Cycling Europe 2019: Day 7, San Vicente De La Barquera To Potes

I’m getting back into the swing of writing these end-of-day posts. And this year, they come with added video! So here is today’s cinematic epic:

Hope you enjoyed that. The full route details are available to see by following this link. That’s the visual and quantitive boxes ticked. Here comes the qualitative bit. Well, I’ll leave you to judge that after you’ve read it.

San Vicente de la Barquera was a gorgeous little town. The sand in the video looked as though it had just come out of a washing machine on the ‘hot whites’ cycle. Perhaps it had. With mist hanging over the sea, the sun rising in the blue sky and bronzed, good-looking people carrying their surfboards towards the crashing waves, I could have been in California. I wasn’t, of course.

I’d looked at the Google maps profile of my route to Potes while having coffee in a bar shortly after leaving the campsite this morning. It looked like this:

…so I was expecting a gradual uphill day. The thing was, apart from a couple of hills fairly early on in the day, the climb never materialised. It had me a little worried as I knew that at some point the ascent would have to kick in, but it never did. I was reluctant to look at the route profile as I was cycling as I really didn’t want to be told by Cyclemeter that, actually, I had spent most of my time travelling downhill. This is all recounted in the video and then… I arrived in Potes and the actual route profile revealed the following:

…which I find utterly bemusing. Obviously Google and Cyclemeter are using very different vertical scales for their profiles but nevertheless. Why did I feel that I was travelling downhill for most of the day? Was it the geography perhaps? A deep gorge with looming mountains above me at the head of towering rock faces? The twisting, turning road? It was all rather bizarre. An elaborate optical illusion perhaps.

Aside from that, the main mid-rise highlight came just outside of Potes; the Centro de Visitantes Sotama aimed at those visiting the Picos de Europa mountains. Fabulous building! And a fabulous exhibition of more or less everything you might encounter in the hills, from goats to vultures to brown bears. I had the entire place to myself. Nice of them to throw everyone else out. Perhaps they did actually think I was Judith Chalmers… (see yesterday’s post).

Categories: Adventure, Cycling, Travel, Video

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4 replies »

  1. The whole ‘but it feels downhill’ thing is quite bemusing. There’s a couple of local roads I ride frequently where this happens and I’ve never found an explanation for it.

  2. I’m really enjoying this and the video footage is great. I can relate, as a fellow cyclist, regarding the illusion of hills and descents. Keep up this excellent blog!

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