With 60+ miles to do today it was important to get the preparation right. An appropriately light 3 course dinner and a good night’s sleep being a prerequisite, I did well on both despite the 2 am. crazies who I think were eventully expelled from the hotel. Breakfasting in my room on a couple of ham and cheese croissants bought from the corner shop I was on the road by 8.15 am. Utilising my extensive meteorogical knowledge of how wind forms – land heats up, heats up air, hot air rises, cold air moves in to replace hot air = wind – I banked on the premise that with a good start I could probably get 50 miles done by 1.00 pm which would leave the remainder of the ride to do into the wind if my previous experiences were to go by.
Oh Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. Today being Sunday he did his best to be a good boy. My plan looked like it might work. There wasn’t so much as a puff in the air. I cracked on, pacing myself to 12 miles an hour average to allow for some climbing near the end of the ride. By 1.00 pm I had completed 47 miles. Good enough for me, I would have been on target except for a couple of stops for water and provisions.
For the first time on my journey I found myself travelling along by a canal, the canal de Castilla. The canal was built in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to facilitate the transportation of wheat. When the railroads came all that changed and it is now used as the spine of an elborate irrigation system.
The presence of water was a pleasant addition though the presence of midges could have been improved by their being somewhere else. I was cycling along happily wondering what the tickling was on my face and then realised it was clouds of midges that I was blasting at head height. Urgh !
Aguilar de Campoo sits on the rio Pisuerga which is “locked” in the town itself and rests in the shadow of the Aguilon rock, upon which stands the remains of a 12th century fort. It is a town that I’m sure could look very pretty but today no-one is in their cars. They’re all parked by the roadside which makes taking an interesting photograph a frustrating challenge.
I find a table outside a cafe in the Plaza and sip white wine and munch crisps. This practice has become my post-ride staple since I am in the habit of arriving during siesta time. I am pleased with the days work. There is a little breeze and only a few tourists wander the streets. I read quietly and watch the car go by. Then, as if someone had opened one vast starting gate at 5 pm, the cafes fill with the jabber to which I have become accostomed, and the Plaza springs to life. Siesta is over, time to start some serious chatter.