Today is my first day on the Camino de Santiago norte…the northern route. I can tell from the gps profile that there are no big climbs and some tarmac and I reckon I can do 60-70km. So I have booked a hotel in Itziar and am aiming for that.
The day starts well with an off-road section through woods along a coastal range of hills. I pass many other Pilgrims (Peregrinos) mostly walking and a few riding. At Pasaia I have a steep descent that ends in steps – most of which I can take riding the bike & trailer…it’s only the tight corners (as usual) that I have problems with. Then I have a ferry ride over the inlet, where I have to detach the trailer from the bike and put them separately as the ferry is so small.
The route gets more difficult after the ferry, and I have to pull the bike and trailer up some pretty steep ascents as the path winds up and down the coastal cliffs. The views are great though.
I stop for lunch as I pass through San Sebastian and chat to some American girls who are touring Europe – but they are doing it in style, not sweating their way along on a bike. I hope I was sitting down-wind of them….
Afterwards the route is mainly on tarmac, and it is VERY hot. I have the part off road has taken it out of me and I am pretty exhausted towards the end. When I get into the hotel, late at around 7.00pm, I realise that the constant up and down along the coastal hills has totaled as much ascent as my past days in the mountains. In fact I think today is my biggest total ascent at 2388m. On reflection this is not a surprise – if you are constantly going up down up down up down you will total as much ascent as if you go up up up down down down. You only get less ascent if the gradients are low or you’re on flat land. As you can see from my GPS profile below, I was at no stage on flat land.
I think 75km may be too far with these climbs even if some of it is on tarmac. We shall see tomorrow.