So its day 2 of my MTB Fuerte-adventure but I woke with a problem. The apartment has a back door with a security gate across it. I opened said gate fine last night but trying to close it, the lock seized and I pulled a muscle in my neck somehow. Bloody kills. Can’t tilt my head, can’t turn my head very well. I woke up in the night to turn over and I was woken with the sharp jab of pain like someone poked me in the neck. My shoulders were a bit stiff anyway because of the unusual position on the bike and the battering I got on the gravel roads yesterday. So today was going to be fun.
The plan was simple. Coast (gravel) road to El Cotillo. Nice and flat. Take some pics maybe. Out to the lighthouse. Offroad to cut out the town of El Cotillo to Lajares. Then the climb to the Caldera Hondo volcano and then back home on the gravel road I started on yesterday. Its a bit further so I estimated upto a couple of hours.
I decided to go earlier today to try and keep the heat down a bit. Although the official temps here are low 20’s, in the sun it feels like high 20’s.
The start of the coast road is literally just around the corner from me. Half a mile. The first part to Majanicho is the reverse of what I finshed on yesterday. I hooked a right off the ferry port road and straight onto the gravel. My first thought was my neck giving me grief straight away but today I did feel different. As I got the first few km’s under my belt I noticed I was a more relaxed on the bike today and able to pick my lines better. This helped and although looking over my shoulder, if I heard a car approaching, was difficult, my neck was holding up and the earlier jabs of pain had eased. The wind had picked up today. As I rode west along the coast, I could feel the tailwind which, from previous experience cycling here, can be a nightmare when you turn into it. It is unrelenting.
I rode the hardest 8 miles of my life home on this Island 2 years ago. I’d cycled south through the dunes a fair distance, crossed into the middle of the island and then turned back into what I can only describe as like climbing the steepest hill you have ever climbed, but for 8 miles. For those 8 miles, half is a significant downhill on which I was churning my first gear into a headwind so hard if I stopped I would have gone backwards. That experience is etched in my memory and I don’t complain now if I have to ride home into a 20ph headwind. Its a piece of piss compared to that day. Those were 8 miles that smashed me to bits.
I stopped for a couple of photos and to just take in the view. The sea is so blue here and the sound of the waves crashing on the beaches is just a sound you could listen to forever.
I carried on and as you round the coast the lighthouse comes into view. Looked miles away though so I just plugged on picking my lines through the loose rocks and sand.
About an hour into my ride, which was good graft on the bike, I reached the lighthouse. Tarmac for a bit now which was welcome as it gave my arms a rest.
It was only a short bit of tarmac. I decided to cut out El Cotillo. I’d found a gravel track which cut the corner and the town off and I’d been for a wander around it yesterday afternoon anyway
So I popped back up on the main road to El Cotillo by a small viallage called El Roques. Here starts the segregated cycleway which runs parallel to the main road so I jumped on here and began to grind away up the gentle slope away from the coast into the headwind I was expecting. To be honest though it wasn’t too bad. Could have been worse. More a strong breeze and the legs were holding up great and neck was fine too.
Cycle path done, just a quiet back lane into Lajares now before the ascent of the Volcano.
Out of Lajares and briefly on the Majanicho road again before you bear right offroad and begin the ascent of the Caldera Hondo volcano.
Its pretty steady to start with. It has a kind of crazy paving centre pathway and gravel either sides which is fine to ride on. I passed some hikers who always look at you weird when your doing a steep climb. It wasn’t long before the climb ramps up pretty steeply and I had to engage the inner ring for the first time. An English family cheered me on as I hit the last steep section. Over the top and the gravel goes and you are just left with a very bumpy man made path made from volcanic rock. Very uneven. I can’t imagine its nice to walk on yet alone cycle on. At the top I found a few e-bikes randomly dumped and realised to get to the rim of the crater you have to crawl up the last 50 metres to a viewing deck which I didn’t bother with. Time was getting on now so I had to carry on. Luckily the crap path was only a couple of hundred metres more before more gravel home.
It was a great view back to Corralejo from here. Descent gravel roads back now. This was the way I had ridden out yesterday. A couple of short sharp climbs to deal with but I passed a few walkers and enjoyed the relatively easier riding despite the headwind.
As I popped out on to tarmac for the final time. I made the call to Sally to see where she was in town so I could meet her and I was done. Neck ok. Legs tired. Hot, sweaty and in need of a cold drink.
Thanks for reading again people