So, my second ride was a bit more sensible than my first but still ended up tiring me out – not easy this biking lark!
This time I started by descending the 7% hill from my house, rather than attempting to go up it! To be honest though, this plan actually had less merit than I thought as the road is steep, potholed and very, very bumpy making it a bone-shaking and terrifying experience. Having only gone down it on an MTB with suspension and fat tyres I had no idea how solid and bumpy everything would feel on skinny tires and very rigid frame. By the time I’d hit the bottom my wrists were already tired: I hadn’t known whether I should stay high or lo on the bars, the new, more advanced riding position being a novelty, and I’d barely been off the brakes…so much for my ‘easy’ start.
Anyway, things improved as I got to Entrago at the bottom. I pulled onto the main road, much better surfaced, and was able to up the gears and start to pedal. The bike felt good and as this was in reality my first sensible ride I tried out my position and how to manipulate the gears (still looking down and back to see which cogs I was using) and then tried to go as fast as possible…
I still was wearing ‘civvy’ clothes, no padding or lycra yet, and was still without cleats. I was happy with that as I wasn’t 100% confident in my abilities and adding in another possible danger didn’t seem like a good idea. So, I headed downhill pedalling as hard as my little legs would permit and realising that the biggest gears weren’t for mortals like me – at least not on the flat.
The road down from Entrago to Caraga Baxu is about 7.5k and gently down hill with a couple of steeper sections. Not sure of what to do really I simply pedalled like a maniac trying to keep up a good speed. And it was OK. I got tired on the flatter sections and had to go down quite a few gears but overall I got to the turning in good spirits. I could change gear OK and I’d learned to avoid the potholes and bumps on this new stiffer beast…tick and tick!
At the junction I turned up towards the village of Barzana that sits underneath one of the areas more famous climbs, the large, steep ascent of La Cobertoria. This I figured would be good practice for extending my range as the road up to Barzana was almost a constant climb. The first few k were gentle then comes a short but steep segment up to the lake (just over 1k with 130 metres of ascent!!), this put me into bottom pretty quickly, and had me breathing very heavily.
I was chuffed to get over this and onto the flats above and covered the next section of 3 to 4km more easily until a longer hill, which always flew by in the car, started to really hurt my legs. This is the part right below Casa Quiros and what my real cyclist friend refers to as ‘rolling flats’ – bastard.
Innocuous as it seemed I was in bottom again and very slow to gain the summit. Wow this was harder than I thought, even the hills which don’t look like hills can be punishing…!
Finally I hit the ‘home straight’ to Barzana and after 19km and just under an hour I hopped off the bike and got a coffee – one of the ‘biking’ norms I’d picked up pretty quickly!! I was pleased. It had been a struggle but it wasn’t a flat ride so for my first sensible outing ride I was happy to have conquered a few hills and to have not hated it.
After my coffee I’d also taken the more reasonable option to continue my ride back the way I’d come but without the need to do the ascent back to Entrago. Mary was meeting me in Proaza which was another 5 km ‘down’ the road from the point at which I’d come uphill for the first time.
The descent was fun. Head down, like I’d seen in the telly I was a blur of legs (or so I thought) as I made the most of the hills I’d struggled up to enjoy the feeling of speed as I hurtled down. My rudimentary bike computer registering just over 50km on the steepest (23%) part of the descent!
My second ride completed; a few ‘puffed-out’ points but no real dramas and 38km under my belt of mixed terrain I was very happy to step off and pack my bike into the car and to be carried home by my wife!