The alarms go off at 7am. Today should be a relatively easy day but we’re flying home tonight so to avoid any panic later in the day we’ve decided to get on the road early. There is going to be some faff as we need to ride the wrong way initially, in order to get back to Gijon to pick up the bike bags, and then in order to avoid some main roads we’ll wiggle around the coast.
There’s not much of interest for the first 20 kilometres, big roads and traffic (compared to what we’ve been used to), but there is a nice climb and fast descent into the outskirts of Gijon, and we pass a lot of groups out on club runs.
I pick my bag up from Decathlon and then we ride to the footbridge where George stashed his bag on Monday. Bag retrieved we ride towards the port to pick up the road around the headland and on to the coast back towards Aviles. It starts to rain. It’s the first rain we’ve had all week and we’re not used to it, so dive into a small bar for a coffee and hope it passes
By the time we finish our drinks the clouds have broken and blue sky is visible. We head on along the side of the port but the road is closed. We turn up a steep climb and promptly get lost in a maze of tiny little steep streets.
Eventually we find our way out but we still end up lost. The Garmin is looked at and the map is looked at. We can see where we are supposed to be, a few hundred metres below but 1) can’t work out how to get down there, and 2) it’s a road through an industrial depot of some kind full of lorries. Time for the follow our noses option.
We end up on the road we were trying to avoid and have wasted the best part of an hour. Just as well we got up early. We join the main road towards the coast and then get off it as soon as we can and drop down to the ocean side. Instantly we climb away from the sea to find a small lane towards Aviles. For the first time in 60 odd kilometres we find ourselves on a quiet road. And the sun is shining. It’s bliss.
It doesn’t last too long as we find ourselves in the middle of a semi-derelict industrial complex outside Aviles. The map shows that we can ride through into Aviles but there are some dead ends and then we find ourselves in a lorry park. We chuck the bikes over a fence, then jump over after them.
We’ve now found ourselves in the middle of a strange, empty, white architectural space. I remember seeing this across the river on the way out of town on Monday. It made me think of the architecture of Oscar Niemeyer then, and my thoughts are confirmed when I see his name on a plaque on a wall. It’s a cultural complex and looks dropped in from outer space. It sits oddly between the town and the heavy industry directly behind it.
Out of Aviles we follow the coast towards the airport. We’re down to the last 10 kilometres and it’s only 2pm. Time to find a nice seafood lunch and another bottle of red (and fizzy water). The sun is beating down again and when lunch is finished the Atlantic Ocean looks far too inviting to be ignored. It’s going to be cold but a swim will be a hell of a way to finish off a great trip!
Distance: 96 kilometres
Climbing: 1300 metres