To Trujillo - The Seven Year Itch - CycleBlaze

April 20, 2024

To Trujillo

Today’s ride to Trujillo was one of those rides where we’d like to exercise the do-over option.  On a route and in conditions that would normally given us an outstanding ride, it had its ups and downs.

It’s only 25 miles, but we’re transitioning out of the flats and have some climbing ahead of us.  It’s just the two of us on the road again today.  Suzanne and Janos are relocating to Trujillo also and staying at the same hotel - the parador - but are driving again.  With a lunch reservation at the hotel at 2, we leave our hotel at ten feeling confident we’ll have no trouble arriving in time.  We have a dogleg-shaped route ahead, with the first half heading straight northeast until Zorita, where we’ll make a left turn and then head northwest toward Trujillo.

The first ten miles are basically flat, much like the country we’ve been crossing for the last two days, but five miles from Zorita this changes and we start gradually climbing.

After about ten miles we come to the first real contour of the day - of the last three days, really.
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To the southeast though, it’s flat all the way until the hills around Orillana.
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There are seven horses in this frame, two of them rolling around on their backs in the grass. Sorry you can’t see more of them, but at least I timed the shot well so the front tail isn’t obstructing the view.
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Here we’re approaching Zarita, which we can tell because the tallest structure in town is just visible.
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Definitely getting more interesting by the mile.
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And more colorful.
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Here we are. That tall white structure looks like a grain elevator. We’ll remember Zorita mostly though for the 14% residential street we climbed up through town on. That, and what quickly followed.
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It’s been a pleasant but uneventful ride so far, but that changes when we come to Zorita and find ourselves biking up through the town on a ridiculously steep residential street.  It’s likely we could have found a longer but more gradual ascent by staying on the main road if I’d been paying more attention with the mapping.

We’re not far past the crest and back on the main road with its more reasonable gradient when Rachael hollers at me from behind to wait up for her.  She thinks she might have a flat, and when I circle back to her a pinch test confirms it.  No wonder she thought the climb through town was tough and fell behind!

I flip the bike upside down, yank out the wheel, and give it a spin but don’t see any signs of injury.  The tire’s not completely flat, so maybe it’s a slow leak that reached a critical point.  I decide to do what I should have done in the first place - to try pumping it up again and see if it will hold until we reach Trujillo, only about twelve miles away now.

We don’t like having a flat, but it is nice to have the location so well documented.
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There’s a problem though when I try to replace the wheel.  It won’t fit into the slots, and when I look closer I see the issue - one of the brake pads has become dislodged somehow.  I don’t recall this ever happening before when removing a wheel, so I’m really puzzled by it.  I don’t have any better ideas though than to pocket the pad, pump the tire, and plan for Rachael to bike the rest of the way to Trujillo on one brake.  Fortunately it’s uphill most of the rest of the way so not much braking will be needed anyway.

I replace the wheel, pump up the tire, and release Rachael to start biking while I finish packing up.  Were both hoping the air will hold until she makes it to town, or at least far enough so that we can give her another refill or two.

After reinflating her tire I encouraged Rachael to just keep biking until it didn’t work any more, hoping that maybe the leak was slow enough so we could ride it out until reaching town.
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She’s out of sight once I’m started up, but I’m tracking her speed and position on the Garmin.  She’s still going strong two miles later, and I’m silently cursing myself for not having just pumped up the tire in the first place and avoided dislodging her brake pad.

But then I see that she’s slowed down, and then stopped.  Crap.

It didn’t work, and a tube replacement was needed. Once again she takes off while I’m still packing up because there’s no guarantee the repair will hold.
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There’s no nice bench in the shade this time when I take off the tire and replace the tube, sitting on the gravel shoulder in the sun.  The tube is concerning - it’s easy to find the leak at a spot where the tube looks like it’s been scored slightly; but without finding anything penetrating the inside of the tire I don’t have a better plan than replacing the tube and hoping for the best.

While I’m working on this, I ask Rachael to call Suzanne.  If they’ll arrive at the hotel before us they can let the restaurant know we’ll be late getting to our meal.

Fortunately the tire holds air this time, and ten miles later I catch up to her waiting at the entrance to town so we can bike up to the parador together.

Looks like she’s going to make it this time. She’s off the front and out of sight, only a few miles from town.
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So I can relax a bit and slow down for a few photo stops.
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Trujillo comes into view.
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The surroundings are very stony. Trujillo is a very old place, built on top of a granite batholith in prehistoric times.
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Probably the last spot for a good panorama view. Once we round the bend and finish dropping we’ll be in too close.
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Video sound track: Adrift, by Yasmin Williams

Lunch in the parador is about what you’d expect.  Were seated in an attractive space, the interior of what was originally the church associated with an old convent.  It’s an upper class restaurant - meaning we get cloth tablecloth and napkins, a fresh set of silverware after the appetizers, and well prepared but fairly modest servings.  

We checked into our room, Rachael went off to the store, and after that I left on my own to look around town.  There’s probably something here worth seeing, is my thinking.

We had the time of our reservation at the parador moved out because we were delayed, but it doesn’t look like it was really necessary.
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The Trujillo parador is in the 16th century Santa Clara convent. The sisters were probably shorter four centuries ago, so it makes sense that the doorway is only about 5’9” high. I’m pretty proud of myself that it only took one whack to the forehead to get the point across. I’ve done worse in the past.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesThose medieval doorways can be deadly. We just came from Amboise, where Charles VIII died in the same way you avoided:

Early one afternoon in spring 1498, at the Royal Château of Amboise
The young King Charles VIII goes to look for Queen Anne of Brittany in her apartments. He wants his wife to join him in a real tennis game played in the château’s trench.

To get there, the two sovereigns must pass through a gallery with a very low doorway. Was it because of his haste or carelessness? We still do not know. But the young king hit his head violently on the door lintel.

At first, the shock seemed without consequence. The king joined in the game and seemed to act entirely normally. When suddenly, he collapsed and lost consciousness in front of everyone. It seems that a certain feverish unease then seized his retinue. They did not dare move the sovereign to his apartments, and only much later was a doctor called to his bedside… Charles never regained consciousness and died that very evening, after much agony, at the age of 27.
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1 month ago
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Today's ride: 24 miles (39 km)
Total: 1,046 miles (1,683 km)

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Jacquie GaudetI carry little plastic gizmos that go between the brake pads, which I use when packing my bike and which live in my little roadside tool bag. I put one in whenever I take a wheel off because it’s so much easier than pushing the brake pads back when you’ve accidentally operated a hydraulic brake with no disk (and for which I don’t carry a suitable tool).
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1 month ago
Keith AdamsTo Jacquie GaudetMy relatively new touring bike is the first I've ever had that's fitted with disc brakes. Thanks for the tip! I'll fabricate something suitable and add it to my tool kit...
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2 weeks ago
Jacquie GaudetTo Keith AdamsEven a folded business card will do, but the little plastic gizmos are best. I’ve always just asked at a bike shop.
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2 weeks ago
Keith AdamsTo Jacquie GaudetI have a small woodworking shop, which generates enough scrap of varying sizes and thicknesses that I ought to be able to get close to the thickness of the rotors easily enough.

As an embellishment some larger material may get added, as a keeper / easy extractor.

My brakes also have an adjustment at the caliper that enables me to fine-tune the clearance to the rotors. I might be able to simply back that adjustment off in the event that I lose, break, or forget my fancy wooden tool.
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2 weeks ago