New Route in Central Spain

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pistonbroke
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New Route in Central Spain

Post by pistonbroke » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:15 pm

Since riding a couple of days of the TNR with a chap from Teruel called Ernesto Pastor, I have been in contact with him and he asked me to make you lot aware of a route he has developed. The full route is 700km or so in a loop starting in his home city and there are shorter loops as well. The purpose, apart from opening up a very beautiful area to Bikepacking, is to highlight the issue of rural depopulation in Spain. His website is https://montanasvacias.wordpress.com There are no plans for a group ride or event at the moment but who knows. I'm certainly tempted to give it a go, maybe in spring or autumn, it gets hot there in mid summer and the altitude makes a winter trip liable to snow.
JamesO and Scattamah may remember him riding with them to Turin prior to the event in September.

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Wotsits
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by Wotsits » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:28 pm

That looks great & brings back some good memories Duncan :-bd
Have to be careful what time of year to ride this though, as presume it'd be scorcio mid summer..

Also reminds me of when we were in Berlangade de Duero & i went into the pharmacy to get some meds for my weeping gash. The guy in there spoke really good English & told me about his friend who had a bikepacking route that was further south. Does make me wonder if there's a connection..
(Over)Reaching for the elitist 'vision'....

jameso
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by jameso » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:45 pm

I certainly do remember, Ernesto is the kind of guy you could ride with a long way, great company. He's got a god approach to all this too, relaxed yet a really strong rider. He told Scott and I about this area and his ideas for the ride. It looks beautiful, I'm really keen to get out there.

pistonbroke
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by pistonbroke » Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:35 pm

Jase, the route coincides with the C2C at it's northernmost section, the Alto Tajo National Park is where we rode in the dark through the valley with the Ermita built into the rock formations . Ernesto is from the village of Castellote which is near the turquoise lake we waited for Scott and Nigel at.
James, if you really fancy it, I can see if Ernesto is up for a few days riding, he's coming here in the next few weeks for a visit to escape the cold of Teruel. The nearest airport is Castellon and the only UK service happens to be from Stanstead with Ryanair, it's still a fair trek to Teruel but I could pick you up and go together.
For those struggling with the Spanish, some regions that the route passes through have a population density of 0.98 people per square km which is half that of Lapland. There are refuges strategically placed along the route, fires are banned as are camping stoves but the route is designed for gravel bike or rigid 29er so quite fast going.
It should be possible to do it in a week including flights to Castellon.
For trivia buffs, Castellon is the ghost airport that Top Gear used a few years ago, to say it's quiet is an understatement, we've driven past it several times and never seen a plane!
Edit: Bloody hell, just had a look at flight costs in March-April, under £30 RETURN! Plus bike obvs.

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In Reverse
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by In Reverse » Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:38 pm

"Come to rural Spain - there's absolutey no f*cker here!"

Looks great tbf and I'd love to ride it. Is Molina de Aragon, at the top of the route, the place where you told Mike to "f*ck off to Italy" Duncan? :lol: :lol: :lol:

pistonbroke
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by pistonbroke » Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:10 pm

That's the place Andy, we had a lovely pizza there this year :grin:
The Alto Tajo is the forested area with strange rock pillars [url]Alto Tajo National Park https://imgur.com/gallery/mmfgeiQ[/ :url]
The more I discover about Spain, the more I realise I'm just scratching the surface. There's so much riding but the key to putting together a route that works is finding places to eat and drink at appropriate times, the few folks that live there work around the vagueries of opening and closing times but those passing through by bike have a slightly tougher challenge. (Unless you know a local that is :wink: )

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In Reverse
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by In Reverse » Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:48 pm

pistonbroke wrote:we had a lovely pizza there this year :grin:
Brilliant. :lol:

Get your point on shops/eating and drinking. I started playing at putting a 3 or 4 day route together down in the south west, had half an eye on flying out today before work got in the way. Looking at the small towns on google street view, and remembering how empty a lot of them were when we rode through, is a stark reminder that it's a lottery whether you'll find anywhere open.

pistonbroke
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by pistonbroke » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:11 am

The Montañas Vacias route has now been featured on Bikepacking.com
http://www.bikepacking.com/routes/montanas-vacias/
Some stunning images, definitely one for the diary later this year. Happy to do a group ride if anyone else is keen, probably end of Sept when it's a bit cooler.

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Mike
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by Mike » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:52 am

That looks fab guys, when we doing it.

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ootini
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by ootini » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:53 am

That looks ace. It also appeals in a "Let's move to rural Spain before brexit goes properly tits up" kind of way too.

pistonbroke
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by pistonbroke » Sun Apr 28, 2019 6:44 pm

If anyone is keen and wants to do some research on getting here from the UK, the closest airport to Teruel is Castellon, the draw back for some is that the only UK airport that you can use is Stanstead via Ryanair. From the midlands and NW, Reus is a better option as it's possible to get here from Manchester, Liverpool, E Mids,and Birmingham.
I can offer a transfer from either airport to Teruel with car and trailer for the bike as the train is a bit sporadic. If anyone fancies pulling something together for Sept, I'd say this is a good time as flights will be cheap and the weather should be good.

