Pamplona to Estella-Lizarra - I'll get on back home one of these days - CycleBlaze

October 9, 2023

Pamplona to Estella-Lizarra

a hilly day of riding

We began the day by following a cycle path that started right outside our hotel in Pamplona and went almost straight downhill to the Arga river. We slightly overshot our planned starting point of  Parque Fluvial de Pamplona but were able connect up with it just a couple of kilometres further along. We then followed the river path on a mix of cement  and crushed rock surfaces for about 10 kms until we arrived at the town of Ororbia. The Parque Fluvial is the same cycle route that we rode to enter Pamplona and is about 26kms in length. We crossed back and forth the Arga on many different types of bridges and found the route to be a great way to get in and out of the city.

Pat is on the sidewalk as we needed to get around the street washer cleaning the bike lane. The gates on the city wall are in the background.
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McAuto is the McDonalds drive through in Spain. Pat thought that she might like to try an egg McMuffin over here but at 10 am they were closed without any people or staff in sight. We guess that morning breakfasts at McDonalds is not a thing over here!
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Nice rideable track - just not fast.
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Puente de Zimakurra. There are a number of bridges crossing the Arga River and some are quite old.
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Pat crossing the bridge.
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Picturesque Arga River.
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A Garmin dead end. No issue really as the lovely ride along the river continued on for a few more kilometres. Garmin should know better!
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Following the Parque Fluvial signs.
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Puente de Ororbia - our last crossing.
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Leaving the bike path at Ororbia.
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All of the towns in this area have their names in tiles. This one looks like it served as target practice, too.
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Just a small tester outside Ororbia. Time to shed a layer. The real hill is still up a bit further.
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The dogs responsible for the sheep do not let you out of their sight.
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A few kilometres beyond Ororbia, a rock bluff  came into view. The road started to climb up towards it. The asphalt surface was great and there was also zero traffic on the road. We steadily climbed the 5-8% grade  enjoying the great views. The ride took a turn for the worse as  we were swarmed by small black flies .... maybe gnats? Sorry no pictures but we ate a few! Thankfully, they did not bite but  they loved our sweaty bodies and in particular the bag that Pat carries our lunch in on her front handlebars. They became so bad that Pat felt like she was being tortured! We stopped and removed the front bag and strapped it to Scott`s rear rack. If it was the bag attracting the flies, at least they would be at his back.  Riding uphill we could not outrun the little buggers! However, they did seem to come and go at various sections of the road and were no longer in sight when we reached the top of the 400 metre climb. 

We were on our way to Estella-Lizarra. In this area, towns frequently have two hyphenated names. The first is Spanish and the second is Basque.  Estella is on the Camino route as well as the cycling route EV3.  Both are south of the route that the tour planner has organized for us. We only saw a few other roadies looking to challenge themselves on the big hill, but everyone passed with a friendly ¨OLA!¨. The scenery just got better and better and we were so pleased to have come this way!

Bands of coloured rock come into view.
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That is our road ahead!
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Wind turbines on top of the far hill.
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This ridge of rock changes from every angle.
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Amazing colours.
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A separate part of the ridge that we thought had three climbers on it. Closer inspection showed that they were trees, but we could hear the voices of climbers up there somewhere.
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Bill ShaneyfeltClimber with blue shirt not quite half way up just above the little bush on the right. Possibly the overhead belay operator at the top.
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9 months ago
Scott FenwickThanks Bill. I was looking in the wrong place expecting them to be in sunshine! I see them now.
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9 months ago
This area is very popular for rock climbers.
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Bill ShaneyfeltMight have been tempting 15-20 years ago...
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9 months ago
Down into the valley below.
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Our road taking a hairpin corner and heading up under the rocks.
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This last leg is still in the distance.
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Looking down on the road below.
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Slow and steady. It is really a nice ride and almost completely free of cars so going back and forth across lanes to get the views is very easy.
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Please do not encourage him!
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Pat reached the top look out first.
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Quite the view.
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Our lunch table. Really it was a map identifying the distant peaks.
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The peak was just beyond our lunch stop. Two brothers from the Netherlands stopped and chatted with us. On the way way out they took this picture for us.
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After lunch it was a fast ride down from the top of the hill on route to Estella. The road continued to be most enjoyable but we had one last hill to conquer before reaching our destination. Without shade and our water bottles filled with the last of our water,  we endured some pain under the hot sun to make it to the top. The final downhill was welcomed and as we entered the main street the time clocks flashed just after 3 pm and a temperature of 27 degrees.

We met our host in front of our apartment and after organizing our things headed to a nearby bar for a much deserved cervesa. Dinner was a bit more of a challenge as we were likely too early. The bars/restaurants patios were full of people socializing but no one was eating. We settled on a diner in the main plaza that provided us with a plate of pasta  and a bowl of vegetable stew. Neither was outstanding but neither was the price. They did fill us both up and we headed off to bed.

A ball of wool.
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All eyes on us.
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Anne MathersPeek-a-boo, I see you!
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9 months ago
A fast downhill.
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We passed a number of small towns on the way.
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Another small town tucked into the hills.
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The church in the main square in Estella.
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The main square in Estella.
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Many people on patios enjoying the warm evening temperatures, mostly drinking and not much eating from what we could tell.
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Tomorrow will be another day into the hills on route to Maestu.

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Today's ride: 53 km (33 miles)
Total: 616 km (383 miles)

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Rachael AndersonGreat photos! Ive had the same problems with the bugs when I get to sweaty. Climbing Mount Ventoux I was constantly swatting away the flys.
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9 months ago
Barry DevlinNice cliff photos - ROCK ON!
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9 months ago