Day 21 Little roads and big roads
Trip Start Mar 19, 2012
30Trip End Apr 10, 2012
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Where I stayed
Villa de Los Arcos
Miguel Estaban – Navarra 370 miles - 9 hours riding
Definitely the best days ride so far, but a hard one bearing in mind the tiny roads at the beginning of the route and the high altitudes later on.
I was on the road just after 9 and had programmed in a ride along small roads to discover the set of lakes to the East of Madrid. After one wrong turn when I thought I knew better than the GPS (I didn't) the countryside went from flat Don Quixote country into rolling green hills into miles upon miles of race type hairpins. For once there were other bikes – Madrid bikers out in force on sports bikes – I was the only one who wasn’t pulled for speeding I think.
As breakfast at the hotel was just a doughnut and a coffee, I took time for a full lunch of eggs, frites and a range of dead animals. After lunch Babs began to continue slowing until she was struggling to pull 40mph on any sort of incline. Although there were strong headwinds, the altitude again took its toll and she struggled for air. I seriously thought about removing the filter or changing the mixture, but as this may be the last big set of hills before home I decided to ride it out. Sadly the slogging has taken its toll on the bike – the rear drive is spewing oil again and the transmission is moaning a bit about all the gear changes. Fuel consumption is now a major issue and I now run onto reserve after only 75-80 miles, relying then on the secondary tank and jerry can if I get caught short of fuel between petrol stations (quite often on a Sunday).
Looking at how she ran today I’ve decided not to explore the up and downs of the Picos in Northern Spain and will hunt the flat coast on the way back. I need to sort out that carburation for any future trips – she needs a totally revised air supply – I remember the famous Ural explorer 'Hubert’ (who has been on the road on hid bike for 10 years now) has done extensive mods so I’ll mail him and pick his brains about his system / jetting.
I rode with full thermals today as it can get pretty cold in the Pyrenees. No campsites transpired so when I filled up on the Pamplona road out of Logrono and saw the sparkling hotel attached to the filling station I weakened. Good timing I think as I fell asleep straight after showering – so deep I woke with no real idea of where I was. Still Spain, just.
Might do another another bodge on the oil leak in the morning (should have bought PTFE tape with me – mental note for future list) before heading to Pamplona, San Sebastian and Biarritz.
Getting tired from the riding now – may have to take a rest day in France – perhaps Royan as I remember that being nice from many years ago.
Am looking forward to getting home and seeing everyone. It was lovely to speak to Mum on the phone today - she sounded so bright with all her visitors.
This long ride will take a long time to process – and Babs will take a long time to clean and restore to her former glory.