Sun, sea, ice cream and a paddle

Today we were cycling to the coast for an ice cream and a paddle. It should be downhill from the mountains, right? Wrong! What I’d expected to be a fairly easy day was actually pretty tough… 83 kilometres with 1100 metres of ascent. My body is used to cycling now though, so I took it in my stride… even the race at the end! More on that later.

To start with the cycling was very pleasant, up and downhill, meandering through fields, and the vineyards, olive and orange groves we’re so used to seeing now. The lanes were quite rough, and reminded us of the pot holed roads of the UK. At one point we had to wait a few minutes for a guy chopping trees to clear the road!

As we got nearer to Calpe, we rejoined main roads and the traffic got really busy. Tiffany and I were shouted at by a man in a big lorry at one roundabout… obviously he has issues with cyclists using the same roads as him!

We didn’t hang around in Calpe and just stopped to take a photo of the huge limestone rock that towers above the high rise buildings in the resort. Dave also pointed out flamingoes on the water.

I generally like riding at the back of the group so I don’t have to worry about anyone but myself. However, this left me open to the heavy traffic as we wound our way around the coast to Moraira. I hated it when lorries sat on my tail up and down hills because they couldn’t pass me safely. I’m sure they were cursing me, as I was cursing them!

I was pleased when we got to Moraira where we were stopping for an ice cream because, by now, I was desperate for the loo! We all ordered huge ice cream sundaes, which were absolutely delicious! Well worth putting up with the heavy traffic! By now, the sun was shining… a bonus we hadn’t expected today.

I took a few photos… it’s such a pretty town. Then, after a paddle in the sea, which was surprisingly warm, we set off again. This time, John stayed behind me to protect me from the traffic, and I was much happier, and able to enjoy the views of the coast better.

Our next stop was Granadella beach, reportedly one of the most picturesque coves in Spain. It was certainly very beautiful, at the bottom of a long steep and winding road. As we arrived, John staid ‘I’ve just realised we have to climb back out of here!

Suitably refreshed at the bar, we left the coast on a different road, up, up and around long hairpin bends with stunning views back down to the cove. Our bikes, legs and lungs got a good workout!

The next stop was Javea. John and I have visited here before, many years ago. I couldn’t really remember it, but it seems to have grown since then. We parked our bikes and ordered lunch. I ended up with three large tapas dishes because of a misunderstanding. Thankfully the guys helped me out!

I was very surprised to see it was now 4.30. It was time to head back inland. Would we manage the hills, full of so much food?!

The traffic was very heavy to start with, as we cycled along the main roads. Thankfully, the Spanish roads have a metre of tarmac beside the main carriageway, which kept us away from the traffic and made it easier for vehicles to pass. We just kept our heads down and pedalled as fast as we could until we turned off onto quieter roads again.

After we’d passed under the motorway and been through a small town, Dave told us it was about 6 kilometres to the top, to the iron man statue at the edge of Lliber, which John and I had previously seen. He suggested I increased the level of assistance on my ebike, and I thought I’d have a go at racing Dan, the youngest of our group, and a very fit and strong cyclist.

No chance! I couldn’t keep up with him, even with my motor. The assistance is limited and doesn’t help above a certain speed (15 miles per hour in the UK) so, even if I’d had the bottle to ride hard on the downhills, the bike wouldn’t help me there. Andy caught me on a downhill, but then I left him behind as the road headed uphill because, when my speed slowed down, the motor kicked in again.

Kilometre markers at the roadside counted up from 2 to 8 kilometres, just below the top. I got there well after Dan, but before the others. I’d pushed as hard as I could and this was definitely the most effort I’d put in all week! Sweat poured off me, despite it being cooler as the sun was dropping. We all had legs like jelly!

I had just 6% left on my bike battery so I switched it off for the downhill section past Lliber back to the main road, switching it back on to get up the steep hill back to the villa.

As I put my bike away, the guys chatted about doing a Strava section up the hill behind the villa. However, having reccied it and seen how steep it was, they changed their minds, deciding to cool their legs in the pool instead!

This was yet another fantastic day of cycling, topped off with another of Tiffany’s fantastic three course dinners.

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