Logrono to Quintanar de la Sierra

Friday 31 August 2012
Posada Las Mayas, Quintanar de la Sierra, Spain
104km, 16.1kph, 0915 – 1800 hrs, 6hrs 28mins

Rise 1484m, elevation 1000m

Route: Camino out of Logrono for 10k, combo of camino and roads until turned S on 136 about 5 km east of Najera, S on L133 to Villavelayo, S to Neila, over the Puerto del Collado to Quintanar de la Sierra

We’re now using the book, Cycle Touring in Spain (Cicerone), which gives a route from Madrid to Bilbao, and which we started following when we turned south. The route is country roads and purports to avoid the mountains, saying it is for “those who are happy with hills but prefer to cycle between mountains rather than over them.”  Now, the last time I was in Spain was 30 years ago and in a car so have zero recollection of the country. It is all hills and mountains. My one complaint about the guide is that is constantly understates how much climbing is involved.

(BTW the Tour de Spain is on at the moment – no wonder the Spanish are good cyclists.)

So, in detail: Getting out of Logrono is hard on a bike because the autoroute has absorbed the local road and there is nowhere for cyclists to go except on the camino. Not a bad option, but very slow. We followed it until we could get onto the roads, even then went back and forth as seemed most efficient. But it was slow and with our goal of 100km today, it ate up a lot of time.

Once we turned south, we essentially went uphill for the next 80km. Fairly steady most of the time, good job, Spanish road engineers!

From Anguiano, the scenery was spectacular. Anguiano itself is stunning, with an old church up high, with an old stone bridge across the Najerilla River. From there we followed the Najerilla up the canyon for nearly 20km, beautiful riding, not too hard uphill and endless beauty of river and woods and canyon. Then 15km along the dammed lake (stopped to look at the dam of course), water is low, and though there are some homes there and tourism efforts, it seemed very remote.

Not as remote as the next stage though – the 12 km up to Neila took an hour, following the Neila River though its canyon. In that hour we were passed by exactly 2 cars, and felt like we were in our own spaghetti western – the rocks and trees and river were wild and stunning. But it was hard.

The tiny perfect village of Neila would have been good to stay in but the only hotel is closed for renos. Someone’s put a lot of money into the town, with a museum and visitor centre and streets with new pavers looking very tidy.

We stopped for a quick tea, then went even further uphill, quite hard this time, to the Puerto El Collado, which at 1400m is the highest I’ve ever been on a bike.

Quick downhill after that to Quintana de la Sierra about which I can tell you nothing because I was too tired! Olin wasn’t too impressed in his walk around. Very beautiful posada we are in, and we are the only guests. Couldn’t figure out who their customers are.

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About Olin and Suzanne
Olin and Suzanne's cycling trip, across Canada and around the world.

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