Thursday, 3 October 2013

Trip recap, some tips

Its been a few weeks since the Powton Pilgrims completed thier peddle pilgrimage on the Camino De Santiago de Compostela, and I thought I would come in and post some thoughts about the trip, and ideas if you were silly enough to take such a trip on yourself.

Training, start early, ride lots, and the more hills and longer hills you do while training the better. Makes the trip that much more enjoyable. Lyn did a great job booking hotels along the way, something we needed to do since we needed seven rooms. Depending on the time of year, and size of your group you may or may not need to book in advance. We rented a van, learned that anything above seven passangers does not get insurance covered under the standard visa rules. Hired a guide to be our driver, so no one had to drive. He was great to have, and he did an awesome job.

Do over ... Smaller group, smaller van, and bring someone that speaks Spanish and bring a driver, find someone that wants to see Spain , but wouldn't want to ride the Camino. You do see some awesome parts of Spain! Much smaller group more than six, whos conditioning is not in doubt, and ride each day without a fixed destination, as some days you may want to cover more ground, others less. Maybe Do it over 17 days, allowing you to stay
in some towns if you want. We rode every day, no breaks, and got the ride done as "planned"; departing on the 1st, arrived on the 15th. I am sure a few of us could have done it in a couple less days without much more effort, maybe just a little less beer and wine. Another key, make sure no budget issues, money buys you comfort on the Camino! if you have any budget restraints you can go the cheaper option on accomodations, and of course you can go cheap on food as well.

We had very good accomodations (thansk again lyn) , and ate very well almost every day. I did have Nuun tablets for my water, and cliff energy , and cliff protien bars to eat, oh plus Gu mint chocolate gel as needed.

Bikes ... Glad we went with rentals ... Thank you Bike Iberia, they held up very well. Full suspension is the way to go if you if you are going to ride the walking path, as these were newer Giant Anthems, you have the option to shut off the suspension. The down hills can be extreme, so I know I fully utilized all my suspension and breaking ability. Reflected on bringing my own bike, nope ... I would not want to, the bikes took a beating, and would need a full service when you got them home, unless you at a full DIY'r the cost of the restoration service, the shipping to and from would be greater than what we paid for the rentals (325euro).

While we have fully enjoyed our time in Europe after our ride, I'd suggest just booking a two or three week trip focused purely on doing the Camino. The cost of shipping of riding gear home so that we did not have to lug it around Europe was excessive (two duffle bags,under 30kilos ... 690euro)

Most important ... Just do it ! Doing the Camino was worth it

Monday, 16 September 2013

Some interesting pictures

A Templar Knight castle !

Morning bike prep

Tourist stop

A high point on a day ... Meaning nasty hill ... Stopping for a rest

Linda found another cool character along the way

The girls chatting up some Spanish guy .. Oh right our guide/driver Javier

Just in case you needed directions

Killing time waiting 

Found a fun option in the camera ... Takes years off me !

A interesting canal we crossed over

Ain't they cute together ! Coming up on 32 years ...

Powtown peloton 

Powtown power boys ! I'm sure we were not thinking "so how far back are the women folk now" 

Nope not us ! Some other crazies swimming in another canal we crossed 

Had views like this over and over ... Price was always worth it (aka hill climb)

The final stop ! 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

We have reached the end

We have reached the end of our ride !

Group pictures taken in front of cathedral ....

It was quite a nice ride ... Through many little villages ... But most enjoyable was the trail wondered through a forest most of the way today. But really really tired oh hills ... 

The walking pilgrims were not as bad as I expected .

Group dinner planned for 7 tonight ... Honest we will try and get some pictures added so tune back in here over Te next week or so and pictures will appear !

Hope you have enjoyed following our journey. 

It wasn't as hard as I had expected ... Thought I would feel
Completely drained ... But not so much at the moment ... Must be the rehydration strategy we were coached by mr Gray to follow . 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Doug's favourite t thing ! Who would have know

Ok ... At
First I thought hey were rest stops ... But little did I know there were pictures taken each time

Almost there! And it's getting crowded

Ok, feeling done today. 55k's almost four hours of riding ... Done with hills ... Who invented the darn things? I know I have seen bulldozers around, flatten some of these hills already ...

Stopped in Melide, about 45 k from Santiago. By the end of the day, just wan the ride to be over, generally means trying to speed up , but really get slower.

