4445km so far.
What a crazy day. Partly due to my navigation skills, partly due to the lack of roads with any thought for cyclists, and partly due to huge hills, what looked like an easy day became a sale at a rowing store ( An Oar Deal).
I left in the dark at 6.30am. The sun began to rise, and so did the hills. I followed the N340 which looked like it ran parallel with the autopista and according to the iPhone map, I could follow for a long time. The whole journey was 156km according to the iPhone map (I was using the “walk” route, because there is no cycle option). But I reached a point where the road shown on the iPhone simply stopped. It didn’t exist and I had to rethink. I saw a way to get to a town and then get back to the N340 road. Of course it was really hilly.
I went through a town called Antas and found the A332 which looked like it would take me back to my original route. But after heading downhill for a while, I stopped to check the map an found I was heading back to the coast, towards Aguilas. I was confused. I had not seen a turning or any signs.
So I cycled into Aguilas, had a coke at the beach and replotted my route to Murcia.
I then came to a huge row of hills and there was no other option but to start climbing. Initially it had looked impossible. It was like Susan Boyle …. not as bad as it looks…. But still, it was very high. I was covered in sweat as I just kept going up and up. And I realized how slow I had been, as it was after 3pm when I reached the top. I had hoped to be in a pool at the hotel in Murcia by then but I still had 90km to go!
The descent was fast, but narrow, and I applied my brakes a lot. So I didn’t save much time there either. And I could see more hills ahead.
The most direct route looked hilly, while my garmin GPS added an extra 10km and seemed to curve around. I decided to follow the GPS as Sometimes the longer route is the easier one. And this turned out to be true. I climbed for a while and then came to a tunnel. On the other side it was downhill. I had passed the second row of mountains and was relieved.
After Totana, I was back on the N340a and then I met an old guy called Manolo, who told me it was all flat from here. I sat behind his wheel and he cranked the speed up to about 35kph. I held on and pumped the legs. It was great to be going fast again.
I reached Murcia around 9pm, and the hotel was amazing. It was also great to be back with Paola. It was about 9.30 and it was dark but I headed for the pool….so nice after all that pain I had put myself through.
Now for 4 days off in Alicante…. 🙂