Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Middle and the End; A Day or Two Through Northern Spain and The Alps

What follows is a trip in pictures, with brief commentary from yours truly. 

The Middle and the End; A Day or Two Through Northern Spain and The Alps

 With Ehunmilak behind me I needed to reinvigorate myself and the trip.  I hopped on the bike as soon as physically able and headed for a climbing crag outside of San Sebastian.  I met a couple of fun Germans, and we spent the following few days climbing (or at least looking for it), drinking and eating around San Sebastian.


I decided it was important to see Picos De Europa, a Spanish National Park and climbing mecca in Spain.  I loaded up the bike and headed for it, somewhere through and arriving in Asturias.

Classic village scene in Asturias.



After Picos I decided to make my way west towards Vigo, where my good friend Abel lived, for some much needed rest and relaxation.


 I spent a decent amount of time in Vigo, recovering and reflecting on the rest of my trip.  When it came time to start off again back to Asturias for Desafio Somiedo, I had a renewed excitement for my trip, and had settled in to the life of bike touring.

Before the race in Somiedo, I met Diego, another Territorio Trail guy.  We had fun the days leading up to the race exploring the area.

The race itself was a blast.   I switched to the shorter marathon distance as I thought I'd play it safe for UTMB.  I think more to the truth is that the marathon distance had significantly less mandatory gear, so I opted for fun.

I ended up in 4th, but more importantly I had fun and was feeling good physically.  Feelings I hadn't felt in a while.

Don't Stop The Party!!

Post Somiedo, Diego was nice enough to drive me a good bit closer to Aneto, the highest point in Spain and the highest point in the Pyrenees.  I arrived quickly, and took to the mountains for a few days.

Aneto Summit.

Via the wonders of online communities, I found myself a few days later, and a few if not many very wet and sketchy miles on the bike, in the comforts of a Catalunyan sheep farm.  

Gettin milked.

Josh arrived and attempted to make up for my laziness on the farm and lended a hand.

The topic of Strava came up a bit during this time.  Thought I would add this considering I'm a big Sam Elliott fan.



I guess 2000' climbs are the norm here.


Onwards towards France and the Alps.  Nikki and his girlfriend decided to come with us and we a loaded up and headed North.

The following few weeks was a pretty good span of running and climbing 4,000m peaks in the French and Italian Alps.

First night in Chamonix

The crew!
Mer de Glace.

Mountain Refugio.

 The Matterhorn:

A typical scene.  Waiting for climbing parties.

A just as typical scene.  Passing climbing parties.

On the one of the infamous fixed lines on the Italian route.

Josh's first pair of sunglasses.

Gran Paradiso.

Climber's summit of Gran Paradiso.

True summit.

Fixed latter.

 Arrival in Courmayeur for a final few days of Alps.

Josh went right.

An end to a summer, an end to a trip, and a whirlwind 3 days of nonstop travel.  Its a long road between Venice, Italy and Second Mesa on the Hopi reservation in Arizona where I jogged around the 50k and tried to remember why I like running events.  

It felt real good to be back in the desert.