Well, I'm four days in and it feels like I've been riding for a month already... the saddle sore, the irritating blister on my foot, the unfathomably stinky clothes, the same old inability to get up in the morning, and, of course, the world's achiest ever leg muscles.
And is it worth it? Oh my god yes!! I'm just slightly annoyed with myself for underestimating the might of the Pyrenees, the result of which is that I'm only going to make it across half of them... A good reason to come back, though, I guess.
Many of the climbs have been total brutality, one-in-tens that gain 1000m in altitude without reprieve. On rocks and through pools of mud, very few have been easy.
The summits and descents, however, have been utterly magnificent. It's as if the Great Divide had contained the same hills but the distance had been halved so they were all scrunched up and everything is steepere. Every inch of the way has been dramatic scenery.
Today saw the first 2000m pass, and as I made the descent, coming out of the clouds, it constituted one of the best 20km I've ever ridden. When the cold mist at the summit dispersed, a huge valley opened out below.
It was vast. Such was its size that, even coming down the last few kilometres, your sense of perspective kept on changing as you lost all of that hard fought gain in altitude. It was worth every inch of the hard slog up there, though, and photos won't come close to doing it justice.
Other things to mention: food and wine have been delicious, although I do miss Hunan food after a month away. Language has been interesting - it does feel very much like a border area with the mix of languages and people here. Apart from seedy La Jonquera that has been a positive, however.
Tomorrow looks like it will be even more of a killer than today was, so I'm in need of some kip now.