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  • Ride Start DateOctober 5th, 2014
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Training for spring begins!!

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These are some of the photos I took on my ride today!! I had a great time exploring the local mountains first going up one until the road became too cut up for my bike and then came down and headed up another one before coming back to the house! It involved 10-12 miles of climbing which was tough going but rewarding with the views and downhills that followed as well as great training!! I can definitely feel my fitness building up again and I seem to be coping well with the heat which is useful! I now have another 6-7 months of good, solid training to get myself in to tip top form ready for the spring!! It’s going to be a challenge no doubt especially during the winter months but at least it should keep me out of trouble!! 😉

I’m looking forward to doing 2 or 3 more rides around here before heading home and will keep you up to date with how that goes!!

Cheers

Al

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The Last Leg!!! (For now!)

I have to say that today was definitely one of the easier days of this trip!! From the rains of the North to the mountains and heat of the South it has been an experience that will stand me in good stead for next spring when I take on the whole ride in the spring!

Today I set off just south of Granada having eaten lunch atop the Sierra Nevada! The only way I can describe it is ‘downhill’ and I really whizzed along for 17-18 miles. All the while I was waiting for the hill that I knew led up to Jon and Emma’s village. I remembered it as steep and long! But that was before the last few days where I have learnt about what steep and long really is!! 15 minutes and I was at the top thinking that it wasn’t really as bad as I remembered!!

So I arrived at the destination, not quite as planned but nevertheless I learnt many things along the way all of which will be useful for next year. Plans for the next trip are well on the go now and with a full support team, careful route plans, good nutrition and a whole heap of winter training I am confident that I will bounce back from the disappointment of this time and successfully complete the whole ride in the spring!!

The cycling doesn’t stop here though, I’ll have a rest day tomorrow and then I’m taking a few days to cycle and explore the local area here where I’ll have a chance to reflect fully on the experiences of the last few weeks.

Thank you all so much for your support and I intend to keep the blog regularly updated over the next few days with my experiences of cycling in Andalusia as well as sharing some of the lessons I learn and have learnt as I reflect!!

Cheers.

Al

From the valley to eagles wings!!

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Today was an amazing day of spectacular scenery and amazing cycling! We started in a small village next to a large lake and headed off around it! It was an undulating road that went through mainly trees which was a relief as they provided much needed shade in the 32 degree heat!! Ben also did a sterling job of keeping my water topped up as I was drinking rather a lot!! 🙂 It was a really nice ride that after the lake followed the river up the valley.

Towards the end of the valley the road turned inevitably upwards and a tough climb followed particularly with the heat! I have to be honest and say it is as deep as I’ve had to dig on the bike to get to the top but I made it and was rewarded with spectacular view back in to the valley that was enhanced by the two eagles that were gliding around very close by!!

As often happens when you go up you then have to come down and down I came on a fantastic 6 mile descent with switchbacks and huge drops off the side. I’d have preferred the road surface on the corners to have been better as these provided a couple of hairy moments but all in all it was a lot of fun!!

I then had to negotiate the town of Cazorla which was a crazy ride through steep and narrow backstreets dodging people, dogs and cars until I eventually arrived at the campsite planned for the night.

It’s a great place with wonderful views and a short walk from a variety of tapas bars where for a remarkable price we managed to use google translate to ask the waiter to bring us a selection of dishes!! It was magnificent!!

Now with aching legs but a full stomach I am ready for sleep before the final leg of the ride tomorrow and guess what!? It ends with another big climb!!! Whoop!!

Cheers.

Al

Hot hot hot!!!

Today was the hottest day so far on the journey through Spain at 27 degrees plus!! I began riding in a village called Dorica and the first surprise of the day was the 7 mile climb!! That negotiated the rest of the ride was spent undulating across the countryside on long straight roads! It’s alway an interesting challenge riding on a road that is visible for several miles in to the distance as it can feel like you’re never going to reach the end!! Fortunately I did each time!!

