Brighton 2 Barcelona

Day 23

Heusca to lleida, 84 miles, 12.5mph.

We set off from Heusca with the aim of getting to Barcelona in the next 2 days. We got an early start and make good progress, due the slightly down hill roads and the wind behind us. We can see the mountain range of Los Monegros to our right which we are avoiding! With one eye on the mileage counter, we cycle at a good pace with the thought of finishing and resting in our minds. 48 miles later, we have done it, 1000 miles! We stop and have lunch to celebrate in a very small town called Alcolea de Cinco, then it is back to the road to get to Lleida. We have not gone very far after lunch, when the clicking sound my pedal has been making for the last 500 miles stops, great! But then the pedal falls off!

Turns out the bearings had gone and the pedal has been slowly working its way off. Without the tools to fix it properly I am left riding with just the pedal spike on one side, which made riding slightly tricky. We arrive in Lleida and have a decision to make. We could get a new pedal and hit the road again tomorrow or we could get a train for the last section and be in Barcelona tonight. Looking at the map the roads to Barcelona are hilly and are all major highways which we have been trying to avoid. We decide on the train option which would give us a short time to enjoy Barcelona rather than cycling in and then getting on a train to leave straight away. We also have to hope our bike bags have been delivered to our friend, so we can take our bikes on the train home.

3 hours later we are in Barcelona! We haven ridden 1036 miles in 23 days. Time for a rest and some tapas!

Photo 1 Los Monegros Mountains

Photo 2 The 1000 mile mark

Photo 3 The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Photo 4 Barcelona cathedral

Photo 5 Packing the bikes

Photo 6 Bikes in Bags, ready for the train home

how are u miss monk from davina xx and tom
hello peeps xx

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Day 22: Ayerbe to Huesca

24 miles

Kept up by the rustling of foxes in the night close by the tent again I didnt sleep very well. The campsite owner was patient enough with my Spanish to explain that we had to keep our bikes bags shoes and everything in the site bathrooms with the door shut. She explained how she lost many shoes and clothes to cheeky foxes!

Today we both were tired.

We definitely felt like we were in Spain surrounded by farely flat open fields covered in almond trees and no longer surrounded by lush green forests. We were saying our goodbyes to the difficult but beautiful Pyrenees! Today we rode with lorries and trucks until we reached a village at the base of an 11th century castle. The village of Loarre sits beneath the Castillo de Loarre. The castle looks as if it was carved into the rock face of the mountain. A stunning and powerful structure.We admired its beauty from afar and continued to Huesca where we passed through small cobblestone streets lined with houses attached and made of stone. No longer are we seeing the traditional white houses with red window shutters of the French Basque. We tried to follow some smaller roads to Huesca but somehow found ourselves back on the A road sharing with lorries and trucks. We made it to Huesca and after some lunch and an almond biscuit we realise we need to review our situation.

It turns out we have done 952 miles and have 186 miles to get to Barcelona. We have three days to do this as we have a train to catch on Friday. Our legs are aching over slight hills, the heat is strong and we have aches and sore we never knew about before. Can we do this really??We have to try! So we buy the map we need after our last one got blown down a mountain side and seek rest here in Huesca to gather our thoughts and feelings for the days ahead. Tomorrow we go to Lleida! Vamos por la manana!

Photo 1: The Castillo de Loarre

Photo 2: Hills on the road to Huesca

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Day 21 The Pyrenees

Anso to Ayerbe, 48miles at 12.3mph.

Anso is a lovely little village that has barely changed from medival times. The streets are cobbled and very narrow. The building of a recent road has connected the town with modern times and the local area, but it has heavily resisted change and new development to retain all its charm and character. When walking the alleyways the only clue of the 21 centry is the odd car that barely fits within the street. After another great meal, homemade meusli and freshly baked sourdough bread, at the Pasada Magoria we are very reluctent to leave. We go to the panederia, buy some fresh bread, local cheese and some chorizo (for me) and start our journey for the day.

