Early starts are par for the course of the Camino: the hostel chucks out between 7 and 8, but I was awake and showered well before that anyway. Out, on my bike, free and energised and into the bright but chilly and damp morning.
I thought I was following the N120, but found myself heading for a motorway, with the town centre the opposite side of me to where it ought to have been. After a brief panic where I thought there might not be a cycle exit from Burgos at all, I clicked on to the cycle track, maybe 3k or 4k, alongside the river west. That took me on to the N120, and I was set. Round Tardajos I took the walkers’ Camino shortcut along OKish gravel roads across farmland.
It wasn’t exactly remote or wilderness – there were pylons and tractors; this was as untamed as Leicestershire – but it was a nice change from the road. I enjoyed the postcard view of Hornillos from a summit, with the path snaking away down to the plain below.
I whizzed down feeling good, and plugged along the next 10k to Hontanas. Back on the road I felt really good, with a big tailwind and little country road, and scenery that put me in mind of the Trough of Bowland.
I whizzed along to Castrojeriz and Fromista, whose Romanesque church supported half a dozen storks nesting on top of another and clacking big time. I fired up with a coffee in the cafe next to it. I hurtled through Carrion, which I expected to be dead, but it was only sleepy. What a, I thought.
It was half three and I could have stopped… but I had a tailwind that made my MTB feel like an e-bike, it was sunny, and I was greedy for miles. The N120 was deserted, and the 100m posts by the roadside flashed past like a zoetrope.
It was still only half past five when I got to Sahagun – my intended destination for tomorrow night.
The pleasant central hostel took bikes – mine was one of half a dozen in the ad hoc cycle parking downstairs – and had a very international, convivial atmosphere.
Over my DIY dinner and a bottle of plonk I chatted to a Reuters journo from Howden (doing it with her Spanish partner; she had a thing about donkeys and storks) very happy with my big-mileage day.
Miles today: 90
Miles since Pamplona: 230