But sun is shining | No Mad's Land
No Mad's Land

But sun is shining

NeigeThank you to the photographer Fran Berbel for photos

In our imagination, Spain is the country of the sun, the beach and holidays. It’s true during summer but we often forget that Spain is the European country, with Switzerland, who has the most mountains on its territory.

In winter, if you move away from the coast, a real cold at altitude is present. In the mountains , snow come back each winter, although this year Spain saw a wave of historic cold.

To avoid coastal areas, high population density, national roads and large number of cars, I often chose to take a little height to borrow less crowded and more enjoyable roads. I find myself having to climb some snowy passes …

Fortunately, the country is accustomed to such weather conditions and very effective snowplows make the roads very praticable while the shoulders are covered with snow several centimeters …

During the day, pedaling warms me, but as soon as I stop, I have to be extra vigilance to shelter me from the frozen wind and install my bivouac in a strategic place. Sometimes in the vineyards, farmers open me for the night the house where they house their employees in summer.

Eau

When I descend into the valleys, sometimes the snow turns into endless cold showers. When some days it prevents me to ride, the forest provides me a shelter. In nature, my experience is so very useful to me and I have to be creative to procure me the vital water. I so use the tent where water trickles and my cookware to find the 2 liters of water which I need every day to hydrate myself and cook …

While the weather seems to be returning to normal, a day when the temperature approaches 30 degrees in the sun at nap time, after climb 4 kilometers to 10% with the mouflons, I arrive in the region of Castilla La Mancha. I am at 765 meters altitudes on a flat landscape where you can see so far away. In the mountains, it is rather disconcerting. This is the moment chosen by Eole to invit himself to the party. A cold and constant wind more than 80 km/h striving on me day and night for over a week. This turns the simplest gestures as  install the tent, light a lighter or just go to the toilet on impossible mission … Fortunately, even if the Spaniards aren’t very inclined to welcome me home, in small villages, the mayor often has a solution to offer to me to sleep in the shelter of the wind (doctor’s waiting room, gymnasium, pilgrim hostel without paying). When this isn’t the case, my tent proves to me by undergoing the onslaught of wind all night without flinching I can still trust her despite his 10 years. Here and there the canvas has holes, a zipper doesn’t work, the seams are tired and not very waterproof, but like me she supports shocks and the vagaries of the weather. Everything is just a matter of patience.

Nature is beautiful but the elements are powerful and ruthless.
Now dare to ask me why I have as much equipment …

Fortunately, Spain is the country of the sun and this particular climatic conditions stayed brief … although dawn and evenings are cool, the sun always end up back with very good temperatures for the winter. Meanwhile, the Spaniards them cold.

Col enneige

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