Zamora loop - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

October 10, 2019

Zamora loop

We begin the day by running a few errands, and then walk across town to visit Zamora’s famous cathedral.  The errands, both completed successfully: to the pharmacy, to pick up lip balm for Rachael’s sore cracked lips (after nine straight days of sun, the exposure is catching up with us); and to a hardware store (which reminds me of our Ace Hardware back home, because it has seemingly everything packed into a small, dense place) to find a replacement for one of our current adaptors that we apparently left stuck in a wall outlet two weeks ago.

Zamora, like every other large town we’ll be visiting in this region, has a significant, important cathedral that can’t be missed.  The ones in this immediate region are a series of interrelated Romanesque wonders: Salamanca’s Old Cathedral inspired Zamora’s, which in turn inspired both Toro’s church that we saw yesterday and Salamanca’s new cathedral.

We were there for a few hours, Visiting the adjacent castle and sculpture garden in addition to the cathedral.  I just going to throw all of those photos into a separate photo dump post, or else I’ll never get around to today’s loop ride.  This is a cycling blog, so the biking activity takes priority!

Our ride begins, once more, by crossing the Douro.

Zamora, and it’s old bridge across the Douro.
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Today’s ride is a slender loop south to Penausende, a small village roughly 20 miles south of here.  The ride was picked more or less at random, by culling through the network of minor provincial roads for a loop that looked about the right distance and difficulty for our interests today.

There’s a bit of climbing involved, but not much.  Penausende, the high point of the ride, sits about 800’ above Zamora.  There is some minor rolling involved, but it’s a pretty steady uphill pull the whole way: a 20 mile climb with 800 feet of climbing works out to something like a 0.5% grade.  Not too taxing, especially since we have about a 10 mph tailwind pushing us up this steep inclined plane.

The start of the long climb.
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Where’s Rachael? (take 357)
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Patrick O'HaraI see you're not keeping up with her yet! Must be the lingering cold, eh?
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Patrick O'HaraNope. The cold has pretty well moved on to its next victim by now. I like to let Rachael get ahead because she feels better that way. She gets discouraged and wonders what’s wrong with herself when I keep up.
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2 months ago
Patrick O'HaraHa ha.......I know, Scott. I know. I do the same with Susanna! ;) BTW... Really enjoying another one of your amazing adventures. Not too shabby for 73! Simply amazing. Looks like you are getting nice weather. Once again, reading your blog becomes an wonderfully anticipated part of my daily routine.
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2 months ago
There seem to be endless great riding possibilities out here. We’re going up the left branch at the fork, but the right one looks just as tempting.
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As we gain elevation the terrain the landscape changes, becoming stonier and a bit greener. Granite, stone walls, and holm oak provide the main texture to the land.
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There aren’t many domiciles out here, but this one looks inviting.
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This one though, a bit less so.
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Penausende, just past the halfway point in the ride, makes the natural spot to stop for lunch.  We’re happy to find a bench in the shade, and eat our standard bread, cheese and meat scraps while watching a timid calico cat circle us at a safe distance in hopes that we’d leave something behind.

Approaching Penausende, the apogee for today’s small orbit. Most of the small village is on the opposite side of that prominent formation.
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So tempting! I feel the urge to run up there and kick the supporting stone out of place to watch the cards fall down.
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In Penausende, a very stony place.
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Today’s wash should dry quickly under these conditions.
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It’s a good week for curious kittens. This one maintained a safe distance but kept advancing a few steps and then retreating, apparently conflicted by the chance that we would drop something of value.
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In Penausende
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Jen GrumbyLove that window frame, and the larger stones below that make it look like it was once a door.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyIt’s so small. Must be the loo.
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2 months ago

The ride back to Zamora mirrors the one out - primarily downhill, with minor rollers.  One important difference though is the wind, which seems to be strengthening as the day progresses and is now blowing directly into our faces. 

We make it back to our room about 5, with another fine ride through the Meseta Central behind us.  We’ve been experiencing an exceptional string of fair weather to accompany these great rides - nine straight, and counting.  More!  We want more!

Dropping north toward Zamora, which is not yet visible and apparently hidden in a trough.
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Video sound track: Mas Es Amar, by Enrique Eglesias

A polychrome herd
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It’s getting later in the day, and with the sun lower the colors really start coming back to life.
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As I was saying, there are a few rollers ahead. Zamora is still out there a ways, beyond the farthest visible ridge.
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About sundown, we walk up into town to a restaurant that looks attractive from its reviews on Google Maps.  Reviews sometimes lie though, as is the case here.  We don’t care much for the rather bland meal, but we really don’t care much for our server, a surprisingly inattentive and nearly rude young woman with a severe appearance.  We have so few experiences like this that it’s always a bit of a shock, and leaves a sour aftertaste to an otherwise fine day.

There are still a few storks about, but in far fewer numbers. I wonder if we were lucky and arrived just before the fall migration.
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Easter is the most important time of year in Zamora. On Plaza Mayor is the Merlu sculpture, honoring one of the Holy Week traditions in Zamora. On Good Friday, well before sunrise, six pairs from the Brotherhood of the Nazarene run through the neighborhoods of the city, banging their drums and blaring their horns to rouse their 5,000 brethren to congregate for the day’s procession.
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Ride stats today: 40 miles, 1,500’; for the tour: 533 miles, 24,400’

Today's ride: 40 miles (64 km)
Total: 533 miles (858 km)

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Ron Suchanekhttps://youtu.be/Fqu7L2ijDFU

Sorry, couldn't resist.
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1 month ago