Granada to Priego de Córdoba – 100kms

I am posting my journals backdated to the day I wrote them, so read from bottom up if you have just arrived. Keep checking back, I have two weeks of journals to upload.

There was a soccer game last night. As we tried to sleep, each goal echoed through the streets with cheers and “Gooooaaaaal!!!” We got up early this morning to beat the traffic out of the city. We put the lights on our bikes and started threading our way North and out of the city. The roads were quiet this early in the morning, but at one point, an old man pulled up beside me on his scooter and started giving me hell for being on the road. This is the first anyone has treated us with anything but extreme respect on the roads.

We stopped for breakfast in Albelote. We decided that the planned route to the North didn’t look very interesting, so we worked out our route to head West through the valley, then cut North over the mountains towards Priego de Córdoba. We headed through flat fields as workers picked asparagus in the cool morning air, leaving them in bundles behind them and across the fields.

As soon as we turned North, the road got steep and we climbed into the small town Illora where we stopped to stock up on food and water for the day. The climb out of town was steep, long, hot and slow, passing through groves of olives and almonds. Eventually, we crossed over the Sierra de Madrid and flew down the other side.IMG_0379IMG_0380

Part way down, we came across an older couple on rented touring bikes stopped to rest. They are from Calgary and are doing a supported tour out of Granada. They ride about 50km every other day and their bags are transported to each location for them.

So far on this trip, we have seen countless other bikers, mainly Spanish roadies working out on the mountain roads, but also a number of mountain bikers. I think that the large number of bikers and the respect for the sport is a lot of the reason cars and trucks treat us so well on the roads.

We flew down into Montefrio, a crazy town on the side of a hill with steep, narrow streets overlooked by a castle on the top of a cliff. We stopped in the square in front of the church and spread out our lunch on a wall overlooking the town.IMG_0388IMG_0390

As we ate, seniors idled through the square, stopping to try to talk with us before realizing we hadn’t a clue what they were saying. Cars passed us and made a hard left down a steep street. As they turned, one of their rear tires lifted off the ground and we cheered as they made the death defying descent.IMG_0391IMG_0392IMG_0394IMG_0398IMG_0404IMG_0405

From here, we plotted the shortest route and the GPS led us North through rolling olive plantations. We doubted the GPS when it told us to turn West again. The indicated road didn’t go through on my map and Mari’s map wasn’t clear, so we continued North searching for a road that was on both of our maps, but not on the GPS.IMG_0414IMG_0419

It turned out that the GPS was right and the road didn’t exist, so we carried on to the North searching for a third road to the West. Once again, it was on our maps, but the GPS said it didn’t go through. Amazingly, it turned out to be 10km of fast downhill that cut 15kms off our route! The road was impassable to cars because of recent rockslides, but we managed to get by the repairs and had the road to ourselves.IMG_0421

From here, we made our way into Almedinilla, another white town set into the side of a steep hill. As we climbed into town, an old man blasted a whistle to cheer us on. Several of us were desperate for ice cream and cold drinks, so he pointed us down a steep street which we flew down with him chasing us and blasting his whistle.

As we entered the square, a group of about 100 school kids stopped what they were doing, turned and started cheering us in. It was the best reception we have ever had!

After cooling down, resting and refuelling, we completed the last 9km to Priego de Córdoba. As we rounded the last hill on the road, we looked up to the city perched at the top of a cliff high above us. We turned off and began the steep climb up into town. The hill was so steep that none of us could make it with the heavy bikes, so we pushed and struggled our way to the top.IMG_0425

Near the top, we started riding again, and as we passed people, they cheered us on. We rode along the cliffs edge into town and to our hotel. We had dinner in one of the plazas as the sun set, locals sat and talked and kids played in the fresh air.IMG_0429IMG_0436

Download GPX file for the day. [maptype=G_MAP_TYPE]

View Jen & Rich’s post for today.

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