Mansilla to Valdeverde de Valdelacasa

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Cycling south of the Picos has been punctuated by empty roads, vast plains of scrub and deep red soil, headwinds and chocolate soya milk. These have been the exclamation marks in the endless chapters of turning cranks, breakfasts in bus stops and rolling hills.

We’ve climbed at least the equivalent of Mount Snowdon every day since leaving Santander, averaging over 1000 metres per day. We’ve seen some stunning towns, built on hills and inspired by God. ‘Where’s the motor?’ seems to be the most common question about the bike.

The headwinds have been constant since we left the Picos, increasing in intensity as we’ve pedalled south. We rode into the mountains today through needles of rain, gale force gusts pushing us backwards or propelling us forwards. We finally found a village where they have an albergue and we’re now sitting in front of an electric fire drying out and winding down.

Spain has been an event when it was only meant to be a sideshow and now we’re at the top of today’s biggest climb, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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