2010 Cima Coppi Tour – Day 9 – Soria > Burgos

Free breakfast. You partner those two words with the phrase “I’m about to go ride 130kms+ from here to Burgos” and you have just developed a money-losing venture. I ate and drank 2 bowls of cereal with milk (438), one coffee (9), two croissants (462), a banana (120), a glass of orange juice (66), and toast with jam (264) that morning. Normally, I’m not one to count calories, but according to the calorie counter on this one occasion I can tell you that I was well prepped for the day’s ride with a 1359 calorie breakfast. This as well, was from a hostel that was a pretty darn good deal with two-bed rooms (that I had alone) for the bargain price of 11€ per night. Things were looking good.

Final Numbers for the day.
Soria > Burgos: 186km (282km – 2 days)
3 cols – 1171m, 1351m (w/12%), 1065m (1600m gain)
Average speed: 27.1kmph avg.
Time: 6hr45min.
Bike Map: 629242

For more description and photos

I was on the road at 9:00am exactly and found my way out of Soria easily. The morning was very cool, which is common in the region, and calm with little wind which put a smile on my face. The plan was to ride 130km’s straight NWW from Soria to Burgos city, which is about 250km’s directly north of Madrid, and is the capital of the equally named Province of Burgos. Burgos is home to numerous points of interest: The Camino de Santiago trail passes trough the city, the Vuelta of Burgos Pro-Tour cycling race stops by each year, the Our Lady of Burgos Cathedral is one of the most spectacular examples of a Gothic cathedral in Spain and it also happened to historically be the centre of the wool-trade industry in Spain in the 18th century. These are some of the many reason why I chose to stay in Burgos for two days.

I had to get to Burgos first and with everything going so smoothly in the morning I decided to delay that progression and take a left on the S-OP-5018 country road to the Cañón del Rio Lobos. A tip for those cycling touring in Spain: In my experiences there is a direct relationship between the length of the name of the carretera, or highway, and the duration of time that has passed between road maintenance. This road was rough, and it started downhill to add to the flair. I swerved precariously around the potholes and over broken pavement trying to not imagine a pinchflat, or worse, an exploded spoke as I plummeted down the one-car-wide stretch of asphalt. Through abandoned pueblos and cascading between open-fields the scenery was beautiful. I came across my first sections of cobbles on the tour which were large enough to shake the bottles out of their cage twice in the 2km through the tiny village of Muriel Viejo.

I made it to the Cañón del Rio Lobos for an early lunch and after the short but steep 5-switch-back, 2km, 9% climb, I was probably through about 1200 of those 1400 calories I stored up at breakfast. The Cañón is a beautiful geological point of interest and really begs to be explored by a day or two of hiking versus a quick ride through, but nonetheless, the oxide tinted walls of the cañón and the numerous golden eagles and griffon vultures provided more than enough enjoyment to go with the mixto Bocadillo and roasted peanuts lunch I had on the menu.

From the Cañón I returned north to N-234 and then backtracked about 10km and went further north, with another diversion over the carraterra de Canicosa BU-V-8227 highway to Canicosa de la Sierra. There, I was in search of the ruta de lana– the wool route – into Burgos. The highway to get there, with it’s numerous ups and downs featuring two sections of km-long grades of 12%, and a couple of false summits, was a tough go in the afternoon heat.

When I got to Canicosa de la Sierra and wound down through the twisting roads to head east on the east/west 822 highway I got hit with a massive wall of easterly wind. This was just the kind of wind, I was not looking forward to. Later I would find out on the radio, that a pressure front caused the heavy 18-20kmph headwind, which gusted up to 30kmph, but while I was on the road, the only thing I could do was curse my luck. I couldn’t believe that with such a calm morning the afternoon would turn into a sufferfest. To make matter worse, I didn’t find any points of interest on the wool route. In fact, I didn’t even see a single sheep. Perhaps, they were all blown back to Soria by the wind. Instead, the perfect weather and good feelings that inspired me to change the planned 130km route into a 190km route with more climbing, was gone, and the hugely frustrating head-down into the wind from yesterday, was back.

I’ll spare you the details of the next 60km of cursing and regretting my morning choices. The afternoon was flat out horrible. It’s not often that I don’t want to be on my bike, but combining the wind with the gradual ascent to the 1060m alto de Mazariegos, was enough for me to be begging for the day to end. As I pumped my entire body into each painful pedal stroke to build speed, only to be defeated down to a crawling 18kmph by a huge gust of wind, I was ready to throw my bike in the ditch. And the wind only grew stronger by the minute.

I finally arrived in Burgos around 5pm. I was cranky, tired and sweaty. I didn’t even want to think about biking, I didn’t want to think about wind, I was done. The only thing that lifted my spirits was the thought of the day off, the fact that Sammy Sanchez and the boys were in town and that on Friday, the day after the next, I headed east to Logroño, in the same direction as the wind…or so I hoped.

Final Numbers for the day.
Soria > Burgos: 186km (282km – 2 days)
3 cols – 1171m, 1351m (w/12%), 1065m (1600m gain)
Average speed: 27.1kmph avg.
Time: 6hr45min.
Bike Map: 629242

The winding and steep road up to the top of the Canyon
Looking down from the top of the Canyon on the road below
Photos never seem to do justice, but there were a myriad of features that captured the eye.
It was a good morning, so you have the 'happy' me.
...then add hills, which most of the time, I like...
...and heavy wind uphill, and by afternoon, you have the 'unhappy' me.
Even Cid's horse knows the wind... put your head down and hammer.

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