Blackhound
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by Blackhound » Thu May 02, 2019 5:28 pm

I have seen this route mentioned twice and I did look at it as an option for this spring but injury kept me from planning anything. I am away this autumn but might take a look next spring. A route someone has planned with knowledge of food stops is better than taking a chance.
Image

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Richard G
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by Richard G » Fri May 03, 2019 2:26 am

I'd definitely love to come back over... though hopefully it'll be less insanely hot next time! :lol:

pistonbroke
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by pistonbroke » Fri May 03, 2019 8:39 am

Timing of this type of trip is important, especially for those coming from the UK. The spring has it's attractions, mainly that the scenery is likely to be greener than at the end of summer and being "pre-season" gives you a boost. However given the location and altitude, generally around 1,500m and some bits over 2,000m, the window between very cold and snowy and baking hot is quite small. There are pictures on the facebook group taken 2 weeks ago of extensive snow, next week's forecast for Teruel is mid 20's. Also coming from the UK, if it is warm it can be a shock to the system, especially if not much winter training has been done beforehand.
At least riding in the autumn, it's to be assumed that people will be a bit more acclimatised.
Another consideration is that many regional airports don't run UK flights until Easter but then generally operate until the end of October.
Kevin's comment about riding a route that has been researched locally with resupply and food stops found is a valid one and I would trust that Ernesto has done his homework but he also states there are some sections of 80km or so where there is bugger all so a degree of self sufficiency is needed, the South Downs it aint! This has been the number one challenge of putting the Spanish C2C route together, this area has experienced a huge depopulation with younger generations moving to cities for better opportunities. The number of abandoned villages is growing weekly. From what I've read about the Tour Divide, much of this route has a feel of the New Mexico section with a sense of isolation thats difficult to find in Europe these days.

maxap
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by maxap » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:58 am

I would be up for joining a ride later in the year. Had a look at Ernesto's site. Looks great

pistonbroke
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by pistonbroke » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:48 pm

He's organised a group ride over the Summer Solstice weekend which I'm going on, it's only 150km or so but I'll talk to him about the practicality of doing the whole route in September. We're experiencing a bit of a drought at the moment with little Spring rain to refill aquifers. He may be up for a small group ride. Sept is a good time to travel here as budget flights are still running but not so busy as the schools are back, weather should be ok as well.

Rasta
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by Rasta » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:11 pm

"There is a place in Spain with an area twice the size of BELGIUM"

That made me laugh. Who knows anything about Belgium! (beer excluded). And the size of Belgium?

pistonbroke
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by pistonbroke » Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:18 pm

Wikipedia seems to know the size of Belgium although it seems to depend on whether the tide is in or out. Not a problem with the Montañas Vacias :roll:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgium

ianpv
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by ianpv » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:47 am

Having missed out on the HT550 this year I may be able to reactivate my pass for a week or so in September, and this looks amazing...

pistonbroke
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by pistonbroke » Thu Jun 06, 2019 12:15 pm

I've been in touch with Hux about this as he missed out on the C2C due to his flight being cancelled. He's got leave in mid Sept as well. Flights to Castellon (Valencia) leaving Sat 14th return 21st are £42 plus bike RETURN, only from Stanstead unfortunately. We could fit in 6 1/2 days riding from Teruel which should complete the 700km big loop without pushing the pace too much. Ideally we'd be 5 riders, 4 flying in so I could transfer bikes and bodies in the car and trailer. I think some of the refugios on the route are restricted on space as well. A word of warning, if you are not of a carniverous disposition, getting a varied diet will be a problem.

ianpv
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by ianpv » Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:22 pm

I think that timing may work out well - I'll check!

jameso
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by jameso » Thu Jun 06, 2019 5:04 pm

Pretty keen to ride this, mid-late Sept post TNR would be great. Will keep tabs on dates.
much of this route has a feel of the New Mexico section
That's the bit that grabbed me - Cass Gilbert's recent pics reminded me of the Cruces Wilderness and Carson Forest area which was a highlight of the GDMTBR for me. That and the Camino being such a great ride, which was the last time I was in Spain on a bike.

Chicken Legs
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by Chicken Legs » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:44 pm

Depending on dates I am interested in riding this, if its anything like the Burrally route I rode last year, which is in a similar area, it will be ace.

pistonbroke
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by pistonbroke » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:29 pm

Well flights will suit you Andy, Stanstead-Castellon. I rode the Burrally this Easter with 3 very strong guys on gravel bikes, day 2 covers some similar trails around the 2,000m mountain called Penyagolosa. Ernesto is doing the Tuscany trail atm but I'll message him next week about mid Sept, I've got local races on the 8th and 29th of Sept so 14th-21st seems a good bet, flight prices are good as well.

maxap
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Re: New Route in Central Spain

Post by maxap » Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:10 am

Well, I'm in :-bd

Sat 14th to 21st September is fine with me. In fact pretty much any time in September is good.

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