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Stage 766 – Riofrio del Llano to Baraona

Madrid is now but a distant memory and by the time this stage is over, Around The World will have covered a third of the distance from the Spanish capital to the French border. Stage 766 is another beast: they just keep on coming. The road was already rising at the end of stage 765 and the start of 766 carries on in much the same vein. There’s then a lovely descent to below the elevation that kicked off the stage but that respite is short lived because the stage really gets its act together just after halfway when the road rises four hundred feet in just two miles. Naturally, the summit of that climb is the highest elevation of the stage, but more than that it’s the highest elevation attained since the journey arrived back in Europe. The rest of the stage is lumpy up and down but by then the damage has already been done. If you gave it some, your legs will be shot.

The rollout on the CM-101 is uphill and north for almost three miles to the junction of the CM-110 that heads off left to Atienza. IOt’s worth noting that a junction of the same road number earlier up the climb went off right to La Barbolla and from there to several small villages. As the road descends off the top, it passes through Cincovillas at four miles before running flat for a short while along the straight that carries the GU-120 right to Alcolea de las Penas at six miles.

It’s after Alcolea de las Penas that the route gives the first indication of what’s to come. The initial climb to the Tordelrabano junction at seven miles is gentle enough, and there’s even the tease of a short gentle downhill to Parades de Siguenza thereafter. But that’s it, the fun stops there, or depending on your aspirations, maybe that’s where it starts.

As the CM-101 crosses the GU-170, it starts to climb, and by the time is sweeps right below a ridge projecting down from the north west, it’s climbing with some bite. But it’s worth breaking off from the climb for a moment because as the highway rounds the bend, it crosses the administrative border from Castile-La Mancha into Castile and Leon. District borders are important because they confirm onward progress.

The border, interestingly enough, is the summit of the climb and maybe back in history, it became that way intentionally. However once the road is over the other side, it descends gently to several junctions that all serve Alpanseque on the right, then after that, rather than requiring a junction, the highway rolls right into Barona where it snakes right then left around the town. Out the other side of town, the terrain remains lumpy flat and the finish is on a gentle descent near the holy stone of Piedra de las Brujas.

Distance: 17 miles / 27 kilometres

Ascent: 909 feet / 277 metres

RGT Magic Road: 27ZkrpQKZZ7s

Total distance: 16.47 mi
Max elevation: 3728 ft
Min elevation: 3246 ft
Total climbing: 910 ft
Total descent: -627 ft

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