Saturday, May 03, 2014

First Steps

That’s it. When Felix Baumgartner accepted the challenge of Red Bull to jump from the stratosphere he had a last moment to give up. Just before jumping from the platform he could have thought about doing it better. However he made ​​all of his movements in a calculated dance so that everything turned out perfect. At that precise second when he could have gone back, he moved forward... because the decision had not been taken at the abyss, but long ago. 

Fitting saddlebags and backpacks on a bicycle and crossing the bridge over the Ebro River is not a challenge that can be equated to a stratospheric jump, but the initial impulse is held back at some point by the same question: Do I risk it or do I turn back? That bridge was open to the abyss of our planet, which we would not have to get to perpendicularly, as Felix did, but we have to caress, cuddle and understand it. Thus after our farewells to family, friends and curious, we jump into the void. 

We have only been on the road for four days, just enough to travel the roads connecting Logroño to Calahorra, Zaragoza and Tarazona. The result of these first hours is funny: a broken saddlebag, a headlight broken against a wall, a saddlebag dripping with honey and strawberries, and a backpack that sports a pair of bird droppings, a seat scratched and eaten by cats...What will it look like after a year travelling around the world! 

We’re still getting used to our new way of life, that of constantly getting lost and finding our way again. First lesson learned: plan routes from 50 to 75 kilometers at most. How innocent we are, we believe we can control our destiny. The first day we thought about doing 40 kilometers to Calahorra (we hadn´t ridden our bikes for a month), but decided to take our time, not realizing that taking our time also means doing kilometers. By the time we reach our destination, we have done double that amount and so we started our trip feeling a little sorry. As if we hadn’t learnt the lesson yet, we leave the wonderful town of Tarazona, where the Vallejo brothers treat us like a part of the family, and we are led by sweet words that promise a happy descent to Tudela along the green road of Tarazonica, and then descends to the canal to Zaragoza. It will be more than 100 kilometers, but they say that in 4 or 5 hours we will be in Zaragoza and we get happy. The first hits us on the front. Or rather on the side.  A very strong side wind just barely lets us advance along the road until we finally reach the canal. Once there, the wind pushes us until we learn the second lesson. 

Second lesson learned: the Lodosa Canal is not the same as the Imperial Canal, which is not renamed when it crosses the provincial border. When we have traveled about 40 miles up the Lodosa Canal, friendly gentleman corrects us. It’s not the way. You have to take a road with a furious gale to get us on the right canal. "You can´t get lost." We pay attention, we follow the Imperial Canal and within minutes...  road works. 

But all the same, you can get lost, because we end up following mud roads through orchards until we discover the detour to return to the canal. Once there the north wind has fun with us, our bikes are toys that move at its will. Thankfully, its desire coincides with ours. And so, after another silly detour for having gone wrong again, we arrive to Zaragoza with a "130" in our speedometer and two lessons very well learnt.

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