Yesterday was a cloudy, cooler start to the day. After a good nights sleep I felt 100% better after a couple of lethargic days. I was ready for a longer ride. I’d memorised a route around the Northern part of the island taking in the East and West coast on both sides and around the Northern shore. I decided to go in the morning to make the most of the cloud cover that tempered the direct sunshine and heat.
I left about 10.30am and rode out via Corralejo’s famous dunes passing the early morning surf school’s collected on the various beaches. This was my first big stretch of road at circa 10 miles and the difference in driving behaviour compared to the UK is stark. Not one close pass and the Spanish drivers are so much more patient. Just waiting those couple of extra seconds for oncoming traffic to pass which UK driving culture seems to be unable to afford and would rather endanger you.
Anyway, dunes done it was right at Parque Hollandes onto the gravel trail which climbed gradually for 8km destination Villaverde. The climb starts off punchy with some steep slopes and a rough surface before it levels off as you traverse the new motorway then a drag up between more volcanoes until you get to the village of Villaverde which sits atop a plateau wth the Northern coast and ultimately my destination in the distance.
When I got to Villaverde I popped out onto a main road and my task now was to find the next gravel road that took me down the hill towards Lajares. I was only using my Garmin to record my ride, I had to try and remember where it was from two years ago. I peeled off and went down a single track road which kind of looked familiar which just ran out and became gravel. Bingo! and then I realised I was riding towards Lajares a bit more directly than I should have been. I must have found a different but more direct one which was great except it was as rough as fuck. Obviously used quite a lot by motor vehicles, the surface was like a washboard and then I realised my forks were still locked out from the road section FFS.
Lajares was quite busy. It’s a ‘surfing’ town. Popular with the surfing & kite-boarding crowd with lots of places to hang out. The tone of the place is about being free and looking after the ocean. You see shops upcycling stuff and signs about plastic but they’ll drive all over the island in their gas-guzzling camper vans. It’s a weird paradox and a massive contradiction for me….and they chew up my gravel routes too which is annoying and selfish of me I know
The town is quite busy with traffic as it’s a main road from Coralejo to El Cotillo on the west coast, famous for it’s sunsets. Luckily I can stay off 99.9% of the main road with a quiet road that runs parallel which leads to what looks like quite new segregated cycle path. At the end you do jump on the main road for a couple of hundred metres before joining another path into town which is the brightest blue I have ever seen!
In town I hit the 40km mark. I took a right and I was now into a really strong headwind and the sun was out now. In the distance was the lighthouse which seemed to take forever to get to in the wind. As I ground away on the pedals, I was trying to calculate the direction it was going to be heading home in relation to the wind to see if I was in for a bitch of a ride back or not.
At the turning for the coast road back I took a moment to take a photo and worked out I was in for a crosswind most of the way back. Given how bad the wind can be I was kind of grateful as it does take the edge of the temperature too.
The first part of the coast road is pretty torrid. Very rocky in places chewed up by a constant string of surfers and tourists in their cars and vans but occasionally you get caught out my deep, soft sand. You just have to press on the pedals hard and squirm your way through it to stay upright.
Eventually the traffic petered out and the sand gave way to a more natural volcanic rock landscape with the gravel trail cut through it. It seems endless and all I could focus on were the volcanoes in the distance which I knew hid Corralejo just behind them.
You know you are getting close to some form of civilisation when the parked car count goes up. Drivers, true to form, parked anywhere they like too. I had reached Majanicho so I know I only had a few more km’s to go which spurred me on as I was getting cooked in the blazing sun now.
Back in the outskirts of town I decided to ride back into town via the harbour again but the front wheel washed out when I took a right. Slow puncture! I called Sally to see where she was and decided to stop and put some air in just to get me back to the apartment. As I did I noticed a thorn sticking out the tyre just above the valve.
Air in I rode straight back and got on with the tube replacement only to find I’d been carrying a spare supplied by the hire centre had a big split down the seam FFS. That would have been interesting out on the ride somewhere.
I took the wheel back to the hire centre to get a couple more tubes and the guy said the split was the second one that day he’d had. I told him Bontrager tubes are shit as I’ve had 700c tubes in the past, punctured from new out of the box.
Replacement and spare sorted I got back and refitted the front wheel and reloaded my saddlebag. Unfortunately he gave me another Bontrager tube, so fingers crossed!
Today my legs are pretty caned and I’m a bit red from the sun so I’ll probably do a light spin round town later.
One thought on “Almost”
With far too many people, they’ll signal their imperial virtue, whilst and at the same time, ignoring that virtue because they have to do what they want to at the same time. It’s as if stating you care counts for something. Gets on my nerves too.