Not unlike the desperate dash from any other metropolis. The irony that the very purpose of riding is to transport both your body and mind to a calmer place but yet the first miles magnify life’s complexities. By now, you’re already considering adding days to your seemingly time constrained journey.
Traffic through Central Madrid was not as bad as leaving NY, Montreal or even rush hour Boston but navigating an exit to this concrete labyrinth was not trivial in the least.
There are two weeks of riding ahead. I am in no hurry. Destinations, obligations and constraints are not on the agenda. The sky is an unobstructed cyan beginning to cast early signs of a mild and comfortable day of riding. Progress would be arrival in Barcelona by dusk. Success would be enjoying every last mile…safely. As the crow flies, Barcelona is 420 Miles from Madrid but my route map has a 600 mile day planned. I would venture to the spaghetti layered roads in one of Spain’s many natural parks – through single lane roads to the North West of Spain. Entering Parque Natural de la Serrania de Cuenca and Parque Natural del alto Tajo from their southeasterly side. These two parks are noted on the map as large green patches with a few roads following the natural contours of the land – a sure sign of great riding.
A hostel at the park’s entrance would be the perfect staging area for mounting my Go Pro on the Triumph Tiger’s windshield. Unfortunately there really aren’t any perfect mounting areas on this bike so this will have to do. What’s the worst that could happen – these things are practically indestructible!The winding roads of CM2105 were void of pesky guardrails blocking view of the majestic landscape were a welcomed surprise. This also became a reminder to focus on the road as there would be little margin for error when riding too high in a gear or braking late into a turn. For a while a Goldwing led my way, but soon it was clear that the behemoth couldn’t negotiate the corners as aggressively as my 400lb Triumph (rental) – a quick downshift, a gracious wave and the road was mine and mine along.
As the odometer quickly doubled and tripled I would only briefly direct attention from the pushing and leaning to thinking about the incredible footage being captured by the Go Pro. A goofy grin filled my helmet. Moments later progress was slowed by a snake of cars turning right onto an unmarked street. These cars must know something. What do they know? What would I miss if I forgo this turn?
I’m in! I lean the bike, pass the cars and head up a hill toward what could either be an anticlimactic rest-stop, a scenic pullout or something amazing (thought the child in me – a castle maybe!).
The road leading up this hill was a destination in itself. I would make it to the top and see a restaurant, bar and a tourist spot. A coffee would be all the nourishment I needed as I wanted to take that side road back down the 7 KM to CM 2015 to continue Northward.
More great roads, great curves and incredible scenery. Then it happened. The Go Pro popped off the windshield and was crushed by an oncoming logging truck. So much for my oscar winning performance in an action movie. This would be a reminder that I’m here in Europe to ride for 14 days. The footage, photos and documneting are secondary. My recording from the day was lost but my experiences were not. Those would come with me forever. If you want to experience these roads, let us know when you’re going and we’ll draw you some incredible maps.