2019 has got off to a slow start for me cycling wise 🙁 My mileage is currently way down from the 3013km at this point last year, in fact, it currently is only 1647 km plus I’m finding myself much slower up the hills which could be due to the additional 1.5kg I’ve accrued 🙁 since this last time last year.
So with the fine weather forecast and a northerly wind today to help me get to Harwich I decided to do a mini tour to Europe 🙂 Unfortunately I’ve come a bit underdressed without a proper jacket 🙁 so by the time I arrived at 8 pm it was getting a bit parky especially since boarding doesn’t start till 10 pm.
It’s also the first time the Genesis has been touring, today I left with it weighing in at 21 kg with all my baggage. The bike seems very stable with the Carradice bag although still getting problems changing the front derailleur although nothing that can’t be solved with a tug on the cable 🙂
Here is my Strava for the afternoon ride at 13.6 mph:-
Not sure where I will end up in the next few days but hoping to go down the coast to Calais or beyond with perhaps a quick train trip to Koblenz 🙂
I decided to move on from Seville after one night, I’m just enjoying the biking in the glorious sun too much to spend time mooching around cities.
It took a long time & distance before I was in open country and quietish roads again. Today I was more careful which roads I rode on so as soon as I could see unmade roads I zoomed down on the iPhone and found a longer more made up road 🙂 I also found an Aldi so I could stock up on cereal bars which the Spanish supermarkets don’t seem to do.
Later a laden up touring guy came bombing past me 🙁 I decided to catch up with him to say Hi, I eventually did just about keep up and then lost him again. However, he stopped for lunch in Niebla so I managed to sit and have a very enjoyable chat with him. His name is Martí from Tordera in Spain, he’s cycling to Lisbon as well on his first long-distance trip, and he’s quick. However, he is going via the coast whereas I will be cutting the corner and going inland so I guess we may see each other there. After lunch, we cycled together, once I decided to go to Huelva too as that was the only place with hotels!
The Costa De La Luz hotel is OK a bit basic with an awkward shower, why have it pointing it across the bath rather than along it? but the city centre is close and surprisingly attractive.
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
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 🙂
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 🙂