How does the a vuelta end its first trimester?

Stage 10.

By getting you to cycle back south inland via Granada in sweltering heat then up two lethal mountains!

The start was on the opposite side of a city called Jáen which meant a drive through it in morning traffic which is not fun. Neither is the fact that the start was on the opposite side of a miuti junction. The cyclist got frustrated at my Garmin Sat’ Nav’ for not being clear but he won’t have the voice commands on which make it so much easier. Anyway after the Garmin broke yesterday with a black screen if death, I am just thankful that it came back to life after being hooked up to the computer. I was struggling yesterday in the mountains as I had no Garmin and My Co-pilot was not programmed to the route exactly.

So today, each time I pulled over and turned the engine off to stop the fan from coming on, I had to remember to not lat the sat nav turn itself off or it may not turn on again.

Navigating through the town again I didn’t have the chance to stop to take pictures. In fact I’m surprised how many people, mainly men, who hang out in bars on the street.

Unfortunately, today’s route took us through the centre of Granada. The sat navs weren’t as fast deciding which way, as the traffic was travelling. The Cyclist took the bull by the horns and just headed in on the dual carriage super highway wiv me following. It was super hot in the city and practically every other street was closed for road works. We picked our way through street by street as The Cyclist had an idea if the direction, until eventually we were on a road the was upward and out of the city. I was relieved and The Cyclist waved for me to pull over. He needed a cold drink from the fridge and an energy gel after the heat and stress of the city because he knew what was to come next.

When we pulled off I had to go ahead a bit because of the cars behind. It was quite a steep hill that snaked about. Just after a tight left bend I pulled onto the edge of someone’s drive and jumped out to look for the cyclist as I was sure I should’ve turned right before the bend. Sure enough I just caught a glimpse of the cyclist going up an even steeper hill where I missed the turn.

The Garmin had re calculated and I could see that if I carried on this main road it went across the end of the other and back on route. I expected to see the cyclist at the junction or just past it but I didn’t. It was down hill and he does motor so I carried on, took the tiny left into a village across a stream where I stopped and waited. After about what felt like 10mins I took off up the mountain as I thought he must have got past this point and I had not yet caught him. I went up the mountain as quick as I could but it wasn’t long before I knew that there was no way he could have climbed this steep and got this far. I pulled up on a hairpin and looked back down the road. No sign so I did one of my famous u turns on a sixpence and zoomed back down. I hadn’t quite got to the village when I saw The Cyclist out of his saddle and pulling on the pedals to get up the climb. Another U turn then and normal service was resumed.

At the top of the first mountain we entered Sierra Nevada national park. I’m not sure who stole the name- Spanish or USA but regardless this was the Spanish one. On the way up I was watching a storm brewing down the mountain over Granada and I could see that rain falling.
You can see it in the photos too. We had also passed a rock cave house with just a little door, window and a rocky chimney. I wanted to do my Lloyd Grosman voice again – and who lives in a place like this. Panel it’s over to you……

At the top, The Cyclist set off down the other side quickly saying he wanted to avoid the storm but that the sat nav had no navigation for this part as the roads weren’t on the software. I jumped in the car and he was right. He was no where to be seen and I had no idea where he had gone. I sped down the road honking long on the horn hoping he would hear my distress. After about a mile I caught him and followed where he was going. I was looking at my map and the map on co pilot together with the roads given in the Vuelta details one the kindle. When we came to a junction we went the way that went down not up as the start of the next climb.

We went through a tiny town about the size of a football pitch and nobody appeared to be in work, especially men,they were all sat outside bars. The streets were just about wide enough to get the car through and just outside on a steep bank the Cyclist stopped. He got off the bike and was swaying all over the place saying he was having an out of body experience. I held him up and ran back to the car to get him a bottle of energy drink, a 100mg caffeine shot gel and a jelly for sweetness after it as he says they are vile. It was the scorching heat that was taking its toll he said. I wasn’t sure if it was just that or lack of eating or drinking enough today. Shortly after he took off again and as the first bit out of the town was steep down before the climb, he left me for dead, especially as I was stopping to take photos.

The road was sheer drop and very narrow. There was a tunnel in the rock and then a fork in the road. Which one which one. I chose the wrong one, but I knew almost immediately so I turned around. But the other was didn’t even look like a road, however narrow. Oh but it was. It was in parts almost vertically steep and with hairpins. The corners were done in cement where they had put rough ridges in the track to help with grip to get up. Phenomenal. The Meriva stained but did it. No sign of the Cyclist. Was he ok? I came to two blokes and a tiny truck in the road who were clearing the track in front from its over grown foliage and brambles that were across the road. They had left piles of greenery in the road. The truck guy reversed up and into the side so I could squeeze by while I jumped out of the car and approached the other guy. I asked if they had seen a bicycle. Well actually two words, segnore, bicycle and pedaling motioning with my hands. “Si” came the reply. That was good enough for me though how the hell he got through the greenery I have no idea. I expected to catch him with two punctures a few meters up. But still no sign. When I did catch him he was literally flying up the mountain. Two energy tabs, swigs of sainsbury energy drink, a double caffeine shot and jelly must have worked wonders as you wouldn’t have thought it was 18% at all. I over took him to take a picture and as the Meriva’s fan was going full pelt he said just to get to the top to stop,it over heating.

The cyclist made it in good time but the heavens were opening and the temp had really dropped so he was getting cold. Consequently there was no time for photos just get the bike on, get changed while I made his protein drink and got his food out ready including more drinks then off we go. A long old journey from Granada to inland of Barcelona awaits up tomorrow.

Soundbites:
Modern girl – Sheena Easton
Moonlighting – Leo Sayer
Me and you and a dog named Boo – Lobo
Meet me on the corner – Lindisfarne
Metal Guru – T. rex
Milk and Alcohol – Dr Feelgood
Mirror in the bathroom – The Beat

3 Responses

  1. Beginning to wonder if one of you is carrying a gold ring on a chain around your neck – sounds like a Nazgul wouldn’t be out of place!!

    Song – One Way or Another – Blondie

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