[ blog » 2023 » 09_South-West ]d17: Segovia ( by Philipp Gesang, location: A Madrid suburb)


Again the rear tire was flat in the morning so the puncture is real. It also deflated much faster today than yesterday so I’m going to have to replace that tube tomorrow.

Rolling out of Carbonero I was instantly faced with a strong headwind which kept blowing from the south for most of the day. Not fun. Even less fun: climbing across to Segovia into that strong headwind, which I did for the better part of the morning today. Way less fun: that normal looking rural road suddenly turning into a rough gravel trail. The surface of that road wasn’t even compressed macadam, it looked more like the crumbled remains of a once paved road that saw its last maintenance during the Franco years. When I was on asphalt again a few kilometers later both of my hands were numb from the vibrations. And there’s people who ride gravel roads voluntarily ...

Reaching Segovia is quite a challenge as there are no sensible roads there from the Valladolid direction. Except of course the one autovia. None of the other roads to Segovia goes in a straight line, not even close. Combined with the headwind this made the first part of the day a rather unpleasant drudgery. Thus when I finally reached the town it felt like an accomplishment even though the route doesn’t look anywhere near challenging on paper.

In Segovia I spent some time admiring the aqueduct and exploring the old town; there’s really not much else to see there as outside the center it consists mainly of suburban copy-and-paste architecture.

Puerto de Navacerrada

Back on the road I found myself back in the headwind, and once again riding uphill. Goal number two for today was the Puerto de Navacerrada at 1880 m which separates the Segovia and Madrid provinces. Not a hard climb by any means even if one doesn’t use the Angliru as a reference, and from the northern side, the one that I rode today, covered in pine forest up until the very summit.

Not that I had a use for the tree shades today. Right until the summit the weather kept getting worse and worse and the headwind increased. What’s more the temperature dropped from a pleasant 25-ish degrees to below ten near the top. Thick clouds hung over the final kilometer, adding pervasive humidity to the mix of annoyances. I did not expect Norwegian weather in central Spain!

On the descent it got quickly warmer and dryer. Despite the steeper gradient I took it relaxed so it was no surprise I got passed on the downhill by a Movistar rider in full team kit who apparently was out on a training ride.

La Vuelta

I knew I would be crossing the route of today’s stage at some point but wrote it off as bad timing. However when I passed through Guadarrama I noticed the signage indicating the finish line in 300 m. The race was in the last 30 km already so I decided to stay and watch another finale. A good decision as this finale turned out to be a real thriller.

From Guadarrama I followed the service road trailing the autovia which descends gently into the city. That was quite the freeway: three to four lanes and another two for the service roads in each direction; I’m pretty sure it was a filming location for one of those awful Matix sequels. A bit stressful navigating the continuation of that road without getting onto the freeway by accident through one of the numerous exits.

127 km traveled with 1670 m of altitude gain. There’s some actual mountains this high plateau! With that mountain range close by Madrid is a serious contender for the best capital location of the continet award.

gps tracks

[view GPS data in mapbox]


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