Time in the saddle: 2hrs 54
Total ascent: 968m
I have to say the hotel I was at last night was one of the best I have stayed at so far..clean, nice bar , good restaurant, nice breakie, oh so comfy bed etc etc etc but most of all the people there we're absolutely lovely. The girl who checked me in was so helpful and chatted away to me in Spanish at breakneck speed..I did say my Spanish wasn't great but she still wanted to chat away to me. As you can imagine I was a little broken after the ride so when she too the bike off me and put it away, then helped carry my bags upstairs..even offering to open my chocolate milk for me! I really was close to giving her a hug. It would have been a sweaty smelly hug so I refrained. I didn't see her again but the main guy at the hotel took over and he was continually making sure I was ok and had everything I needed. It's the personal touch and that's something that has been noticibly missing this side of the tour as it was a big part of the experience on the way up. Perhaps it is the time of year, perhaps the number of tourists, or the weather..who knows but it sure makes a difference.
Knowing it was a short day today ..just a wee potter 'down' the road to Teruel, a recovery ride if you will..I figured I could have a more relaxed morning, heading out whenever I was ready. Obviously I was still up at half 6 but I could take my time with the huge breakie they gave before leaving sometime before 9. It was a beautiful morning..not a cloud in the sky and the temperature a blissfully cool 17° (after yesterdays heat I am never going to complain about the cool again!)..getting up to about 23°, a hot 30° odd in the afternoon. The route I was following was not the direct one but continuing the reverse of the route that the pro's took yesterday (not on purpose..I planned these routes well before I knew the Vuelta was coming). Which was a lovely ride through pine forests undulating up through a valley, past numerous impressive castles until reaching some high rolling plains, over a Puerto and then 'down' to Teruel.
I had a bit of a preview of Teruel from the helicopter shots after the finish of the Vuelta. What was most distinctive was it was orange! Well, ok, terracotta is perhaps more the right word. After passing through mainly sandstone, yellow or white towns - depending on the soil - this was something new. And when looking down at Teruels valley you could see why as the soil was a mix of orange and pink hues. Even looking past the orange..which is slightly less intense in real life.. Teruel is quite distinctive. I had noticed that in the area there had been a trend for coloured tiles on the church roof or tower. Here this architectural style was much more developed and extensive covering most of the aspect of the city...mainly via the numerous towers, the cathedral, its churches and also stairways. The name for this is Mujedar..developed by the Moors who decided to stay in Spain and live alongside the Christians. The actual word means 'tamed' referencing back to this. It's based on using simple materials, bricks and tiles are most common, and 'reinterpreting western cultural styles through islamic influences'. All fancy words but the effect is quite stunning..the coloured shiney tiles against the orange bricks. Seems quite simple from a distance but close up you can see how complex the tile and brickwork really is. Quite beautiful.
Hmm what else..oh following on from my hate of bumpy roads I decided to do some extra homework for the route in a couple of days time. I am planning to cross from Albarracin to Cuenca across the mountains..there is only one road, all the others circumvent the Sierra...a big detour..and on the map it is down as well I forget the actual term but something along the lines of 'completely broken down and crap road, if you can even call it a road'. So not great. But I had a bright spark moment and went to Google earth and street view to check it out. And thankfully it looks relatively ok and not something to worry about. Of course I have no idea when those photos were taken and it could have all been washed away last winter..but keep positive eh!
I haven't done this in a while but injury/ailment update:
- a bit of repetitive strain cycling injury on both my middle fingers. In the day they are mostly ok..a little bit sore maybe, but some nights I wake up and the muscles have contracted and I have to use the other hand to straighten the finger out again and click it back into place. Bit weird but aside from some hand exercises and magic ibroprufen there is not a lot else I can do about it.
- claw cuts to my right leg when I was mauled trying to escape a wildcat while out one day.
No? ok so really they are from when my bike attacked me when we were at a standstill but the other makes a better and slightly more respectable story, no?!
- the curse of being a leftie means oil on my right leg and now I have started to react to the oil and have a rash there. That will have to stay too as now is not the time to train myself in unclipping to the right. It will just end in tears. And more injury updates for you..so yes even more tears.
All injuries showing what a lively and exciting life I lead on the road, gosh!!