To make the most of my ending summer holiday I took the bike up to Sierra de la Demanda southeast of Burgos for 3 days of intensive riding. Forget everything I said about being tired of hairpins and mountain riding. I just can’t get enough of mountain views, it is addictive, that’s what it is. I just couldn’t stop, even if the roads were so narrow and rough that I had to ride at 30 kilometres, I just had to see what was hidden around the next corner.
On Friday I headed up to Guadalajara and from there the scenic route began, taking CM 100 and CM 1006 crossing Reserva National de Caza Sonsaz heading up for Aylon and El Burgo de Osma.
Then continuing on SO 920 through the canyon, del Rio Lobos. Here I saw some vultures and eagles which always make me feel that I’m living an adventure. You must understand that nothing like this can be seen in my country and being able to ride out this easily and access this wild nature always feels grand to me.
After this, it was more or less straightforward to Burgos and the village Arlanzon where I had booked accommodation for two nights in a farm hostel. I was indeed surprised to find that the hostel also was a farm summer camp and I wasn’t prepared to share facilities with a herd of children on my last weekend before starting teaching again. I solved this by going to bed early with earplugs and getting up early to ride.
The next day I was surprised to see that it had been raining and the sky was grey and the air brisk. I was not prepared for cold either and had not brought the liner for my very ventilated summer jacket. But proving the many things you can learn about life by reading “The Hichhikers Guide to the Galaxy”, bringing a towel is essential for all kinds of travels. In fact, I ended up wearing my towel for most of the day and the following morning.
I spent 12 hours in the mountain on Saturday, not riding especially far but just doing it very carefully and enjoying it fully. Sierra de la Demanda has some really terrible roads but it is so, so beautiful. Furthermore there were lots of animals to see and be aware of, on and off the road, sheep, cows, horses and goats.
Two times I had to turn back because the terrible road turned to gravel road on the mountain pass when trying to cross Coto N de Escaray. I will ride anything that is paved, but I’m not ready to go on gravel just yet, I suspect that if I drop my bike I will have difficulties lifting it up again, especially before lunch.
When failing to continue on the route I first had planned, I aimed for Logroño and road N111 south towards Soria. It is a fantastic road, and here actually some speed can be used as well. I doubled back halfway using LR 250 were patience was needed but the reward was large.
On Sunday I returned by the longest possible route, riding yet more in Sierra de la Demanda (BU 820) and enjoying the mountains in Hayedo de Tejera Negra. In Madrid it was just as hot as when I’d left, I could hardly believe that I had been cold earlier that day.
And by the way, this strategy totally failed to make me ready for work. I want more!