Riding the line and the wind
Elevation: 1510m (yesterdays was 1880m)
New injuries: none tho I found one from yesterday that I missed..cut finger which christened my handlebar pannier and gloves with blood.
After yesterday I was tempted to take it easy today..or even take the day off but I quickly changed my mind as to do that this early is heading for trouble! Also i felt my legs needed the stretch and it would be good to 'listen' to the bike without the panniers. So I stuck to the plan which was to do a day trip from Ronda to el Chorro - another village by a gorge but this time at the bottom of it (Ronda being at the top). The only change was that I would not do a loop as that would mean going back up that bastard climb at the end yesterday. Even without the panniers I didn't fancy that this soon after am not THAT machosistic .
Best route start ever...a little undulating to warm up up the legs then pretty much downhill for 30 k from there then back to undulating for the next 20 or so. Perfect ..well almost perfect as it was massively windy..mainly headwind but switching to gusty side winds which made for amusing swerves when they hit and angles of the bike when they were constant (not to mention when they stopped!). Made it quite tough going at times. But the scenery was fantastic and I loved every minute of it. Plus I figured headwind down meant wind from behind back so all good!
So to get to el Chorro you go to Ardales and turn off into a small road and head out past a couple of embalse ..reservoirs. Wow..those lakes were the greenest you have ever seen.. The kinda place that no photo could do justice to.
From undulating roads past the lakes to downwards to the bottom of the gorge..which again was so amazing (I am considering starting a fine box for when I start gushing about the scenery as it happens a lot!). The main attraction for this place is the walks and climbs. From the little road I was on you could look across and see the sheer cliffs, broken only by small bridges over the gaps and what looked to be a small wooden walkway across the face of the cliff. Not for the feint hearted. Though apparently not gungho enough for some as there were a couple of guys rock climbing half way up the cliff face. I considered waving but thats probably not something to encourage with guys holding onto a cliff with just their fingers and toes.
Downhill unfortunately means uphill and so after lunch number 1 (I remembered breakie this morning too!), it was back up the hill from whence I came this time with the helping hand of the wind behind my back.
Not that am competitive or anything but when I was finishing up my lunch I noticed two women heading up the gorge on their bikes. Oh ho! I thought I can chase them up the hill! So off I scrambled after them..but to no joy they must have turned off towards the lakes rather than to Ardales. Spoilsports.
Brief respite on an undulating bit which was fun and fast before hitting the 10mile or so hill back home. Damn wind changed directions a bit and so I was forced into headwind with added pain of crappy roads. Though a longy, the hill was a pretty steady 4-5%. Technique at this point was to ride the white line and ride the wind when it switched back to behind me. Bastard hill knocked it up a bit at the end when it ramped to 9% for 3k. Lovely thing to have for just before the end.
But all good, made it home quick change and lunch number 2. I am considering changing the moto of this trip to eat all you can whenever you can! Only 2 days in and I am continually hungry even on the middle of the night (tonight I have bought supplies!!).
So it was a fantastic day..still tough but quite a relief after yesterday that my legs and bike were good. I cannot get over the landscape here..just well and truely awe inspiring. (1 euro in the pot..cough).
Oh and one side note..as mentioned previously I thought my veggieness would slip..and probably none more so than yesterday when I ordered my menu del dia there was no mention of meat there but when it came there was ham in my gazpacho and chorizo on my pizza ( I know pizza??!! Totally failed at the food but it was more a case of getting whatever I could down me, not much thought involved there at all). I tried the ham but left it..by the time the pizza came I just didn't care and wolfed the whole lot down. So new rule for veggieness.. If its Spanish then it doesn't count, that's all part of the experience. Though saying that I have yet to directly order meat and I think that's a long way off yet.