: Tony Hemans and Glen Eccles cycled the Camino Frances from St jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela covering 845km in 6 days in October 2012. If you are trying to get fit, planning an adventure, long distance cyclist or just curious about my mid-life crisis then subscribe and share!

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