Crowded traile, definitely notice more walkers, some clearly hurting, bandages on knees, or looking like they have very very sore feet. Some look to fresh to have walked for long, as we are within 100 k, I bet that is all some are doing. Really though, do you have to walk three or four abreast blocking the trail? Oh even worse, one little section no one was on the trail besides the road, which looked perfectly nice to walk or ride on ... But nope they were four wide on the road. Just happened to be on a downhill ... Didn't quite create enough of a wind blast to blow off their hats when I zipped by.

Today was some very enjoyable and small towns. Interesting speed control methods used by some.

Those that stick to the highways miss many of the interesting little things you see along the trails, and the smells! Which can be quite bad, some are just down right outrageously horrible. Always makes me thing of the little Thai villages Leslie and I have been in, sleeping over the cows, pigs and chickens ... Amazing how little those ones smelled, but not here in Spain ... Yuck

Over 800 k complete and no casualties! Yeh ... Everyone is still riding.

Friday the 13th postmortem

Forgot all about it being Friday the 13th until the silly old man tried to run me over on the highway. We generally ... Over 90 % of the time ... Stay on the trails.

Fridays ride was a tough one, started with a climb of over 700m, in 9.2 k winding us up and out of a valley where we had stayed the night before. The rest of our Friday was another 45k mostly downhill.

Stayed outside of Sarria, along the pilgrim trail at a "hostel" but more upscale than the standard ones. Been hearing stories of bedbugs in the pilgrim Albergue's/Refugeos. Glad we went with the better accomodations.

Regular rehydration and refueling night ... Probably not the best tactic for surviving the Camino, butheh only two more days of rising.

The lightening Peddler, and his partner the Paradise peddler joined in the fun today! Great having them along.

Friday, 13 September 2013

$@&$&&$$ old Spanish f$&@head

This is the dumbass Spanish old shit that hit me today !

Clipped my handlebars and wrist with his mirror 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Hammering down the Kim's

Hola from the Camino,
Today we are in Herrerias, literally a one horse town!!!Small and cute, the weather is spectacular, a short little ride today,drinking vino tinto, life is good!
Last time I blogged we were in Sahugun, 205kms ago, and 4 sleeps ago....Patti and Mark arrived today, full of piss and vinegar to ride the last150km with us!! 
Last night we were in Villafranca, things got a little crazy with a few of us PowTowns and a couple from CowTown...drinking and carrying on..And then SpiderMan.. Climbing up sides of buildings, stealing cycling jerseys!!!! Thank god it was a short ride, and a sleep in.. 
Hard to believe we will be in Santiago in 3 days!!We are all doing great and feel stronger every day.. 
Tonight we are celebrating Mark and Margie's 32nd anniversary.. Hopefully thing don't go sideways...
Last night I lost all my pics from my iPhone!!! Camera plus crashed on me! So will post what I have later

Our shortest day!

Well it started out with an extreme ... At least 15 % hill, But only for 1.5 k. After that all downhill ... Mostly. Over in 20 settled into a cute little hotel/lodge ... Not long enough day to tell you anything interesting. Got settled in quickly, so some of us took the van back to Ponferreda to check out the Templar castle, but as life has it in Spain ... It was closed for the afternoon siesta.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The longest ride of our Camino is complete

We got off to a group ride out of Astorga, our destination ...Villafranca el Bierzo, almost 80 k away. a few nasty hills but some great downhill runs, some of us took the single tothers prion aka the walkers path, others took to the road. Whatever your pick ... fun was had by all. I had a little interaction with a rocky bank on the trail ... The price one pays for speeding. Heard a few other little flop overs ... Nothing major though. Scenery ... Where are the picture takers eh! When we get a chance I will get them from others and fill them into previous blogs.

Tomorrow, but over a mountain, but only 25 k day! So we are sleeping in an extra hour.

Last of the easy days ...

Zipped along at a good pace today ... But slow enough to smell the flowers and sheep dung. The coffee shop by the bridge was good, had a chat with four Irishman ... Walking the Camino ... Say them again in Astorga, tonight's host of Powton Camino Peddle Pilgrims.

Poor Doug ... Had a blowout on his rear tire, and he wasn't "just going along" he was stopped checking out a bike store . That being our only bike equipment event today, we call that an great day.

Wonder way Spain is almost banrupt, I swear this street cleaner went over the same bit of road half a dozen times.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Leon's beautiful cathedral at night

On our way back
To our hotel tonight ... Passed by the cathedral ...

Looks rather good at night don't you think?

Two views

Coffee stop !

