The last country in our cycling challenge is Spain. The plan is to follow the coastal route, although we have not completely dismissed the option of heading inland to Madrid and then down to Punta De Tarifa from there.
Taking a Break From The Cycling Challenge In Barcelona
Whether we take the coastal route or the inland route, our journey takes us to Barcelona. Justin has not been to Barcelona and I have only visited the city once, so we are stopping there for a few days of rest and sightseeing. I hope that the weather will be better than it was on my last visit.
It was May when I visited Barcelona (or end of April; it has been several years so not entirely sure). The weekend before had been glorious, with plenty of sunshine and warm enough for people to head to the beach. But the weekend I was there with a couple of friends, it pissed down pretty much the entire time. Great.
We estimate that we get to Barcelona in mid-October. A Google search on temperatures for October weather in Barcelona gives the high and low averages of 23/17 Celsius. That sounds good to us. As long as it’s not raining again.
There is so much to see in Barcelona that we might stop for two to three days. The Tourist Guide Barcelona has a wealth of information for those planning a visit there. On top of our list of places to see are the Sagrada Familia along with other designs by Gaudi, a wonder down the Las Ramblas and the Tibidabo amusement park for a bit of fun.
Las Ramblas features heavily in one of my favourite books, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. The author includes a guide to all the places featured at the end of the book, which looks an ideal route to follow to see a lot of Barcelona’s landmarks. I must reread that and his other books before we get to Barcelona.
The Goal Gets Nearer
Once we leave Barcelona behind, it might feel like we are nearly there. However, there are still many kilometres ahead. To be exact, it will be 1,132.8 km following the coastal route or 1,294 km if we go via Madrid. The jury is still out on the route – like with some earlier parts, too. At the moment we are both in favour of the coastal route.
Justin prefers the coastal route for the scenery, I’m in favour of it because from the maps it looks like that will involve less climbing. By this point, we might have had enough of going up and down and especially up. Or maybe our legs will have got superstrong by then and the thought of a few more climbs won’t be a big deal at all. Time will tell.
Punta De Tarifa – The Goal of The Epic Cycling Challenge
The finish point of our epic cycling challenge is Punta de Tarifa, the southernmost point of Europe. By the time we reach it, we will have covered close to 6,000km depending on which route options we end up choosing in the end. The idea of 6,000km is honestly quite overwhelming, but broken down to different legs, it seems more manageable.
From my reading, it seems that many experienced cyclists take just over two months to complete the ride. I’m sure there are some who can do it in a shorter time if they just go mad and cycle for hours and hours each day. We don’t want to go too mad, so are aiming to do it in three months. Even then it means 70km per day or more because of rest days.
At the moment we are looking at finishing in mid-November. It just dawned on me writing that, that we will spend a quarter of the year on our ride. It’s quite mental to think about it. But also exciting. As is the idea of celebrating with family and friends when we reach Punta de Tarifa.
Until next time.
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