That bike was made of cromoly steel, had no suspension, no v-brakes and no fancy accessories like today's rigs. We did not have GPS and only one of us had a cycling computer. Back then, when I first took on the the Madrid trails we did not have personal computers, and our only access to good routes was cycling magazines and other cyclists that we encountered on the Sierra.
One of our favourite routes used to start from Cercedilla train station, where we would cycle up to the Puerto de la Fuenfría (Fuenfría Pass) along the Camino de la República, and back down the valley on pretty technical singletrack full of roots and boulders. I still remember how sore my wrists were going down on those trails without suspension, but it was of course all great fun.
|The start of the ride|
|Leaving Cercedilla for the Fuenfría Valley|
|May be nice to do the Camino from home, sometime|
Climbing on the middle ring felt easy, and so I made good progress until the first mirador Vicente Aleixandre (view point) two thirds into the climb. I was still quite warm, so spent a bit of time taking in the views of the whole Northwest corridor of Madrid.
|Pine forests to shelter you from the wind|
|View point Vicente Aleixandre (~ 1600 m)|
|Interesting cloud formation|
|Overlooking to the West on to the "El Escorial" area|
|Mirador de la Reina (Queen's view point)|
I had made such good progress on the climb that I had lots of time in hand for my train back home. It was pretty much all downhill from here on, but I was going to take a different route that I hadn't done in the past, so wasn't sure what to expect. There even was some snow leftover from recent snow storms from a couple of weeks ago!
The downhill was a bit trickier than expected. Although the terrain wasn't particularly challenging, it was full of boulders and the front suspension of my borrowed bike did not seem to work well. Also, the disc brakes squeaked and vibrate quite significantly, making for some unpleasant braking and some rest stops were needed. It was also freezing cold now, as I was now on the Northern side of the Sierra, in the province of Segovia, and I wasn't able to warm up much in the shade.
|Probably the last snow I will see until the 2014 winter|
|Most of the route is on easy trails like this one|
At some point the wide path became a singletrack, which was a nice change. My handling wasn't at its best after so many miles on roads, so had to take it fairly easy and dismount and push on a number of occasions.
|Heading into Segovia|
|Not sure what bird this was, but was fun to see it thermal flying|
|Shade and Northern face made for very cold conditions|
|Up towards Cercedilla on the Segovian side|
|Some walking was needed|