Total ascent: 143m
Time in the saddle: 3hrs 41min
Terrain: flat as a pancake. Biggest 'climb' was over a bridge across the Ebro... And I did that twice as I missed climbing.
I am beginning to think that the powers that be are against me setting off early...it just doesn't seem to happen! If I got sleep and a lay in perhaps it wouldn't be so bad..actually that would be kinda great as my sleeping is pretty minimal at the most. But no..I get up early, eat breakie..and then something happens and leaving early is scrapped...today is was discoving one of the chain links on the bike was loose. So time lost fixing that..quite a random problem but hey ho sorted now. So finally set off towards the delta de l'ebre. As it was kinda a haywire day already I stuck with that and followed a random cycle path which seemed to be heading in the right direction. Turned out to be one of the many Via Verde routes that they have in the area. Started out well..nice small country lanes then moving to follow alongside one of the many canals..little bit rough in place but no biggie. Ha! Then the signpost got scarcer and the 'roads' got rougher until actually they were less than a gravel track. I felt very cyclecross at this point as I jumped off the bike and hooked it over my shoulder carrying it until the worst was over. All the two in and fro ing on the little lanes made me lose my sense of direction too..which is normally pretty good. So I thought sod it..find a big road and go on that..and luckily a big ole roundabout appeared. Several loops of said roundabout later and I headed off in the right direction.
Until that is another random urge told me to go off my nice road that would take me exactly where I wanted to go..and take a smaller road into the park. Sigh. So having no real idea where I was going aside from a rough direction, I carried on. Basically I was wanting to do the delta in a clockwise circle and the theory was to head to the northern coast first. In theory easy right? Just head to the sea..sure! Except the land was so flat you couldn't see the sea. Mr garmin had been playing silly buggers all morning, and though it was working now it couldn't distinguish between small paved roads and dirt track..so not helpful! I did find myself on a cool road that followed a canal heading in the right direction ..straight flat..no cars..nice! Its a bit surreal..it really is so flat, you can see the horizon only when a car goes along, then there are the many canals, a few random houses, in the centre there were sweetcorn fields, and then nearing the sea it turned into paddy fields (apparently the delta supplies the majority of the rice used in Catalonia), and birds. Now my twitching skills are not great (tho I did recognise a hooper bird in Mallorca) but there were herons and egrets and other sorts. Its not really the season for birds here..either at the start or end of season is best but there was enough to get an interest.
Finally my canal road ended and a few zigzags later I reached the northern delta...and to be honest it was a bit of a 'oh' moment as it was a bit.. well not worth the effort - I feel a bit bad about saying that but it really wasn't anything special at all. Deciding perhaps it was lack of water inhibiting my appreciation faculties I headed back towards the centre to Deltebre for refreshments. When I stopped I decided that all this meandering around with no plan really wasn't working especially not with all the bumpy roads which should be avoided on a roadie. So plan concocted I headed south across the Ebro and towards the SE of the delta on slightly bigger roads. Ah that was more like it. Wind was behind me too. Even the landscape change and was more like what I was expecting..reeds, lakes, wetlands..much more rustic than the farmed land the other side.
Then I hit a town and the road back to Amposta and onto Tortosa. Slightly bored of the flat by now I set the virtual partner and raced him back along the C12 home.
Afternoon crashed out in the cool watching the Vuelta go to Teba and Ronda..one of my favourite places .
Tomorrow I am going to take the hint and not even bother to try and set off early. Here's hoping for some sleep!