TransIberica 2019 Ride for Guy part 1


Go to Spain and cycle in September, you will not regret it, it’s rather good.

Ride to ferry despite being in Portsmouth meaning a 300 mile trip to start the adventure
A brief ride from the ferry port in Santander to campsite and North good coastal views
Beautiful walk from the campsite at sunset
Cycle picnics, a photo theme, this one on the North coast
Bay near Orinon and a cool campsite
Camping Arenillas with the Pilgrim walkers
Nice area to swim, eat and drink on the cliffs with the sunset
Cycletrack to Bilbao, fantastic. This is not a road
No junctions, flying over motorways and all roads into the city, just wow
Must be the Gugenhiem, where’s the dog
The Dawg, easy to miss hey
How many Km of climbing, your having a laugh. Hippy Carlos and racers
Pintxos and beer with the Vuelta Pre race start chill out
After a very wet ride out of Bilbao and a few hours kip it was great to see the sunrise over San Sebastian
And the French border soon after
From Bayonne I followed L’Adour river a steady ride in the growing heat. A picnic in the shade while I watched a French driver eat a pizza then swill it down with several vodka redbull’s.
A steady climb to Arette at the foot of the Pyrennes. With thunderclouds looming and 200 miles in the legs I took a raincheck and hit a campsite.
Starting off at 5am this was a slow dark climb to the Col de la Pierre Saint Martin. Summit at dawn the plan worked
Wonderful rocky, barren cliffs, a deserted village and shrinking huge lake, there has not been a lot of water approaching Zangoza
Huge open vistas, I had expected more of this through central Spain but it was far from open and dull to travel through.
No surprise it was steaming hot, going in search of drink all the sensible Spaniards were under shelter drinking. Mad men were cycling, and drinking beer.
No seats round the cooling fountain, great to see almost the whole village out relaxing on a Sunday afternoon. Community life.
Keeping the climbing low meant some evening riverside gravel as the sunset. Suddenly my arms on fire, I think uh oh, bad sunburn for the day: No it was invisible winged biting bastard things and i could not get skin covered up quick enough.
The worst reaction to bites ever and even worst they were biting through my shorts and I realised to late that the only protection was to wear my canvas shorts over the top.
The next day past Zaragoza its full on empty Aragon, the least populated area in Europe. A tailwind to Teruel helped
The hills are returning approaching Checkpoint 2 at the summit of Javalambre
With over 20 miles of climbing this is a huge rocky area and being out of the main season, it’s deserted and shut
I could not pass up this torrent of ice cold water. It would have been a great wild camp, as was illustrated by a couple of ladies setting up camp. I should have joined them.
Boy that was such a cool a wash
Where the hell is the summit, back onto the gravel climb high up, sunset is approaching
Summit at sunset at CP2. Met by Carlos a useful cameraman as me and Taz celebrate with a coke. It all went a bit Pete Tong after this.
Heading over on rough gravel at 2000 metres in the dark the cloud descended and I crashed. I was trying to find the observatory and the road down. This was getting nuts, I headed down a super narly descent until I found wooded cover and decided to be sensible for once and made camp. When a stove and room to stock food pays off.
The descending off-road carried on for ever. I was lost and loving it, my head cleared all thoughts of racing left. I must have done 30 miles off road. From here on this was a tour. Brilliant. Today was mainly about dunking my head under cold fountains and downing 2.5 litre bottles of Ice cold lemon Fanta
After a nights sleep in Xativa it was a 5am start. now its really fucked up here as it dosen’t get dark until 8am. This truckstop was a great relief to a hungry already overheating Cyclist at 6am.
They had built a new motorway, my route was gone. The road had gone so it was a great adventure just heading in the general direction, nothing grows here it was no big deal.
Another legendary picnic spot. Instagram explodes as I introduce the world to my power breakfast, something thats’ always available to pour on your meusli. Open your mind people. 😉
Rapha core cargo bib shorts have gone to shit. This is not some spilled mess, this is some rubberised like stuff, I’m guessing a coating of some sort. It makes me look like a complete tramp even though they are clean. A shame because they are so comfortable and the pockets are ace.
Dancing squirrels performed while I ate, this lasted for about 5 minutes, boy those critters are agile, and do sideways, crab like, brilliantly
Cruising around Mercia, even if it was cruel to be passing the Sierra Espuna. I had a date with the Med on a big days riding.
Riding through Spain on the quiet roads is like a great tour through natures greengrocer isles. plenty of roadside produce to sample; Apples,Oranges, Grapes, Kiwi’s, Limes, Almonds and finally what I was waiting for Pomegranates, love em.
My first real checkpoint, known affectionately as Dave’s bar by my friends the Gorilla riders. Many a pint and breakfast was spent here with our friend Guy at Playa Vera, he is sorely missed. The breakfast followed as I was reminded what was important in life, and it wasn’t chasing dots around a country.
An easy reflective day. Mojacar beach is one of the places in Spain re-visited on this trip. The stretch of the Med from Garrucha to Carboneras is great for a winter cycling trip.
The Gorilla view – great memories of sharing this view with friends, and its such a great descent for a beachfront ice cream prize.
Carbonares beach before hitting the desert of the Cabo de Gata area, stocking up on water. This is baking hot in mid September, mid summer would be madness.
Leaving San Jose the expected off road of the national park appeared. It was quite an initial shock to be sharing a huge dirt road with cars and buses weaving around trying to miss the ruts, not the wilderness i had imagined.
Good news after a few miles, they can only go so far, then it’s beautiful cycling isolation. Oh and today some bitching side winds when rounding the summits.
Gravel climbs to great views at the headlands, looking back on the coast just passed. There are a few beachside places to hunker down for the night but it’s to early for me.
Living up to the promise Cabo de Gata checkpoint- kin windy I’m hanging onto the bike here, some great riding to come still.
Proper sand hovering on long stretches to Alicante
A green lake on an estuary that didn’t quite meet the sea. Hit Alicante or have a beach bivy, no contest, a lovely night watching the sun set.

The TransIberica Race is now just a motivation to tour the Iberian Peninsula, the big ride continues in part 2

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