Toro - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

October 6, 2019

Toro

Taking stock, part 3

We knew it couldn’t last.  After an impressive five AFD (adversity free day) streak, we knew we were pushing our luck.  We almost made it through the day cleanly, but fouled ourselves at the last minute.

 #8. In a lifetime first, Team Anderson locks itself out of its hotel on the way to dinner this evening.  We had been given a code for the keypad for the hotel entryway when we registered, but left it in the room.  

We know we have a problem on our hands as soon as we close the hotel door and it locks behind us.  We buzz the hotel, but the staff are gone for the evening.  We call the emergency number posted on the door, but no one answers.  Later, we discover that the posted emergency number is incorrect.  Screwed.

With nothing else to be done at the moment, we go out to dinner.  Over our meal we call the hotel several times, without success.  We resign ourselves to the situation and decide to book into a different hotel for the night rather than sleep in the plaza.  We hate to book ourselves into a second room for the night but console ourselves with a simple calculation.  We have probably stayed in at least a thousand lodgings by now, but have never done this to ourselves.  Amortizing the cost of a wasted one night stay over a thousand others, we regard this as a stupidity tax of roughly six cents per night.  Hardly painful at all, if you think about it the right way.

We walk down the street a few blocks to the nearest hotel, and try to check in.  Yes, they have rooms.  No, they can’t let one to us without seeing our passports, which are unfortunately securely stored in our  hotel room.  Doubly screwed.

After a few iterations about this and our situation, the hotel clerk gradually understands our predicament.  She calls up a person at our hotel, who she perhaps knows personally; explains the situation, and then receives and writes down for us the door access code.

The moral: if you’re going to lock yourself out of your hotel room for the night, don’t forget to take your passports with you.  And maybe a toothbrush.

Lucky again, and another crisis averted.  Still, it was stressful enough to count as an adversity, so we’re starting over.

Today’s ride

We seem to be stuck in a bit of a rut lately, but it’s a nice rut to be stuck in.  For three straight days our rides have been technically similar: 42 miles, plus or minus a mile; fairly level terrain with only a thousand feet of elevation gain, give or take a few hundred feet; smooth, quiet roads, give or take a mile or two of dirt; and awesomely comfortable weather.  Tomorrow looks to be much the same.  Ho, hum.

So, not much need for a narrative, because you’ve heard it all before.  The pictures are different though, so you could look at those.  And there’s video too!

In case you missed it in yesterday’s post, there’s also video there you could scroll back to and check out.  It was posted late, after the early edition, so you might have missed it.

They’re still here!
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Leaving Zamora, on the excellent bike/pedestrian path along the Douro.
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This is an awesome track - unblemished, it feels brand new. We followed it east along the Douro for two or three miles, until it doubles back toward town again.
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Here is today’s mile or so of dirt that I mentioned earlier. Rachael would keep up with these two guys who just zipped past us, but prefers not to eat their dust.
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It’s harvest season. A giant corn harvester is chewing up the field as we bike past, also kicking up the dust. Hack, hack.
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He spilled a few ears.
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Jen GrumbyAnd he probably thought to himself, "There's no sense in crying over spilled ears."
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyI ear ya’.
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2 months ago
A bit of color in Torres del Carizol, an otherwise pretty nondescript village.
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Along ZA-P-1304, an awesome cycling road, full of serious cyclists out on a training ride.
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Ghost village
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The same.
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Heading east on ZA-714, dropping down from Aquillinos. Deathly quiet for the next five miles.
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Some grey bales.
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Looking back toward Aquillinos, miles off on the horizon.
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It’s not totally lifeless out here.
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We’ve gotten well separated as I stop for photos, and I’m fully a half mile behind. Still, in this country we aren’t out of each other’s sight. She’s been waiting atop this small rise for the last few minutes, watching me gradually draw nearer.
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Lunch stop ahead, and hopefully a bit of shade. We haven’t seen any at all for nearly two hours.
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In Castronuevo de Los Arcos, hiding out in the shade again.
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In Castronuevo de Los Arcos
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On ZA-714, another wonderful but fully exposed cycling road. It’s a good thing we’re here in autumn, when it’s cooled off. Here, Toro, still nine miles off, has just come into view.
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A bit north of Toro
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Video sound track: Hotel California,  in Spanish, by the Gypsy Kings

In Toro

We’ll be here for two nights and will take a longer look tomorrow, but our first impressions are very positive.  Nothing to complain about here, as long as you don’t lock yourself out of your room.

The clock tower, and the entrance to the old town. Parts of the old city walls still exist.
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On the plaza mayor. Our hotel is along that wall somewhere, our windows looking down on the square. Very nice.
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Toro is a wine town. Lots of choice here.
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Brick is the primary building material here.
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Santa Maria la Mayor church looks amazing, but we’re just strolling past today. We’ll be back with a report on it tomorrow.
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Behind the church is another ridgetop promenade, overlooking the Douro. And crossing the Douro is another amazing old arched medieval bridge. We’ll get a close up look at it tomorrow too, on our loop ride.
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We lost track of the day and we’re lying around the room wasting time when I look out the window. We rush outside, hoping to make it to the overlook before the color disappears. In our rush, we forget to take the passcode for the front door.
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Santa Maria la Mayor is glorious at night. Something to distract you from worrying about whether you’ll be sleeping in the square tonight.
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Ride stats today: 41 miles. 1,300’; for the tour: 424 miles, 20,400’

Today's ride: 41 miles (66 km)
Total: 426 miles (686 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 9
Comment on this entry Comment 7
Jen GrumbyWell, if you're going to end an AFD streak, it might as well be with an entertaining and memorable story!

Stressful, yes, but you put a great spin on it with the 'modest stupidity tax' angle. And then you discovered the magic of local connections. How fortunate that the people at hotel no. 2 knew the right number to call to get the entry code!

So, the error was free and provided your readers with a smile or two.

Adversity transformed by creativity and kindness!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyThat about matches my own reaction, once we knew we were saved from a night on the street. It’s clear that this is one of those days we won’t forget.
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2 months ago
Gregory GarceauWhile I'm glad everything worked out well for you in the end, part of me wishes I could have read your "Desperate American Couple Sleeps In A Spanish Gutter" story. I know you would have written something great from that experience.

Even so, it was still an exciting story. I was reading it out loud to The Feeshko and we felt so bad for you having to pay for a second hotel room. And then we read the no passport part. What are Scott and Rocky gonna do? And then the happy conclusion.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Gregory GarceauSorry to disappoint you and the Feeshko by ending the day with a roof over our heads, but it does bring to mind a night with a less optimal outcome, except for giving us a memory to last a lifetime. I’ve never posted that story, but perhaps the time has come.
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2 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Scott AndersonYes, please.
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2 months ago
Jacquie GaudetHere's another "why didn't I think of that!" moment for you (for which I can't take credit because somebody else suggested it to me): use your phone and take a picture of the passcode. In fact, both of you should do this because the chance of both of you misplacing your phones or having them go dead at the same time is pretty small.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetI never have trouble with this, Jacquie. I just spaced out the fact that a pass code was involved at all, until I closed the door and realized my mistake. Everything about it was a total brain fart, including the fact that it occurred to me to wonder if the door would lock while Rachael was still inside the hotel, but then waited until she stepped outside with me before testing it out. One for the record books.
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2 months ago