Taking Chances

When staying in the North earlier on our trip the plan had been to head into the Picos de Europa, an impressive mountain range with high craggy peaks, beautiful lakes and small villages and brilliant biking roads. Yet the weather had not played ball with low cloud and thunderstorms as we had found ourselves when we rode straight into one.

The only other chance to get a taste of the Picos was when we stayed in Burgos. Still nearly two hours away from any really good action, but doable on a long day. So instead of a day off and a wander around Burgos we decided to go for it. A bit tired and weary after ten days of constant riding we weren’t feeling it really, but this was our last chance, so man up and do it!

Headed out in fresh 21 degrees at 9:30 on a long N-road to Aguilar de Campoo and hour and a quarter away. Quick coffee and bum break. That was the boring bit done with. Then onwards onto a smaller yet rather good road with the first glimpse of mountains to come. Already temperatures had climbed to 26 already.

Águilar de Campoo

The sky was blue and not overcast as forecast and it was much hotter as well. All mountain peaks free of cloud, mist or anything else. Yay!!! Entered another smaller road to get us a bit higher. Shame the road surface wasn’t the best, but in those conditions it simply meant not to go all out crazy and just cruise and enjoy the scenery of which there was a lot!!!

Proper mountains in the disctance

Eventually as we entered Cantabria the road got pretty good all of a sudden and we zoomed all the way to Potes for some lunch and a cold drink in the shade of a cafe’s umbrellas. What a brilliant day so far. I didn’t really feel it in the corners today. The road was a bit narrow, wet in the shade and the stunning views kept distracting me, so I took it a bit slower. Stopped a few times for some photos and to take those amazing views in.

It was piping hot in the sun as we had a little wander around Potes before heading off again to Riaño on the now N-road… one of the most stunning bits of the Spanish national roads I guess. As appropriate for a national road the surface was much better and in the heat we had tons of grip. Yet the towering mountains all around kept distracting me. How awesome was this!


Riaño was a slight detour, but looking at some photos on Google it seemed worth it. And I tell you what… it was! The stupendous craggy peaks of the Parque Regional Montaña de Riaño showed themselves the first time a good fifteen minutes before we arrived in Riaño. Towering over a reservoir it is almost as if an artist put all this up for display. It is incredibly perfect in its beauty. We parked the bikes up and walked to the edge of the lake to drink in all the beauty for a bit.

It was scorching but for once we didn’t mind that much. By now jeans clinging to our legs. We could’ve stayed and just looked at this for a long time, but there was still a way to go to get us back home.

Back in the saddle we had one more bit of mountain road to go, before dropping out onto a wider road and making our way back East towards Burgos. Quick break in the shade of yet another petrol station (it really is a tour of petrol stations, haha) before legging it back on very quiet, but rather good country roads. We really were in the middle of nowhere hoping the GPS would not all of a sudden fail.

Back in Burgos after over ten hours. Longest day yet, but so worth it. We both hadn’t really been in the mood, but this had been our last chance to see the Picos and all the other mountain ranges around it and we were glad we took it.

Pretty shattered we had a quick shower and then headed out for food. Opting for Japanese Ramen this time. Something different. Lovely little restaurant Rich found there and even though we had had yet another very hot day, we didn’t mind boshing a hot soup. It was lovely.

240 miles today.

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