distance: 111 km
Hours in the saddle: 4hrs 34min
Terrain: undulating, then a big up and down.
I had a feeling today would be a scorcher so no morning layers for me. And it was. By half 9 it was heading towards 20°already with very little wind to offset it.
The first half went quite quickly..I put my virtual partner on and trashed him. After the pit stop at the foot of the hills was another matter. It was a sign of things to come that I was having trouble getting speed even when I seemed to be going down hill. I have no idea what happened..if there was a headwind I would have understood and blamed that but there wasn't. I just couldn't pick up speed. And this put me in a bit of a grump which is not the best mind set when heading up the days big climb, and it was one that was quite hard to shake off. Add to this the roads worsening, so making it difficult to get a rhythm going. With the road hiking it up for the last km or so, that just added to the fun.
And if the road going up was bad, the one going down was worse. The only way to do it without bouncing yourself out the saddle and breaking the bike was to ride close to the middle white line. This is not the best or safest position on the road to be in but it was the only practical option. I was quite relieved when a group from Piedralaves cycle club went past and I could follow their trail, figuring that as locals they know the road, so watching them would tell me where to be and also give me warning of cars. It was a little less stressful after that and I kept in their wake until they turned off a little further down the road.
The bad road carried on for a while longer until it hit the Castilla y Leon border when it immediately and miraculously changed to new gravel tarmac. Not smooth running but I'd take it over potholes any day. That's different counties/regions for you.
What surprised me most was the number of cyclists on the hill even with the bad road. If it was smooth it would be a great hill..but I just can't understand why you would put yourself through those bumps voluntarily. It literally made me feel sick and it was not a pleasant experience nor one I want to do again.
The remaining bit was undulating through the high valley to my home for the night.
I hadn't really known what to expect today..being May Day, which is , as it should be, a proper holiday here. Early on, most of the villages seemed closed up, but as I moved onto the hills, they seemed to come alive. Culminating in my target village..La Adrada where it was a huge party! Not quite sure of the reasoning but for the next four days there is a medieval festival. So the central streets are blocked off and filled with stalls and activities. Medieval seems to encompass a range of things...from swords and bows and arrows, to Arab food and drink, to pizza and beer. Basically its an excuse to have a four day party any to dress up as knights and maids. La Adrada is also home to a very cute castle. Not sure that's the look they were going for but it is very cute after the monsters I have seen so far. They had even decorated it with banners and flags for the celebrations. Bless.
Tonight I am living it up a little as my birthday present from my mum was to be able to stay somewhere nice. So I am in a lovely posada in an old Castilian manor house. It has huge rooms and a huge bed, swish but still nice and comfortable. To the side of the house is the restaurant and bar, with a vine covered terrace where I am sitting with a beer writing this. Dinner will be street food from the festival I think. Perhaps even another crepe...
It's been a strange old day, but it's had a nice end and that as they say is the main thing.