Eurobikeski 2016 - Spain - Day 2

Segovia - Peñafiel

For them stats Strava Route Segovia to Peñafiel

For some reason, I couldn't get a great night's sleep last night so I awoke this morning pretty late. I still don't have my "get your shit together and head out" process quite worked out, so it takes me ~30-45 minutes each morning to pack all of my bags. By the time I walked out of my room, it was a bit too late to grab breakfast so I head down to get my bike.

I walked into the small corner store shop to get my bike. The woman that greeted me the day before was working the counter, selling fresh loaves of bread to customers. "¡Buenos días!"

After retrieving my bike from the back store room, the buzzer woman from the day before had arrived in the store as well (I'm guessing the owner's daughter). "Cześć Tomas!", she says in Polish. "Cześć!", I say and smile. She says in Spanish (what I think is), "Good luck and have fun on your cycling adventure, you handsome man!" I say, "Muchas gracias y buenos dias!"

I make sure to load up on water and jugo de piña (cycling fuel). With the empty stomach and lack of sleep, it wasn't the greatest start but it soon got better as the road out of Segovia toward Peñafiel was great. Winding and rolling through forests, with out a single car passing me by.

Unfortunately, this didn't last long. Today was my lesson on roads in Spain (at least the region I'm in). It looks like roads that aren't assigned numbers (e.g. N-110, L-100, BH-1110, etc) aren't really roads as we might normally think of them. Every road with a name seemed to be more of a path for tractors. That means that what started as a nice road turned into a dirt road. Still rideable, but not as fast as a paved road. A dirt road eventually turned into...

Okay, not great. Very bumpy but still rideable with my 28mm wide tires. The issue was that I just biked 2-3 km down a not so bike friendly road. It was either continue on, hoping it would get better, or turn around and find an alternate path. This was my first interaction, so I thought this was a rough patch and that it would get better.

It got worse.

I'm not sure how much the picture does it justice here. These aren't soft dirt patches. These are sun dried, very tough patches of dirt with stones jutting out of them. Definitely not rideable with my bike (and barely walkable). I walk my bike a bit and after 500 meters or so, the path clears up just enough for me to attempt cycling. It wasn't pleasant, and I felt I was abusing the hell out of my bike, but she put up with it like a champ and we got through it.

I'm convinced that these "roads" are named after the most violent outlaws in Spanish history. Each new tractor road had it's own personality. Large protruding stones on one road, clearly abrasive. Others appeared smooth as sand, and would fishtail your bike and stop you in your tracks.

The remainder of the ride to Peñafiel was more or less on these types of roads (albeit not as harsh). The final stretch of road up to the campsite was as if a caravan of dumptrucks with rocks had a field day. As if to say, "Oh, you're not done yet!" I couldn't do it anymore and found the quickest route to a paved road. In this case, VA-223. Smoooooth road...yiss. At this point I don't care how many cars/trucks/whatevers pass me by. I roll smoothly into the campsite, apologizing to my bike.

Not in the best mood, I arrive to "Camping Riberduero" in Peñafiel. A young man is working the desk and I attempt my best at requesting a plot. "Inglés?", he asks. I say, "Yes please" and I buy access for myself, a tent, and electricity. 13.80€. A bit on the expensive side for camping.

Not in the best mood, I go on to choose my campsite. There are only a handful of plots and a few bungalows as the campsite is pretty small. Camping in Spain isn't very popular. The campsites here cater more toward Europeans touring in their RV. Tent camping isn't much of a thing and usually the campsites here have a lot of amenities. Showers, pools, playgrounds, a restaurant, a basketball court, etc. (which I think is why they're on the expensive side of things).

As I walk to my campsite, I pass by the only other person staying here tonight. He doesn't look very Spanish and he appears to be traveling by motorcycle (a large, touring Suzuki). I wave, nod, and head to my site to setup camp. After setting up, I head to take a shower. On the way out, I hear the man speaking to one of the younger employees in English. Immediately I say, "ENGLISH!?". I think I may have pointed at him while I said this and B-lined it straight toward him (It's only day 2 but I'm glad to be able to speak to someone).

Me: Where are you from?

Him: Holland. You?

Me: Chicago.

Him: Chicago... (Nods approvingly)

[PAUSE]

Him: Would you like some wine?

Me: Yes!

Willem from Holland was a great person to meet after the lousy roads I just encountered. He's retired and traveling from Holland to Spain/Portugal and back on his motorbike and camping the whole way. He hitchhiked his way around the US and Canada in the 70s. He also worked for the UN and the Red Cross all over the world but primarily in the Middle East. I struggle to keep up with his conversation, not having much knowledge of the politics there or in Europe for that matter, but I'm completely content just listening and having wine (Willem says Peñafiel is his favorite region in Spain for wine). We discuss EU resettlement, born again Christians, and traveling through Europe.

More conversation over dinner at the campsite restaurant, which was run by the younger staff I ran into at reception. Willem and I talked about it and he guesses these are the children of the land owners. University educated, but struggling to find a job. That appears to be a pretty big issue in Spain at the moment (University graduates finding jobs). After dinner, we call it a night. I've got a bit of a trek ahead of me tomorrow to Burgos!