The arrangements to meet Mr Fresh legs were in theory relatively straight forward..he'd head northwards on the west coast and I would cross from East to west and we'd meet at Tejine. I had the shorter distance, just 20km and my panniers so in theory nice spin. I didn't count on a couple of things..one that leaving Santa Cruz was quite stressful as the roads were narrow and chaotic, and also that the roads just went straight up. I haven't uploaded the ride yet so I can't say what the % is but it was so steep that I didn't look and also that cars took pity on me and let me cross junctions and roundabouts so I would not have to stop. Oofff. It took me nearly 2 hours to do that short stretch. Soon after I arrived Mr F-L turned up and rather than head back into town and up to the north mountains as planned I pleaded craziness due to my panniers so we headed north along the coast until the end of the road then turned and made our way back to the hotel. That in itself was an 'undulating' road proving to me what a sadistic little island this is! I doubt there are actually any flat bits of road anywhere.
Our hotel was quite quirky...it has a liking for bright green against it's white...everywhere. the rooms were quite big but basic, all had a little balcony with a fab sea view. There was also a token kitchen in each...well 2 hobs and a fridge and that was all the appliances they provided. a big pool was set down on the inland side on the 6th floor..oh the flooring were all squiff as the hotel was built into the cliff..the reception and my room was on the 7th floor (ground level at the back), pool on 6th, breakie room on 5th etc. To get to the town center you had to walk for about 20min, mainly down steps..which of course meant having to scale these steps to get home each time. Sadistic place I told you!
Puerto de la Cruz is a funny place...it's hugely developed, as is the coast if pretty much all the island. But in the center you do find some reminants of the old fishing town that used to be there...a small port, some windy streets, plazas and churches. there is a couple of small black sand beaches, and a massive natural pool at the end. But you have to brave the hoards of tourists and tacky restaurants to find it. Also it seems that this is the German side if the islands..Brita preferring to be on the south east near the airport. So the default second language is German rather than English which made things rather confusing ..speak to some one in spanish and they reply in German.
The next day we decided to tackle el Teide..the volcano..47km or so of continual climbing. Aside from a couple of sharp bits near the start it was not too bad a climb staying mostly between 5.5 and 6%. But boy did it go on forever! It was really nice to have the company tho..my first on the bike since the first Raid. It makes so much difference having someone to chat to and all that. We went from built up, to Forrest to open ground and eventualyl to the crater rim where the % dropped but was replaced by a huge gusty headwind that threatened to take us off our bikes. If I said that on occasions we were holding on for dear life...well that wouldn't be an understatement. The scenery was amazing though...strange and wonderful rock formations that continually seemed to change. We finally reached the top..or what we took to be the top as there was no sign and the road was headed downward..took some photos then headed back to the rim to get some lunch before descending. Cor did I get cold when we stopped. Got even colder in the way down as we had gone over the clouds and going back through them was wet. Bleurg. But we made it down safely..even with my little cross-country shortcut at the end. We both felt quite chuffed as it was the longest climb either of us had done before.
That night I slept awful and lost any recovery that I had had from Malaga, waking feeling awful. It got worse on the bike. I have done something to my left knee anyway but all my energy had gone out of my legs and my tanks were completely empty both physically and mentally. I got 7km out into that days ride, all of which were spent in a world of slow moving pain, before I gave in and headed home. While I really wanted to do the ride to the unspoilt south mountains, there was just no way I was going to make it there and back in one piece. I have never quit a ride before..I have not gone out on the bike but never started riding and not enjoyed it. It's a weird and not very good experience. but I have learnt that sometimes you just need to listening to your body..and mine was saying no way ho say and actually when you are that tired it is safer not to be on the bike. So that was the end of my cycling in Tenerife. Not what I planned but what can you do except try to make the most of it..it was still a holiday afterall..non cyling people must do something eh?! . So I spent the last couple of days pottering around the town and sitting on the docks watching the world and it's tourists go by. Oh and I went to a couple of botanical gardens. Am not really a plant person but all the built upness made me want to escape it and the tranquility of secluded gardens worked a treat. There was also the mission to search out dragon trees, which only grow here. Perhaps not worth a mission but it gave me something to do.
Then today was rather odd..taking a taxi with my bike instead of riding it back to Santa Cruz. But I needed to catch the ferry for my last few days of the trip in Gran Canaria...