…was like a walk in the park. That is we walked a lot of it, but sadly there was no park, just a mountain with impassable roads. Today was meant to be a functional day, but it was anything but functional. I suppose that means it was a pleasure day, and thankfully there were lots of parts that were, otherwise it would have been a nightmare. We could not have predicted today, nor planned it!It started quite normally, a cold 630am wake up and breakfast in the slightly warmer shower block. Then underway at 730am (745am). We made a quick 8km out of Riaza and then found that the small road alongside the motorway was not there! After back-tracking off the motorway my sat-nav showed an alternate route going the right direction. We headed for it, but as soon as we turned off the road it became clear this was not a road, more a track. Jonny had a road bike so his tyres are not suited to this, and as the tracked headed up and down through the forest he had to walk most of the 8km back to a main road. We were even chased by a couple of farm dogs at one point. Once back on the main road at Seguera we had a decision. We chose to keep to the main road and head back towards the motorway and hope that the parallel road had appeared; but not before Keith jammed his gears and had to unload and get the tool kit out to fix.Back at the motorway we found our road. Another track, with even bigger rocks; Jonny would be walking again. Then it started to climb, sometimes so steep we were struggling to get foot grips let alone push the bikes up. At one prominent lookout there was an information board, but we found no comfort in the fact that Napolean had once passed this way.We knew we would have to leave the side of the motor way to go over a tunnel, but then with the motorway now 200m below us to the left, we met a deep ravine and the path took a sharp right. We pushed our bikes up and up and away from the road. Pete and Keith managed to cycle at times, but it was far too steep for me. i have no doubt Jonny could have coped but his bike couldn’t so I had a walk buddy. Very soon we were much higher than the tunnel pass and we were still climbing, still going away from the road. There were great views of the valley we had travelled down the last few days.Then we met the barrier. Would we have to go back down the way we came? Would we have any hope of getting to tonight’s destination? Well, it turns out the barrier lifted quite easily and we risked continuing to follow the sat-nav. We were now much higher than the tunnel pass, so we hoped we would drop down into the village at the top, rather than have to climb again. We did, and arrived in Sommesierra at 330pm, not nearly half way there.The woman in the shop did not seem happy to serve us, and she got cross with Pete for emptying the basket on the wrong side of the till. Then she showed her bread-hating self as she proceded to come out and stamp on dry bread!(This might be one of those ‘you had to be there moments?)After lunch we had a different, longer plan, that still depended on one parallel road being passable. As we started down hill to Robregordo I realised I had a puncture. So we stopped whilst I fixed it, twice (I’m rubbish!) Then set off again. Very soon the road became a track again, although thankfully this time not nearly as bad and not for as long. Then we passed a campsite. It was already quite a bit later than we had normally been riding, and we were only about half way so I think we were all tempted to just stay there, but no one admitted it.The rest of the route was more ups and downs and very long. At about 6pm we arrived at a dam. An impressive structure that I think we would all have appreciated more if we hadn’t been cycling/walking mountains for 10hrs.We still foind the energy, though, to give a Mexican wave to people as they crossed the dam and passed our rest spot. We continued, and the only other notable thing as we approached El Berrueco was that one of my spoked popped!We arrived at the campsite 13hrs after setting off, when it was almost dark. The cats prowling the campsite were eerie, but we put up the tents and cooked tea. We found out later that Keith had used the women’s block for his shower!
12 o’Clock Photos