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J46 - Tuesday, December 1: 500m after the Puerto de Ponto Pass - Sahechores

Altitude at finish 862m
76.6km – 9H23 ’
At 6:30 René is busy getting the vehicles cleared of snow.  At 7:00, the 3 boys take off  in the direction of the pass.  They are on the road for 25 minutes before they reach the start.   The snow plows are already at work.
It’s really cold and we have brought out the winter clothing: caps, gloves, fleece, Mizuno Breath Thermo socks, and winter shoes.  Even Serge has put on long pants, having given up wearing his good luck shorts.
In spite of everything the « Duponts » can’t get warm.  At 9:30 Serge goes through Riaño and we can see for ourselves that the beacon is not working, due to all the water it got yesterday morning. So we won’t be able to follow Serge with this geolocalisation tool and we will have trouble doing without it. Serge removes his belt and I recuperate the beacon, which is immediately sent back to France.  Luckily, Gaëtan at SportTK is understanding and reacts immediately by sending us a replacement, which we will have just before we reach Lisbon.
The snow covered landscapes are magnificent and inspire Joël to take lots of photos.  There are bridges on either side of Riaño, which is nestled on the edge of an immense dam
There is a gentle descent to Cistierña at km 52.  The snow has disappeared from the landscape, we are on a plateau at an altitude of 900 meters and there will be one long, straight line after another.  It’s no use looking for inspiration in the scenery at the end of the stage.  Joël and René spend their time betting on what time Serge will arrive for refueling…Joël handles the GPS, René is writing line upon line in his notebook.
Since our arrival in Spain, we have been surprised not to see any school children or schools.  Today we passed some empty school busses.  So our question is where are the students?  It’s a strange feeling, as if something were missing: I have to say that the villages are almost empty and that just as in France, there are no post offices in the small villages.
In Spain:
Retired men don’t meet once a week to play cards in a retirement home or community hall as they do where we live.  Here, it is in a bar or café, in a smoke-filled atmosphere over a glass of wine that cards are played, all afternoon, every day!

The course tomorrow: Mansilla de Las Mulas, Villanueva de las Manzanas, Ardon, Santa Maria del Paramo, La Bañeza.

Town : Sahechores (Leon)

GPS : N42.61758° W005.21611°