Morning coffee stop ... 
At the end of a cool bridge !

Monday, 9 September 2013

Past the half way point - Leon

Well we all have survived, albeit with a few cuts and bruises ... And one short hospital visit. Finished a fairly easy 65 k today into Leon. fun riding up into such a busy city centre. Lyn has us in another great hotel, NH Plaza Mayor.

We did stop and take a few pictures today! Same as yesterday wide open spaces ...

Passed a silly Aussie walking in bare feet! Doug talked to him a bit, seems the poor fool lost his shoes in Pamplona before he started walking and decided not to buy any more.... Whatever ... Think he does it for attention!

We departed by 8 which was great as the sun rose up behind us, also meant we got to Leon with the whole afternoon to explore ... Once showered and cleaned up we will head out for a little food and rehydration :)

Leon ! Great hotel

Nice plaza ! 

And now looking out from hotel 

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Don't listen to Rene...

Yes it was a long boring day on the Camino.... But... It wasn't as bad as he makes it sound!!!
If he would only slow down and take in the moment!! Wide open spaces, makes me think of Dixie Chicks.. Have never ridden thru the prairies, driven thru some parts of Alberta tho, and have always admired it with an open mind!!
Only took a few pics today , cos we seemed to be at a Tasmanian devil pace.. Of course I was lagging in the rear, but that is why I'm the only one with a few pics..
I even found a Spanish Nono, who is so adorable, helped us find our hotel, and 2hrs later he is here having tea, while the locals are playing cards and having drinks. We are 10km out of the main town in a tiny village ... Life is Beautiful...

Oh can it drag on any more

Yikes that was a flat boring day ... 66k flat most of the way ... Like riding in Saskatchewan ... I felt for the walkers ... No shelter / shade for ages .... Gar just read me tomorrow's route ... even worse Yikes ... So today i didn't to take pictures ... Linda took a few worthwhile ... Maybe she would share them ...

Straw fields and sunflowers ... And sad sad looking sunflowers ... 

So yeh Jane in "what the pyshic told the pilgrim " talk about these long drawn out days . At least we were done before 1pm.

Our accommodation tonight is about 10k from sahanugan . Neat old estate ... 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Wanted ... Powtown bike mechanic

  FRANK ! We need you ! Mark  keeps crashing ! And we are out of triflow! 
We have three nurses ! But the bikes might not hold up ! Should we send a ticket ... Agh  Duck tape is cheaper and should work ... Plus we can use some deep fryer oil ... They seem to have lots

Just a little late on the Bloggin

Pamplona to Estella.. 46km
Ok, so cannot lie!! I did not ride that, due to "Bang-ups"...
Estella to Fromista.. 237km. I rode that, even with new "bang-ups"....

It has been a long 3 days... Peddling, pushing, panting, cursing, sweating, but loving every minute of it!! Yes a lot of it has been hard, but then those moments of pure joy come upon you, like riding thru fields of sunflowers, some even smiling at you, and you smile back, even tho u really want to say "buen #¥€£ Camino" cos a big mother hill is upon you once more!!!!!
The scenery is out of this world. The old abandoned and some lived in villages we ride thru are lovely, and unless you are doing this Camino, would never see them.
The weather has been on our side too. This morn. tho, leaving Burgos was nasty!! Pouring, first time so far, so we all geared up, most of us not knowing how to layer properly, but within the hour, the skies cleared and left us with perfect temp. for rest of day.

"What doesn't kill us makes us stronger"

Random shots from Spain

Friday, 6 September 2013

75 k day

Just finished day 6, and it was our longest one yet 75 k, 4.5 hours in the saddle, with an average speed of 16.7. Tonight we stay in Burgos by far our biggest city we have come to on the Camino.

It has been interesting to note the walkers I pass in the morning , that I previously saw at the end of the previous day. There is one couple that is riding and seem to be doing the same distances as us, as we have passed them each day. The numbers of walkers and riders has been above my expectations. Spoke last night with a couple walkers; and Irish man named Greg is walking his second Camino at 72, his first was at 70. He reported that the last 100 k are the most packed, and he may skip it altogether !

Our ride today had some amazing sections, couple nasty hills,
but you forget those when the downhill last as long in time ! Notice the village in the valley ? Look close ! Yup our trail came up from there ... Nasty ... 

We were flying down a gentle slope ... Those poor walkers having to put up with us zipping by. Going to fast to stop for many pictures ...

This picture was out last summit for today