Ponferrada loop ride - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

October 1, 2019

Ponferrada loop ride

Our room in Ponferrada comes with a view of city hall.

Very nice.
Heart 4 Comment 0
It’s a bit hard to appreciate though, making it all the more special when you see it. I like this odd bit of decor that provides access that also doubles as a victory stand.
Heart 2 Comment 0

So it’s been at least four days since we’ve done anything but incidental biking.  It’s about time we got back to the bike tour.  It’s October, time for a fresh start.

The loop we mapped out for today is a bit on the tame side.  I’m working my way out of a cold and Rocky is possibly working into her own, so we don’t want to challenge ourselves.  Before we leave town though, we have a pair of errands to attend to.  

First, we bike down to the new town for a stop at Marques Bikes.  Rachael’s gears are acting up, perhaps in response to too many miles on the Portuguese cobblestones, so we find a mechanic before we start encountering any real hills.  Marque does a great job, and for only eight euros Rachael rides out with a bike that feels like new.

Next, we bike over to the local Decathalon, a sporting goods store that feels like Spain’s answer to GI Joe.  Rachael visited one of these yesterday in Vigo and walked out with a decent new rain jacket, again for only eight euros.  This morning I’m on the hunt for a handlebar mount for my phone, as a substitute for the missing Garmin.  I score too, finding an economical and serviceable phone sleeve with a velcrow strap for only 9.99.  It’s a bit primitive but seems like it will work fine as a short term fix.

The ride is a beautiful, quiet loop up into the hills north of Ponferrada.  Rachael has a scratchy throat and I’m still grossly congested, but it feels wonderful to be on the bikes again.  This is really our kind of cycling: light traffic, open country, fine views, and the colors of fall just setting in.  It makes us excited to imagine what the next month will be like as we move south with the season.  It feels like the first day of the tour, at last.

We return to Ponferrada by about four, rest and clean up a bit, and then set out on a walking tour of the town (the subject of a separate post, a photo album).  For dinner, we walk across the square to 7 Sillas for a delicious but bargain basement set menu.  For 15 euros each we share two appetizers: melanzane with tomato sauce and a delicious vegetarian walnut crepe with a cheese sauce; an entree, chicken breast with mustard sauce; a bottle of white wine; and cheesecake.  

Best day of the tour.  So far, we’re delighted with Castilla y León!

After we leave town behind, the ride brings us a lazy ten mile climb into the hills south of town. At its highest, at around 3,000’, were biking through pine forests.
Heart 2 Comment 0
The architecture is completely different here from what we saw just 150 miles west in Galicia. The oldest buildings look like they’re built from some sort of slatish material.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Here and there we encounter an aspen grove. We can see a very colorful month in our future as we bike south with the season.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Looking southeast to the highlands beyond Ponferrada. We’ll be biking across that range tomorrow on our ride to Astorga.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Riding conditions are ideal today. Mid-sixties, light wind, dry, perfect.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Another look back to the southwest before we cross a small pass and double back toward town.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Just nice: the road to ourselves, with a lazy six mile descent ahead.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Here and there there’s a colorful outcrop beside the road.
Heart 1 Comment 0
I think that white tier in the center is Ponferrada.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Another outcrop, and a fallen example of the predominant pine species here. I should muster up the energy to research it, unless someone wants to save me some work.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Beautiful.
Heart 0 Comment 0
In San Pedro de Olleros, I think. Most structures in these villages are fairly modern, but the decaying one’s in the oldest parts of town are full of character.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Yes, I know these are just rose hips. What’s that bird’s nest suffocating them though?
Heart 3 Comment 2
Bill ShaneyfeltIt is a gall caused by a wasp.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplolepis_rosae
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltAck! That’s so interesting! Thanks so much. I’m glad I asked.
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
Just our kind of country.
Heart 2 Comment 0
One for Steve
Heart 1 Comment 1
Steve Miller/GrampiesVery nice, thank you.
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
In Cacabelos, a village on the French Camino. A steady stream of walkers passed through town while we were looking around.
Heart 2 Comment 0
In Cacabelos. It’s more than just a quaint historical village on the French Camino.
Heart 2 Comment 0
In Cacabelos
Heart 1 Comment 0
In Cacabelos. Great earrings!
Heart 0 Comment 0
In Cacabelos
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

Ride stats today: 37 miles, 2,200’; for the tour, 224 miles, 11,200’

Today's ride: 37 miles (60 km)
Total: 224 miles (360 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 6
Comment on this entry Comment 0