[ blog » 2023 » 09_South-West ]d18: Madrid ( by Philipp Gesang, location: A Madrid suburb)

Heavy rain made me hole up in my hotel room doing nothing but sleeping and eating until the early afternoon. Around 15:00 hours it was reasonably dry again outside so I went to work on that rear wheel, changing the inner tube. The tire looks pretty beat up and on closer inspection seems to have gotten quite brittle over the years – by now it’s served me on 3500 km of each Italy and Norway so that is not at all unexpected. I could identify two tiny, pointy pieces of metal that penetrated the Marathon’s puncture guard; I hope with those removed the new tube will make it to the end of this trip. After I inflated the tire it once more didn’t slide into the correct position so I’ve got a small bump in the rear now; that’s only an insignificant hassle which I should be able to iron out tomorrow on the road. Damn those Marathon tires, they’re an absolute nightmare to install.

With the repairs out of the way I finally went to downtown Madrid which was a nice trip through the suburbs and gated communities of the capital. Indeed, I learned here that gated communities are a thing even in Europe, in fact this hotel I’m staying in is in one and one has to call some guy in charge of the boom in order to enter. They haven’t quite reached the burbclave level of isolation yet but seem on the way there, what with running their own police squads and whatnot. West of the royal palace suburbia gave way to a well maintained pine forest park that again was an absolute pleasure to roll through and which reminded me of entering Rome from the southeast. From the palace I slalomed my way through the crowds until I reached a boulevard that was closed off for the bike race.

This final stage of the Vuelta was the fourth one I got to see live. Weird to think this was mostly coincidence. I rolled along the star shaped circuit, watching the race fly by a few times. The atmosphere was great, but sadly the front row was already booked out for the entire length of the circuit; another reason to prefer watching the race on the Angliru as up there you get to choose a decent spot.

Madrid is hilly, it turns out, so over just 42 km of this rest day I had to climb more than 400 m of altitude.

gps tracks

[view GPS data in mapbox]


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