I start early today, without any delays for a change. The gps file I have of the route shows it should be around 45km to the albergue, so I’m looking forward to an easy day and an early arrival at the beach.
The route out of Soto is very picturesque but hard going. There is a steep up-hill to a ridge with great views, but although the air is not yet hot, it’s warm work going up-hill. Then there is a long descent from the top of the ridge to the beach – some on tarmac and some on track.
This is the beach, hidden in a tiny cove: Playa de Ballota
The track out of the beach is steep, muddy and difficult. After the track becomes narrow and steep ups and downs as it progresses along the various coves. At times my handle bars are too wide for the track, and my hands are trailing through the brambles and nettles on either side…not very comfortable. In the end I give up and revert to tarmac.
Later that day I start to get loud grating noises from my pedals. I have heard something similar before and fixed it with some teflon oil. So I try again but with no improvement. As I am puzzling over it a Spanish biker stops to help, and we investigate together. We realise the granny ring (small cog) has come loose, so conclude I will need to dismantle the whole thing to get at the retaining screws and tighten them. So I resignedly park up by a shop where I can buy cool drinks and set to work. I eventually gt the pedals off and can see there is in fact a screw missing! This is not good. So I just tighten the remaining 3 screws and reassemble the whole thing. As I am packing up I spot the missing screw in the road – it must have fallen out when I stopped! So I dismantle the lot again (I am getting faster at it by now) put the offending screw back in and reassemble.
By the time I am finished I am covered in oil, have lost over an hour and my short and easy day is slipping away from me.
I pass through a lovely village on an inlet (yes another) called Luarca and stop for an ice-cream.
The beach-stop today is in a nature reserve called Barayo, with amazing black sand from the dark cliffs surrounding it. But as I am late I have only a short stop and then press on to the Albergue at Pinera. When I arrive I find it full and the people who run it no-where to be seen, and not answering either phone number available for them. I am too knackered to mess about so I get on my phone, find a stupidly expensive hotel near by and book into that. By the time I get there my 45km day has turned into 67km ! Not the best off days all considered, but at least I now know how to get my pedals off…
One last thing of interest today – I passed another viaduct like yesterday, but this time under construction. If you’ve ever wondered how they do it, this is how:
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