To Valladolid - The Seven Year Itch - CycleBlaze

May 7, 2024

To Valladolid

Today’s ride ended up being more challenging than either of us expected.  The stats on the route look pretty innocent - only a thousand feet of climbing in 30 miles - but they all come in the first 10 or 12, in a series of one small climb after another.  Our ClimbPro tells us there are five of them, but for some reason it doesn’t register the other five in between that are still enough to get our attention.  After that it’s largely flat the rest of the way, which today unfortunately means there’s nothing to protect us from the headwinds.  So we’re pretty pleased to arrive in Valladolid right at 1:30, just in time to be the first customers in the Italian restaurant that we’ve picked out for ourselves.

I didn’t stop for many photos for some reason, but a few things stand out thinking back on it now from a few days later.  For one, I was really surprised by the terrain and how contoured it is here.  After the last couple of wide open days it was unexpected to see a significant ridge ahead.  For another, I was surprised to see that it’s the ridge along the south bank of the Duero River.  I knew we’d be crossing the Duero on our way north, but for some reason I thought it was further off than this.  We cross the Duero just before entering Valledolid, which means we’ve bottomed out on our traverse of the Meseta Central.  Starting tomorrow we’ll start gradually gaining elevation s we approach the Cantabrian Mountains.

And lastly, I’m surprised by Valladolid itself.  I’ve been thinking of it as a large city, something we tend to avoid.  In fact the original plan was to bypass it by biking through the empty land to the east.  The surprise though is how bike-friendly the place is, with some of the best bike infrastructure we’ve found in Spain.  We first discover this when we come to a bike path seven miles from the end of the ride that carries us all the way to the heart of the city.  It’s very easy to navigate on bike, and well worth seeing in its own right.  If we had our do-overs, we’d have stayed only one night in Medina and two here.

Looking back from the top of the first climb. At this point I’m thinking our work is all but done.
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There’ve been a lot of hills under the tires between that shot and this one. We’re past the last of the hills now, stopping to take in the view of the easy miles ahead. The ridge out there marks the Duero River.
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Another booted eagle, one of three today. It must be a more common bird here than I’d understood before.
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There’s about ten miles of this.
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In Serrada, village with a surprisingly artistic face.
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The jug handle.
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In Serrada.
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In Serrada.
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Dropping toward the Duero. For about the next five miles we biked through an unbroken forest of elegant stone pines. I should have stopped for a photo somewhere along the way, but maybe they’ll show up on the video.
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Crossing the Duero, again. We also crossed it at Soria in 2017 and Zamora in 2019. I was thinking it was more but was mixing it up with the Ebro.
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Something else I was wrong about. When I saw these horses I thought I was reminded that Valladolid has one of the best racing tracks in Spain. I just made that up apparently though, as often happens. Nice horses though.
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A little dusty.
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After our Italian lunch we bike the short distance to the very nice Mozart Hotel, where I’m pleased to have our bikes ushered in the front door but sorry to see that they’re going down a flight of stairs to the basement.  Later we both go out for late afternoon walks - Rachael crosses the river and walks up into the countryside a ways, and I only just scratch the surface of the city’s attractions.  It really would be worth a second night here.  It’s a university city with a youthful, dynamic atmosphere and a fine collection of parks and urban walkways; and there are coffee shops and tapas bars every direction you look.  It feels like a very livable city.

Here’s a random set of shots from the place, just to give you a feel.

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Valledolid takes its biking infrastructure seriously.
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Valledolid is a river city, which adds to its feeling of livability. The Pisuerga, one of the major tributaries of the Duero, runs through its heart. The left bank, the city side, is lined with a continuous park for its entire length.
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Long rows of blooming horse chestnuts line the riverbanks.
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The park has free-range bunnies in it.
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Diarmid HarrisWe liked Valladolid too. A fine city.
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1 week ago

Today's ride: 30 miles (48 km)
Total: 1,342 miles (2,160 km)

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