Tolox to Ronda – 55 km

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.

We woke this morning to a wonderful breakfast laid out for us on the huge wooden dinning room table and Marie-France had even packed us lunches for our trip over the mountains. Before we could leave, she insisted on taking pictures with all of us and waved us off.IMG_0688

On a hill, high above Tolox, there is a hotel. As we started climbing through town, we jokingly looked up and said, “I hope we don’t have to go up there” seriously believing that we didn’t. An hour later, we were past the hotel and looking down on it from an even higher mountain.IMG_0697 IMG_0696IMG_0699

The road through the Parque Natural Sierra de las Nieves is barely a dirt road. It is rocky and rutted, in places washed out, and climbs to the high slopes below Mount Torrecilla, the highest peak in Western Andalucía.IMG_0700IMG_0741

At points, the road became so steep and unstable that we had to push our bikes up, slipping back with every step. In many places, the road dropped away dizzyingly on one side and I was afraid to ride to close to the edge.IMG_0743IMG_0755

At around eleven, we sat in the dirt and ate our lunch, grateful for the care that Marie-France had shown us. We then continued to push and struggle with our bikes.IMG_0752IMG_0755IMG_0761IMG_0772 IMG_0766

Just as we were losing the will to go on, we hit the highest point and began a long, bumpy descent that threatened to shake us loose. 35 km and many hours after starting, we finally hit the main road and turned North towards Ronda into a gale force headwind.

We were exhausted, demoralized and hungry, so we stopped at a restaurant by the side of the road for a second lunch before facing the remainder of the ride and the winds. Luckily, it was a descent most of the way into town and the kilometres disappeared quickly.IMG_0781IMG_0779IMG_0784IMG_0785

Tonight, we are staying at an apartment in Ronda that Mari found. It is a gorgeous place with post and beam ceilings, heavy wooden doors and tasteful furnishings. It looks out over a cathedral and a plaza and is a great place to unwind after a hard day.IMG_0790IMG_0796

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

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