We ride through the valley of Anso which has been formed by the river Veral. Progress is slow despite the fact we are going down hill, this is possibly the most beautiful part of the trip and we want to asborb it all rather than rush through it. Corner after corner we are treated to a new stunning veiw. The surrounding mountains are rocky and covered in beech, fir and pine trees, we ride through the cragy gaps formed by the river, which over hang the road at points. Vultures,falcons and other birds of prey soar around us. It seems we have been rewarded for the tough climbing and elements we faced getting over the Pyrenees with 30 miles of gentle desecnting through a beautiful valley. This is mountain riding at its best.

As the roads and horizon flatens out it seems we are leaving the mountains behind us, a quick look over the sholder and that is confirmed. The mountains we climbed rise up behind us and their peaks are lost in clouds with no blue sky in between.

We camp in a town called Ayerbe and reflect on our experience within the pyrenees.

Photo 1: The Veral river and the Valley of Anso

Photo 2: Entering the valley

Photo 3: Riding through the Valley

Photo 4: Leaving the mountains behind us

Photo 5: Los Mallos Riglos on the road to Ayerbe

Photo 6: The town of Binies in the valley of Anso

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Day 20: Crossing the Border Larrau to Anso

After a good breakfast and a not so good sleep in the tent due to cow bells keeping me up reality hit very soon on the road. Today is the day we climb our steepest and highest peak! Instantly we were climbing away fom the beautiful peaceful village of Larrau up through dense forests roaring with the gusts of wind which stirred their tops. The climbs were a mix from 8% to 13% and definitely felt tougher than the climb yesterday. As we got closer to the top the wind became stronger as the forest got thin exposing jagged rocky mountain faces. Surprisingly we saw cows horses and sheep happily grazing along the edges of the mountain. The Port de Larrau was our pass from France into Spain.When we finally got to the top the wind was as strong as ever. 1531 meters we climbed.Strong gusts made me dread the downhill. A few breaths with some reassurance from Tom and we began the descent on the other side.

The downhill today felt much better as there were less sheep droppings and bumps in the road. It also seemed the wind was less strong on this side of the mountain.However it was strong enough to blow Toms map and holder down the rocky mountain face.I guess we thought we would deal with being mapless at the bottom. It felt good to suddenly be greeting people with "ola" and " buenos dias". We did it!

Just when we started to relax we began the next climb of the day up mount Laza. 1129 metres !! We had to dig out other maps to navigate the next climb.It felt like we would be climbing forever!! We had entered the Valle de Roncal. This climb felt easier than the col before. But my legs were still aching! Few we made it down.

After looking at the map again and reading about a special medievil town not far we headed to Anso. Just when everything started to feel easy and the roads began to flatten we were struck with another climb. 800 metres. Just as our weary legs made it to the top a few drops of rain started to fall and the sky began to rumble. We had to move swiftly down this mountain to escape the impending storm. We arrived in Anso just at the beggining of this sudden downpour and managed to shelter in a cathedral where a Spanish couple informed us of a hotel near by. I think we deserved a good nights sleep! With luck we found the first ever vegetarian hotel in Spain called Posada Magoria.It is run by the ex mayor of Anso and his wife who fought hard to keep the village in its traditional form.We were well fed with organic courgette soup home made sourdough bread oat and vegetable balls in crushed tomatoes with peppers and a delicious local desert like yogurt cheese mixed with honey. All washed down with some local wine and shared among other travellers.

A lovely couple from the USA kindly donated to the cedar centre. We wish them all the best in their travels and their Organic Berry farm in Illinois.Plough Creek Farm! Check it out! A lovely evening and a good nights sleep to prepare us for the next journey ahead.

