Bikes are ready, we are ready. Excitement fills the air which makes it even more important to have a safety and stage briefing before we go. Experience has shown that the first stage beares quite some challenges. The large and sometimes technical climbs are one thing, sitting for 6+ hours in the saddle after four days of sweet life in Madrid is another.
Right out of Puente la Reina comes one of the hardest climbs of stage one. Even experienced riders have to push their bike, especially if you have to juggle physical exhaustion with being considerate with the many peregrinos (pilgrims) on the trail at such an early time of the day. We soon come up to Cirauqui, with a nice stretch of Roman coble road (yes, wicked old roads) with initial parts being in fantastic shape only to soon turn into a massive obstacle – carrying you bike obligatory.
Right before Lorca, we come across an amazing medieval bridge, site of numerous tales that were spun on the Camino. The place became infamous in a story involving poisoned horses and theft in the early middle ages. The haunted locale did not dissapoint in being jinxed as we suffered our first mechanical catastrophy – a broken chain. Well, we fixed it and at least our horse was able to get back up and face the Camino once more.
We finished riding in San Sol, after six plus hours of discovery. We are happily exhausted, with some minor dings and bruises. We gave the Camino a tiny bit of sacrifice in effort and pain, but gained disproportionately more. Landscape, people, places. All indescribably beautiful, with a heart and sole.