There is a road somewhere in Scotland which is an optical illusion. By sight, you seem to be going uphill, but in actuality you are going downhill. I came across the same experience yesterday in Spain, except in reverse. I thought I was going downhill when it felt like up.
The Ruta de la Plata, or Road of Boredom, extends from Sevilla to Astorgo and was built by the Romans. Fortunately it has been resurfaced since then but they clearly didn’t feel the need to stop and chat. The number of towns along the route are few, and in between them, not much else.
Picture a snooker table. Raise one end by about 6 inches, just enough to create a long steady incline, and place a snail at the low end. When said snail has reached 2/3 of the way up, say, about the Pink spot, blow a hairdryer into his face to slow him further. That is pretty much what yesterday’s ride felt like.
My rest day in Sevilla was just perfect. I rested, did a little scouting for later visits, but made myself rest. I told my host Barbara that I needed the N-630 out of town and her suggestion was spot on, even being able to use a cycle path to get me to the outskirts of the city. I’m getting the impression that cycling in Spain is big and that there is a concerted acknowledgement that cycling is as accepted as any other form of transportation.
What I can’t figure out is why there are so many cyclists out on a week day!
Anyway, I started fine enough, but somehow I quickly, or slowly, began to drag. Sevilla had been hot, 35 degrees, and nights too hot to get a good nights sleep. I knew I’d had too little sleep but I have a schedule and needed to press on.
Looking back, I don’t think I was fuelled enough for miles 10 to 20. Early on I know, but after only about 4 hours sleep, early enough. By lunch time I was well behind the pace and the Road of Boredom just went …..
The Ruta de la Plata was first used as a commercial route and the name is derived from the Arabic meaning for “cobbled way” although to the Romans, Ruta de la Plata means “silver route/road” until it was renamed by a tired grumpy tourist yesterday.
I needed desperately to get my engine going. No matter how I tried, the old legs were misfiring. I stopped at every (!) petrol station and bought fuel and sugary drinks. Fuel being food and even one ham and cheese sandwich whose use by date was the 1st June. How many preservatives were in that ?!
I’ve mentioned before that I have learnt to pace myself, but there’s pacing yourself and then there’s the need to get the job done.
The only moving objects out here by now were me and horses looking for lost phones.
Eventually the food fuel kicked in and after lunch was able to pick up the peddle rate a little, inpired by seeing Monesterio appear on road signs. Around 4.00 pm, much later than planned, I past a sign saying “Monesterio 10” .
“Woo hoo,” thinks I, ” 10 k, just about done. ”
Except that the last 5 k was the most evil climb for the end of a ride along the most boring road on the hottest day. I pulled into my Truck Stop watering hole for the night and put this down to knowing that it was a ride that had to be done. It had taken me 8 hours to do 65 miles. I was utterly exhausted.