Photo 1: Cows in the road

Photo 2: Sarah climbing the mountain

Photo 3: Port du Larrau, from France looking into Spain

harrison donegan
hi How are you doing? What are the differences that you see between France and Spain..? see u soon from harrison
harrison donegan
lillie ramsay
hi miss monk how is the beach x
harrison donegan
miss u x
sonny walker
Hi we have figured out that the quickest route from brighton to barcelona is 1532km. How long is your route going to be?
harrison donegan
how are u doing miss monk/
louie lawson
Hi, i hope you enjoyed your cheese! The mountains sound very difficult. Good luck from louis
Hi guys! Harrison: There are many differences between the Spanish and French cultures. The language is the most obvious. The Bakeries in France are called "Boulangeries and Patisseries" here it seems a lot of people buy fresh baguettes every day and croissants or pan du chocolat. In Spain there are" Panaderias"
Which serve bread as well but they have different sweet breads often made with honey ( miel in Spanish). I will try and say more about the differences in the next blog. What a great question!
Lillie: I wish I could say we were still on the beach! We are in Huesca now where there is a lot of dry farm lands around. There are lots of Almond trees! Sonny : Wow good calculations! We have so far rode around 952 miles! We are hoping to ride at least 1000 miles or 1609.34 kilometres! Barcelona is now 300 kilometres away ! We have a train to catch in three days!! At the moment we are planning some tough long days of riding ahead! Its not going to be easy! If you look on the route tab on the website you will see our path so far. Louie: Yes the cheese was really good! Especially after climbing the mountains! It Fromage de brebis or cheese made from sheeps milk. Keep the questions coming ! We will do our best to answer. Buenos noches! Sarah
lovely contry x

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Day 19 The Pyrenees

St Jean Port du Pied to Larrau

23 miles at 7 mph average

It was not long after leaving the St Jean Port du Peid before we hit the first climb that was lasted most of the day, it was the Col d' Iraty. The col is over 10 miles long and peaks at 1327m, the average gradient is 6% and maximum of 12%. Going up was very hard and sometimes we were only going 3 or 4 mph, but the view became even more impressive the higher we got. Around half way up was a local cheese shop, the perfect place to stop and rest whilst trying great cheeses. Back to the moutain, our bikes now heavier with a big wedge of sheeps cheese, we were cheered on by cars and passing cyclists on their light racing bikes. We reach a height of over 1100m and then the road drops down, we are going down hill! What a relief, however this was not the top, we turn a bend and the road ramps up again, but this time to a greater height. Another big effort, more encourage from other tourists and cyclists we get to the top. The veiw was amazing and well worth the effort. We can see the peaks of the mighty Pyrenees, some stand at over 3000m and are still snow capped. We sit and take in the veiw whilst vultures circle above. Now for the descent! Twists, turns and sheer cliff drops were not the only thing to watch out for, goats, cows and horses roam the mountains and walk freely across the road! Almost 2 hours going up and 20 minutes going down. At the bottom we follow a river which takes us to the small and beautiful village of Larrau, time for some local Basque food before bed.

Photo 1 the road to the top

Photo 2 The veiw at the top

Photo 3 Mountain sheep

Photo 4 At the top!

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Hi to the Cedar Centre Part 2

Hi guys! Thankyou so much for all your lovely messages! Tom and I have just come out of the Pyrenees ( mountains) and have crossed the border into Spain.

Fahmina and Ruby: We are in a campsite just outside of a Spanish town called Ayerbe.

Sam Daly: Nice to meet you I look forward to getting to know you when I come back! Hope your enjoying your time at the Cedar Centre! Our bikes are touring bikes. Toms bike is a Dawes bike with 27 gears. It has 3 cogs at the front and 9 at the back with drop handlebars. My bike is a custom touring bicycle with 14 gears. It has 2 cogs at the front and 7 at the back. These are smaller than other bikes which makes it easier to get up those steep hills!

