I was awake at 6:00 am – deliberately; the weather forecast said it would get to 38C today, and I wanted to spend as little time in that sort of heat as possible. It’s difficult to do, though; you either just do 30 km, and find a hotel (it would take forever to get anywhere, and besides – between Zaragoza and Huesca there are no hotels anyway) So my plan was to head ofF in the cool, and get to Huesca as soon as I could.
Showered, packed, and down for a quick breakfast at 7:00 am. First problem – on Sundays, breakfast doesn’t start in Hotel Tibur till 8:30 am. I’d paid the extra 7 Euro for breakfast, too. So – no breakfast. I’d bought an extra two litres of water, so I was Ok for liquids, and I’d had a big late lunch (seafood risotto, fish and vegies, and flan and ice cream. I ate the same meal three days in a row, it was that good – plus I was a bit tired of paella…)
I got the bike out of the luggage room, oiled the chain (that’s not really what I did – I used some teflon based dry lubricant, developed in the International space station, that lasts longer than oil or grease, maintains the chain better, and is sooo trendy) and chucked a left, past the basilica, then a right, over the Ebro – following the N-330.
It was already 21 C at 7:15 am.
As it was Sunday, I was hoping that the early parts of the N-330 (it’s a four lane each way highway until it meets the motorway, about eight Km North of Zaragoza. Cyclist are allowed to ride it, but I’m not a fan of busy roads and lots of traffic – meat is way less durable than steel, should you collide) would not have much traffic.
All was fine. Very little traffic, and I peeled off to Villanueva de Galligo, onto the N-330a.
Along with every cyclist in Aragon. Huge peletons, all in club colour; some with a lantern rouge car, complete with flashing roof light, trailer, spare bikes and wheels; small groups of mates, like Steve Doyle and his crew – all in the same outfits, but no lantern rouge, and individual couples, triples and singles. Lots of old blokes too. I saw one mountain biker for every one hundred road bikes, and an even smaller ratio of women cyclists – I saw three all day.
On the horizon, way North, there is a faint smudge, like a smear of mascara, that is the mountain range between me and the North coast of Spain. Too far ahead to worry about. BTW – mascara is Spanish for mask…. It did get closer…
The road leads steadily, but very slightly, uphill. Just enough so that you have to keep pressure on the pedals – no cheap coastng for most of the day.
Almudevar was the first town that the N-330 passed through. I stopped for an OJ and a sandwich, and to refill my camelback. I also topped up my sunscreen, and changed my headband for a dry one. It was hot; plus the gentle grade, plus the headwind; the headwind cost me a couple of gears.
Endless farmland; corn, wheat, and other green stuff. Lots of sprinklers going, and from horizon to horizon, that’s all you can see. They must grow most of Spain’s vegies. There was a patch of wetland – the local storks use power poles as nest sites.
Most of the ride though, was paralleling the railway and the motorway Boring as, except for the constant greetings and farewells from the roadies. They’re very friendly; lots of the solo riders will pause to chat – it’s tough work, miming on a bike 🙂 but we’d smile, and then I’d watch them accelerate away. Trek, with his panniers and rack, weighs around 40 Kg. The average road bike weighs around 10 Kg.
Into the middle of Hueska (pronounced “who’s car”, BTW). I stopped at the Plaza Navarro
and had a beer, and a plate of calamari, followed by another beer.
There are a couple of three star hotels in town – the first one I approached was a new multi-storey, next to the railway station – no thanks. I found the “Hotel La Posada de la Luna” on the edge of town – loved it. trendy and friendly, and quiet. Run by a muslim lass and her partner – I’d recommend it to anyone. Each room supposedly represents a planet. I’ve no idea what planet my room is supposed to be – as it’s number 4, I’d guess Mars. i’m just happy it’s not Uranus. Boom boom 🙂
I’ve had a late lunch/early dinner, and have had about ten litres of liquid – maybe a quarter of it beer :). I’ll sleep well. The plan for tomorrow is to head North towards Sabinanigo; not thinking further ahead than that. There’s hills out there…
See you down the road.