Finally in Granada!

I left Hostal El Caminero at just after 8 am the whole town & Hostal deserted, obviously not early morning folks. Eventually, in Los Banos I found an open bar/cafe and managed to get some coffee etc

Sandstone cutting
Limestone Cutting

I was pleased to have fresh legs as it turned out I had a couple of huge hills to ascend the first was 700 feet (I thought that was my climbing done) but alas the main hill called for another 2000 or so feet eventually topping out at Los Blancares 1,297m (4255 feet). Hopefully, this is the last major hill on the way to Lisbon! Once again there were huge cuttings interestingly starting with sandstone but then towards the top limestone. Never fails to set my mind wandering to think all that limestone is made from dead living creatures!

The downhill was pretty good with loads of other decent riders pounding up! Towards the bottom, a very swish rider all in blue came past & for fun I slipstreamed him 🙂 He spoke some English but riding together & chatting is not really possible on the way into Granada.

I found the Marquis Urban hotel OK, however, the bike wouldn’t fit in the lift so I had to carry it up to the second floor. I arrived just before 2 pm so I walked up to the Alhambra complex and wandered around with the hordes, no tickets were available so the innards will have to wait another day.

Weather-wise once again total sunshine & blue skies getting up to 24 degrees in the town 🙂

Strava is here:

Flickr pics:

To Granada

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Cycling Zujar to Purullena by a weird route

Not quite what Fulcrum Quattro Wheels are for!

I paid up for last nights dinner, drinks & breakfast a grand total of €16! Then for some weird reason, I decided to follow Google maps instead of the route previously worked out. When will I ever learn I MUST NOT USE GOOGLE MAPS ON RURAL RIDES they take no account of terrain or road surface 🙂 so it first took me up a new 20% very steep pavior blocked road a cool 600ft 🙂 the road obviously put in for wind turbines, once at the top it thought an old railway track with the original track bed would be OK, maybe on a suspension bike with fat tyres but on fully laden 700X23C tyres not really. So I ended up pushing it along till eventually, a tarmacked road appeared and I could glide down to my original route having travelled over 11km plus grinding up a monster hill instead of 5km downhill on a good road. Repeat today’s mantra DONT USE GMAPS!

The main difficulty is you have to climb up to the top of one huge valley go across the top a short way and then drop down the adjacent deep valley, just to go west a short way (nope there is no route around the bottom).

My original route took me around the top through Baul and then on a 10km footpath, so in my wisdom I thought the motorway would have a parallel road, on Google Earth it seemed too, so next mistake was to travel along the most never-ending diabolical farm track up and down like a yo-yo whilst the motorway serenely went through cuttings and  embankments 🙁 I did eventually come out with the wheels seemingly intact. What a day!

The valleys themselves are stunning,cut through sandstone the place must have been cut of before the road construction programme started.

It was starting to get late and there was no way I would make it to Granada so at Purullena I checked into Hostal El Caminero for €25 🙂

Here is the Strava:

and the Flickr photos:

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Cycling Velez Bianco to Zujar

The lurgy woke me in Velez Bianco at stupid o clock but it was no way as bad as yesterday! I fell back to sleep and woke up in time to pack a little and have breakfast just after 8. Breakfast was a full on affair and for the first time I had two fried eggs, I left the bacon, this with the cheese on toast plus local oranges & two cups of coffee meant I was set up for the day!

The first challenge was to climb out of the ravine where the El Palacil is located, with a lot of huffs & puffs I made it, thank goodness I didn’t leave anything behind. Yesterday’s ascent continued for 7 miles to over 1,400ft which is getting perilously close to the snowline. Once at the top the full force of the headwind rose to prevent me having an easy descent. I stopped for another coffee in Orce and marvelled at the 5 ladies screaming at each other on some live TV show, the Spaniards can certainly shout!

Cave Houses

The route then took me through the fascinating valley to El Cura, the valley contains some really old cave houses overlooking the sheltered valley, must have been a very desirable place in the stone age as the rock is very soft so you can easily excavate your own cave (apparently home to Europes first settlers). I then found a great cafe for my standard Spanish lunch of a tortilla & coke afterwards marvelling at the chimneys sticking out of the ground from the cave houses.

Where did the tarmac go?

Just after Benamaurel the route suddenly changed into a farm track across fields 🙁 I quickly used the Go Map! app to update Open Street Map but the poor Fulcrum wheels are not designed for such conditions. However, after a few miles I spotted a very  large warning sign for a private property so I reasoned there must be a reason for it, so obviously I went through and quickly discovered a tarmac road which joined the public road and then skirted the mountain to the huge beautiful lake, then it was back to climbing again up to Zujar.

Whilst at the lake I booked the Jaufil restaurant hotel for €25 its quite a bit out of Zujar but fortunately on tomorrows route. The worst problem is that they haven’t switched the main heating on so I’m sat under the AC blowing out hot air.

The weather today was sunny but with a strong cool wind from the west. The worst thing for me apart from the lurgy is my new super reflective Proviz jacket is totally non-breathable so when I arrive all my tops are soaked in sweat. I guess it may help in reducing weight 🙂

My Strava for the day is:

Velez Blanco To Zujar

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Cycling from Lorca to Velez Bianco

I woke up at the Felix Hotel in Lorca feeling dreadful. A bunged up nose, sore throat & gummy mouth the dreaded lurgy had returned again from  my Taiwanese cycling Trip

I still hadn’t made my mind up which way to go; the problem is that they have now made parts of the old road into a motorway so at one point the only way is on a footpath for 10km or maybe hop on the motorway a short distance between two adjacent junctions.

In the end, I chose the back roads so I could visit Velez Blanco leaving the path/motorway decision for another couple of days.

First stop was the pharmacy where I was sold 40 X 600mg  Ibuprofeno capsules, seemed a bit extreme but only €5. Then it was across to the co-op to fill the water bottles and get some cereal bars etc. So it was nearly 10 am before I really started biking.

A bit of a hilly day

It was a gorgeous sunny day so I decided to not book a hotel until I knew how well I was doing,  as it was going to be uphill all day. The road was obviously the old main road so it was wide totally deserted and a pleasure to be on. I even had a couple of mini downhills but after Jardin the serious climbing started with the White Town and castle perched high up.

Velez Blanco from the castle
Velez Blanco from the castle

The hill is endless, I ended up stopping for breathers every 10 minutes or so but I made it! A 1,000-metre climb with all the bags on the bike. The village itself is quite beautiful with stunning views of the surrounding area and the castle dominating, I’m sure laying the paviours throughout the village must have been a worthwhile contract for some guy.

I eventually found a bar to get a Coke and tortilla (€4) and decided that I had done enough for one day so a quick look on booking.com found me AT Restaurante El Palacil literally a stone’s throw away. I have my own apartment with the terrace offering good views.

A pretty exhausting day with my lurgy and over 3,000 feet of climbing. Let’s hope tomorrow has some serious downhill and less of the lurgy.

For fun just looked at the Strava segment on the final hill which is a Cat3 climb, I’m No1 in my age category 🙂 but overall what took me 31:45 to do the KOM took 6:37

Here is the Strava:

Geoff Jones Flickr

To Velez Bianco

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