Lucy Ellie Ruby and Josh: We are eating alot Of good food and yes mostly healthy: Breakfast: a big bowl of muesli with banana. Snack: a piece of fruit with dried fruit bar or croissant/pan du chocolat.Lunch: Pain (french for bread) or pan( Spanish for bread ) with cheese and tomato sandwiches. Snack2: dried fruit nuts or cereal bar. Dinner: pasta rice or cous cous with vegetables pesto stock and cheese. We have also been treating ourselves to some local dishes. Tom had moules de frites one night which is mussels with chips. I had the vegetarian salad with Fromage de Chevre( cheese made from Goats milk).In Spain and France there are not many vegetarian options in restaurants so I have to ask the waiters if the chef can make something for me. This is difficult when I am in France as my French isnt to good.In Larrau they are French Basque. They have a different culture here and different types of food. Tom and I had a very nice meal in the French Basque town of Larrau in the Pyrenees.Tom had blue steak and a fish mouse starter with apricot tarts and mint icecream for desert. I had tomatoes with melon for a starter and an omelette with wild mushrooms and spicy peppers. For desert I had pistachio ice cream with sweet fruit bread, like bread pudding but better. Meals have been a definite treat !!

Hi Sonny: Yes I can say my legs are now hurting after the moutains!! We climbed very steep peaks with headwinds and sheep on the roads! I did have to get off at one stage and push my bike it was so steep!! Louie: We havent slept on the beach as its illegal to sleep on the beaches in France but the campsites have been very close to the beaches!

Lillie and Harrison Samantha and Faith: The beaches are beautiful and sandy near Biaritz in France. The water is cold as its the Atlantic coastline the same as the coastline of Cornwall. See pictures of Tom surfing! There are surf schools everywhere in this area of France and kids your age seem to surf and play beach football. Running is hardwork in the sand!

Callum: Yes I did find the mountains scary at times! Tom and I would ride along edges that would drop right down to rocky cliffs. I sometimes refused to look as there wasn't always a barrier. But we had no choice but to keep going. The down hill part was the hardest as the weight of the bikes with all our gear makes us go much faster down steep slopes. Sometimes my bike wouldn't fully brake and I would put my feet down to help me stop. We climbed a mountain 1531 metres high which is like climbing the Ditchling Beacon 8 times! Few we made it over and down into Spain!

Lillie: The tent is now dry and smelling much better after we aired it out in the sunshine. Or maybe we just got used to its smell?? Either way I am looking forward to a long bath when we return to England. Campsite showers arent always the best nor are they always hot!

I am missing you guys too! Its sounds like you have all also been really busy! We have one week left to get to Barcelona. Can someone add up all our miles from our blogs and tell us how far off 1000 miles we are??

Muchas Gracias!
Sarah and Tomx

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Day 18 Anglet to St Jean Peid du Port

38 miles at 10.3mph. Max 40mph

The morning is spent ordering some bike bags and sending them to Barcelona so we can take our bikes on the train back to Paris and then london. We leave Anglet in the afternoon and straight away we are into the foot hills of the Pyrennes. The hills are steep but short, peaking around 300m. In the distance we can see the real mountains towering over us. We ride for for 3 hours, up and down constantly and arrive in a town called St Jean Pied du Port which means St Jean foot of Port. The town is one of the many starting points for the El Camino de Santiago, a popular pilgrimmage and walk going through southern france and northern spain. As we eat our dinner, we are treated to a shower, rainbow, then a thunder storm.

br/> Photo 1: The Pyrennes in the distance

br/> Photo 2: Rainbow in St Jean pied du port

louie lawson
nice rainbow
that is a nice rainbow

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Day 16 and 17 Rest our injuries in Anglet

A long ride 99 mile day and a fall on day 15 left us both feeling tired and slightly disheartened. Not to mention realising I had a sprained wrist which made me unable to change gears and break with my right hand.So we ventured in to Bayonne to forget cycling and be tourists. Cathedrals small cobblestone alleys, hot chocolate and croissant to cheer us up. It is here we make the decision to stay in a hostel camp site near the beach in Anglet for 2 days.

