To Palencia - The Seven Year Itch - CycleBlaze

May 8, 2024

To Palencia

We’re across the Duero now, beginning the gradual climb north toward the Cantabrian Range, too far off to be visible yet.  It doesn’t start off gradually though - after leaving the city and crossing the Pisguera we face 20 miles of jagged road - continuously up and down as we drop into and climb out of one arroyo after another.  We knew this was in store for us, and console ourselves with the fact that at the end of this our work for the day is done - we have ten miles of what looks like a virtually flat ride across the top of a plateau, followed by a five mile descent back to the river again.

#231: Carrion crow. We’ve been seeing these from time to time just starting a few days ago. One finally came close enough to be worth a shot.
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Approaching Fuensaldaña: the first village of the day, at the bottom of the first arroyo of the day.
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I think this is still Fuensaldaña. We really should have stopped for a look at these cave houses, but we’re on a mission.
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Another arroyo, another town. I think this is Mucientes.
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Approaching Cigales, and its Church of Santiago.
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We’re nearing the end of today’s roller coaster. Its about a ten mile traverse through this arroyo and its pair of villages before the last climb of the day.
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Rachael’s in a hurry to get to lunch, but some things must be stopped for. I’m sure she’ll understand once I show her why I’ve been held up.
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An almost great shot. Here’s where a higher grade camera with a faster shutter would have made a big difference.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesSuper terrific Bee Eater shots!!

iA doesn't know you are shooting a potentially fast moving bird. Probably there was enough light to have set a fast shutter speed on S. But I, anyway, never think of this. One approach is to use the "C" setting, and create a fast bird profile there.
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesI was so pleased with this. I was willing them hard to stay put until I could get the camera out and up.

If I slowed down to adjust the settings (even if I knew what I was trying to do), I’m sure they’d be long gone. It’s an interesting idea presetting a profile though, something I’ve never done. I’ll have to do that and experiment on some swifts.
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1 week ago
Well, she’s not that far off - maybe a third of a mile? I’ll just catch her on the climb. Ha, ha.
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Up for good, looking back across the broad Pontón Arroyo.
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Finally, we’re up for good.  We’ve been looking forward to this point for almost two hours and anticipate a relaxed, flat cruise for the next ten miles and a fast descent back to the river, Palencia, and lunch.  So it’s quite a disappointment that now that we’re in the open there’s nothing stopping the 15mph headwind we have to bike into.  Torture.  These easy, flat miles turn into the hardest ones of the day, and leave me staring at the Garmin counting off tenths of a mile at the end. 

Finally the end comes though and we enjoy a relaxed, fast five mile drop to the city, picking up another fine bike path a few miles before town.

So we’ve got about ten miles of this - smooth, virtually level, easy riding before dropping to town at the end. I can afford the time for this shot because I’m holding Rachael’s bike while she’s off in the weeds looking for snakes.
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At last! A painful hour later we finally approach the final drop.
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14 of 15. Palencia, the penultimate province.
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Approaching the goal line.
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Karen PoretThe patterns in the skies are amazing! Especially in the video :)
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Karen PoretYup. For this and the several days ahead they’ve been mesmerizing.
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1 week ago

Video sound track: On. Friday Night, by Yasmin Williams

We pull up to our restaurant of choice right at its opening hour, 1:30.  Perfect, except that once again we come to a dark establishment.  Google’s got it wrong again, and today is their day of rest.  We’re not the only ones surprised by this - while we’re cursing our luck and staring at our phones looking for another candidate nearby three guys that look like they’re laborers on their lunch break walk up, stare in the window, mutter something in Spanish, and walk off.

Somehow we keep reliving this annoying script.  We’ve got a lunch plan, the plan is foiled, and in the tension of deciding what to do next we hurriedly pick what looks like the nearest open place with good reviews.  Today we pick Terra Palencia, which proves to be a particularly inapt choice.  It’s a frufru joint, with a limited set of selections on their menu of the day (we’re never shown the a la carte menu).  There’s the appetizer course, and then a choice between four mains: two meat, two fish.  Neither of the meats sounds appealing and we don’t like sepia either so we both have the hake. 

The appetizer course shortly arrives - an array of four selections, each lovingly described in broken English, with recommendations on the best sequence to savor them in - and each consisting of maybe a single robust bite or quaff.  I’ve no doubt that many would relish this, but it’s not really the sort of dining experience Team Anderson thrives on.  It’s very nice to have a white tablecloth and clean silverware between courses naturally, but more calories would be better.

Our apartment though, at Apartment Hotel Colón 27, is outstanding.  We have a very comfortable studio apartment on the first floor, across the street from an elementary school where we can soak in the joyous sounds of children on recess.  The hosts are very congenial, and one is even fluent in our language.  There’s safe storage for the bikes in the basement, and an elevator to access both them and our room.  We’re glad we’re here for two nights, and would have been happy with an even longer stay.

And Palencia is terrific, once we rest up awhile and get out for a look.  But that’s a subject for a different post.

We like this place!
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Today's ride: 34 miles (55 km)
Total: 1,376 miles (2,214 km)

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Steve Miller/GrampiesChildren whether on recess or in a swimming pool always shriek, and it sounds the same to me no matter their base language. I admit that at my now advanced age I find this sound annoying. I question what could they have that is so important to communicate, and at such high volume? It reminds me, though at much lower volume, of a "Beyond the Fringe" skit about boring conversation down in the mine: "Oh, look, I've got hold of a great lump of coal" "Jolly good, the very thing we're looking for!"
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesInteresting. I’m quite sound sensitive and have trouble with many sounds I can’t filter out - particularly mechanical and droning ones - but this one never troubles me. I find it therapeutic, even into the night.
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1 week ago
Keith Adams"... leave me staring at the Garmin counting off tenths of a mile at the end. "

You too, huh? It's a habit I'm trying to break myself of, because I end up so completely focused on *getting to the end of the day's ride* that I sometimes forget that the whole point is to ride.

Well that, and to sightsee and eat and drink and sleep and just generally enjoy the experience... okay so maybe the riding isn't the entire point of the exercise, it's just a ... ahem, "vehicle" to achieve a broader goal.
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1 week ago
Karen PoretTo Steve Miller/GrampiesToday in the locker room at the swimming pool, I had an endless set of shrieks because it’s Saturday! I “hear you”, Steve!
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1 week ago