It was certainly interesting and useful to get an idea of the terrain in central Spain in terms of where to ride in spring. My conclusion is that it is not flat!!! 🙂

Had a bit of a campsite nightmare as the one we were aiming for was closed as were any others in a fairly large radius!? Fortunately we’ve managed to find a nice, cheap hotel room where it will be nice to catch up on some sleep in a bed for a change. We even managed to get out and sample some of the local food which was a challenge with limited Spanish but nevertheless fun and also very tasty.

Tomorrow we move further south with the aim to stay a couple of hours north of Granada ready for the final blast down to Jon and Emma’s on Tuesday!

You will have noticed probably that I’m not cycling the whole way but rather picking parts of the route to explore and find out about. Time is the biggest factor in this and the bike is playing up a little but also I’ve found that after the interesting time in France my form has dipped a little in terms of completing the longer distances. So I’m doing what I can but not overdoing and gaining lots of good experience and knowledge ready for the spring when hopefully I will be fitter, have a support team and be able to avoid any nasty weather!! 🙂

Cheers.

Al

Up and over!!

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What a mammoth day!! I’ve cycled some hills in my time but nothing like that!! I started at around 525m and cycled to the summit at 1794m!! 18 miles of pretty relentless uphill!! Whist it was a real challenge to my ability to tough it out I found myself cycling through the most spectacular scenery which certainly helped keep my mood on the up!! I can honestly say my legs are tired tonight though!!

Coming down the other side was also a lot of fun and a lot less pedalling!! Covering the same distance in less than half the time! It was quite windy which slowed me down a bit but not enough to dampen spirits!! 🙂

We’re now camped in Huesca in northern Spain. It’s a nice site despite being next to the local football stadium where so far there has been incessant games of football!!

It’ll be another early night tonight in preparation for more riding tomorrow which I’m looking forward to although I’m hoping my legs will feel ok!!

Loving all the messages and encouragements so thank you again!!

Cheers

Al

Pyrenees!!

I’m excited this evening to have set up camp in Laruns in the Pyrenees and we’re finally experiencing some decent weather! It is warm and sunny! We drove through most of the night last night and the rain was just torrential most of the way which made the camping option last night a no no! We managed to get a bit of sleep in the car and also cover some good miles which leaves us here tonight!!

I’ve been out on the bike and cycled about quarter of the way up the climb that I’m aiming to do tomorrow! All was good in terms of riding but unfortunately my bike is causing a problem!? I had to remove the wheels to get it in the car and I’m struggling to get the front one to sit properly which is a bit disconcerting when you are riding! I’ll have another go tomorrow morning at sorting it out and hopefully all will be well!

I’m aiming to have my tracker on tomorrow so feel free to check in to see where I’m up to! Thank you for all the encouraging messages they help so much in keeping my morale up and keeping me going!!

It’s going to be an early night tonight after a long drive so that I’m all ready for the off in the morning!!

Cheers

Al

Ready for the off (again)

So tomorrow morning sees us heading off to the continent again with bike in tow!! 🙂 The plan is to drive to the Pyrenees and then cycle from there through Spain with Ben driving the car as a support vehicle! This will be a useful exercise in order to be able to iron out any other issues that arise ready for my next attempt at the full ride at the end of May. I’m looking forward to riding in the warmer Spanish weather and also taking some time at Jon and Emma’s to reflect on what’s taken place over the last couple of weeks. Obviously there’s been quite a bit of disappointment for me with the way the ride went last week but it has allowed me to begin to put measures in place to stop that happening next time!

In terms of next time I am looking at the end of May/beginning of June to take on the full ride! I have a good number of volunteers so far to drive in support and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to cover the whole ride with back up which I think will make all the difference!! I’m looking forward to having a really good shot at the ride then.

In the meantime watch out for regular blog posts about the Spanish riding over the next couple of weeks and then regular updates about preparations for the full ride and perhaps one or two other surprises!!

Thank you again to all who have been so encouraging and understanding and now I’m gonna get ‘on me bike’!!! 😉