We use these days to be toutists and enjoy the beautiful sunshine and the devine beaches of Anglet. Tom indulges in some surfing lessons while we both indulge in Basque chocolates at L'Attelier du Choc. We are very aware that we are now in the French Basque region. French Spanish and Basque all seem to be spoken. Its becoming harder to decipher which language to use.

Photo 1: Bayonne cathedral and alleyways

Photo2: Tom surfing!

Photo 3: Anglet beach

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The cyclists dream Day 15

With a deterimanation to get to Bayonne or Biaritz we covered 99 miles at 12.3mph. It was a smooth ride through the remaining forest on the cycle paths we have become accustomed to. We stopped for lunch in Mimizan and watched big waves crash in on the beach. This whole area and coast line (around 200 miles) from pointe de grave to the spanish border is a surfers paradise. On our entry in to Bayonne, its getting dark, the weather is damp and we are tired after 90 miles of riding but we are almost there. The cathedral towers are in our sights, then....CRASH!

We both skided on wet tram track lines going round a bend. We're lying in the road, bikes on their sides with bent handle bars. This was not supposed to happen. Shaken, we pick ourselfelves up and check the damage, bodies then bikes. Luckly it was only cuts and bruises. We check in to the closest hotel, to clean and bandage ourselves. We realise just how tired we both are and decide two days rest is needed to take on the toughest part of the journey: The Pyrenees!

Photo 1: Biscarrosse lake

Photo 2: Mimizan beach

Photo 3: Whats wrong with this bike?

Hello Tom+Sarah,
well done for doing this for such a worthy cause! Although I must admit I don't know about the work the Cedar Center do I find it commendable that you would feel so stronlgy about it to put yourself thru this (even tho I know Tom for a fact that at least Tom has an usualaffinity to pain :-) Anyway, well done for your effprts so far and keep it going!!! I will hope to see you when back!
PS: mind those wet roads
hi my name is Sam i am new to the ceder centre
wot food are u eating and hope are haveing fun we have just done a leson on drugs and then we have brake
wot make are your bikes
Hey miss monk it's ruby & fahmina here we just wanna know where you are now? and we miss u
lucy carter
hi Miss Monk and hi Tom how are are you and where abouts are you and what are you eating and what are you drinking and is it healthy food and healthy drinks ? from lucy and Ellie xx
what you are eating now?
Hi guys. How are you doing? We all want to know what you are eating every day? It must be healthy! See you soon. Josh
sonny walker
hello its Sonny how are you are you having fun are your legs hurting from the long ride? what land marks are there?
louie lawson
have you slept on the beach and what have you been eating
louie lawson
louie lawson
have you slept on the beach and what have you been eating?
hi is Callum and Arron
Hi its harrison what are the beaches like? thank u for making money for are school wish u luke. from harrison.
Hi its harrison what are the beaches like? thank u for making money for are school wish u luke. from harrison.
lillie ramsey
hi its lillie hows your tent
is it scary going the mountains?
hi it is samantha and faith what are the
lillie ramsey
hi its lillie how are you and hows the beach x
lillie ramsey
are there stones there and what do you do there
hi it is Faith and Samamtha what are the coastlines like are they rocky,sandy or smooth?

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Day 14 Carcans plage to Biscarrosse plage

Around 40 miles ( bike computer issues)

The day starts with a swim and some body surfing before riding through the forest. We are passing many other cyclists young and old because of the amazing surroundings and off road cycling. We make a stop at the Dune du Pilat, the largest sand dune in Europe. Its height is around 114meters and is moving around 4meters eastwards a year due to winds. It has swallowed trees, a road junction and even a hotel in the past. The climb up is tough, but the awesome view is well worth it! Along the way we befriend a fellow cycle tourer who we camp with and share dinner in the evening.

Photo 1: On the dune du Pilat

Photo 2: forest path

Photo 3: dune and forest

josh smith says hi
what do you eat in France that we don,t eat here? love davina and Shanice xx
harrison donegan
ho miss x

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