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Cycling in Andalucia

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Offline BikerBoy

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« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2008, 09:35 AM »
Puerto de las Palomas Category 1 road bike climb in Andalucia.

My fascination with this mountain continues and for the last year I have been wondering how many times could I ride up and over it in a day from Zahara towards Grazalema. I contemplated just riding up and down the same section Zahara to the top turn round descend and back up again but this option in reality would only give my 15-20 minutes of rest between each climb, so in the end a chose a circular route from Zahara to Grazalema down to the lake and back to Zahara 39km in total but a least 45 minutes of easy riding between each climb. Thus giving my legs chance to recover and me a chance to eat and drink whilst riding.

October the 5th 2008 was the day of my challenge. At 8am, just as dawn was breaking over the Sierra de Grazalema I set off for the first lap. Clive and Sue had decided to join me in my challenge.........but on foot. I soon passed them, they had set off an hour earlier as Clive was going to walk the circuit twice. As I started to climb a hotair balloon took off lake side and the sun was rising over in the distance beyond Ronda la Vieja. I set a steady pace as I knew I had a long day ahead of me in the saddle. By 9.30am I had reached the summit for the first time, a little chilled but pleased to have the first climb done. I wondered how Clive and Sue were doing and when I'd pass them again.

9.50am. Lap 2. By this time on a Sunday morning there were a few more cyclists out and about and as I approached Zahara I started to pass a few riders. 3 kilometres into the second climb of the day and I pass Clive and Sue who had just finished second breakfast, which made me think of Frodo Baggins, although Clive is a bit tall to be a hobbit. I continued climbing and passing a few more riders on the way, trying my hardest not to race those who passed me, this was by far the easiest climb as the other riders kept me company on the way to my 2nd time at the summit.

Mid-day-ish. Claire meets me, en route, with a huge bowl of pasta, some energy drinks and bars. I have a 30 minute pit stop before setting off once again. The heat of the day started to take its toll on the climb and sapped me of energy, my pace began to drop and my right calf muscle began to tighten. I wondered where Clive and Sue were and how they were doing. Shortly after I crested the summit for the 3rd time a passed them again and Sue was doing a great impression of a Penguin as she shuffled down the road as walking on tarmac started to take its revenge. I stopped and asked them to remind me which idiot thought this challenge up before I continued on my way. At this point Clive was still considering a second lap which would mean finishing around midnight......madness. Lap 3 was by far the hardest with no other riders on the mountain it seemed twice as far as before.

Back down at the lake and Alistair, my client who was training for Ironman Australia meet me for lap 4, any thoughts of quiting were instantly quashed by his presence. So off we went along the lake chatting away and keeping my mind off how much my legs were starting to hurt. As I turn ed to start the fourth climb Alistair declined the invitation to join me and rode back along the lakeside to Montecorto (he had run 20miles that morning so I suppose he had an excuse....Ironman bah) On the climb I noticed how much more time I spent out of the saddle and how quickly my right calf was stiffening. I kept the wheels turn to the top and for the 4th time in less than 8 hours I rode over Puerto de las Palomas.  :dancing:

On the descent back to the lake I wondered if there was a 5th lap hidden within....there was definitely enough time in the day left... but the fuel tank was on empty and I knew that in just a few short days I would be riding 100miles with Alistair.

So 4 times it is until perhaps next year I'll try to beat it. :clapping:

Total distance 155km Total distanced Climbed 3750 metres Average speed 20k/ph

Clive and Sue had just finished their 1st lap as I came hurtling down the hill past their house on my 4th time round. Well done Clive & Sue :clapping:
« Last Edit: October 23, 2008, 09:40 AM by BikerBoy »
BikerBoy

Passionate about Pedalling, Bonkers about Bikes, Mad about Mountains


www.andaluciancyclingexperience.com

Offline Clive

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« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2008, 10:54 AM »
Hi Ashley, Great description of a fun if not slightly tiring day... I think finishing off in a restaurant was perhaps a little on the optimistic side as I nearly fell asleep at the table twice...

More info on the Grazalema Guide at Cycling the Puerto de las Palomas Challengel and Walking the Puerto de las Palomas Challenge
Explore the nature of Iberia at www.wildsideholidays.com

The beautiful town of Ronda, the City of Dreams?

The spectacular Caminito del Rey, El Chorro and Guadalhorce reservoirs El Camino del Rey

Offline lucy

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« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2008, 22:37 PM »
Congratulations all of you - my legs ache just imagining it.

Offline BikerBoy

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« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2009, 22:04 PM »
Its been a while since my last update from Montecorto. It did take a few days to recover from the epic Las Palomas Challenge but all is well in Andalucia.

Hurray! We have had two weeks of sunshine and I've been able to go out riding in shorts and t-shirt! :clapping:

In January it rained......a lot, which is excellent news for the countryside and for Spain, but, no so good for working in and I know some of you would hardly call riding a bike work but when its persisted rain .....I beg to differ! I rapidly lost count of the number of days I came home soak to the skin, however, we only lost two days riding to rain during the whole month. Now, I have a lot of cycling kit, in fact more cycling kit than normal clothes, but in January, I soon realised that most of it, is for the the sunnier months of the year, which makes sense as we usually have 10 of them. So in January, I had a battle to dry the many layers that I needed each day to stay warm and dry, I also realised that a lot of well known sports clothing manufacturers need to look up the term 'Waterproof' as I still managed to come home everyday, wet through, even with my 'Waterproofs' on.

Riding for 4 to 6 hours in the pouring rain, you need to have a sense of adventure and humour, being wet and cold for this amount of time has an effect on the body, for example, your hands and feet, go numb with the cold and I did notice a bit of shrinkage occuring.... my wedding ring became too loose to wear. Once back from the ride I am naturally very keen to get all my wet kit off and jump into a steaming hot shower and get into some dry warm clothes. I must admit, on more than one occassion, I caught Claire (my lovely wife) sneaking a peak (its only natural) as I jumped into the shower, however, she would then comment on how I'd ever managed to get her pregnant, it would seem that it wasn't just my hands that were suffering from shrinkage in the cold wet weather. Itis amazing how quickly the body recovers from hours of abuse, in the pouring rain, in a steaming hot shower  :biggrin:......although, the wedding ring still doesn't fit!!!

So, apart from getting wet, what else have we been up to since the Las Palomas Challenge? I've been out and about finding some great new mountain bike routes with plenty of quality technical single track and fast flowing jeep tracks. We have also had several Winter Training Camps riding on average 600 kilometres in a week with 9000 metres of climbing. We had a great Christmas and New Year, by the way Happy New Year to you all, better late than never, and we have been pedaling of little legs off for the whole of 2009, so far.

Well, the sunshine has returned, long may it last, and we are enjoying cycling in shorts and short sleeved tops. The tan lines have already returned and Claire and I are still Passionate about Pedalling, Bonkers about Bikes and Mad about Mountains! :dancing:
BikerBoy

Passionate about Pedalling, Bonkers about Bikes, Mad about Mountains


www.andaluciancyclingexperience.com