Spain - Day 12 : Highway Chile
I slept well despite the noise that the people next to us had made according to Bram. It would take about two days to cycle from here to the base of the Pico Veleta. That was the last real hurdle on our route. From there, we would descend and cycle back towards France over a relatively flat road. At least, that's what we told ourselves. Then we just needed to cross the Pyrenees and get on the bus. The goal of today was, just like on nearly every other day, to cycle as far as possible.
We needed to restrain ourselves during the first few hours. My legs felt like I could race for another week. We climbed over the main road next to the coast. On top of the hills were many windmills. Those reconfirmed our bad luck, the wind had turned. The entire way south, we had had a strong headwind; now we were going north it was blowing in the other direction.
Near a viewpoint
All the climbing did bring us two new named climbs for our palmares, although they probably were the easiest yet.
Alto de El Cabrito.
Puerto de El Bujeo.
From Algercias ran a kind of highway along the coast towards the east. Our map showed a small white road parallel to it. It was easy to follow, we only needed to take the 'route de servicio'. After doing that, we got food at a supermarket. There were surprisingly expensive cars in its parking lot. It also was a huge and luxurious store. At the checkout, we were told to weigh our oranges. I had already checked, but the only scales available were behind some barrier. It turned out you had to hand your fruit over to someone to get it weighed and then pay for it at the checkout. That was really cumbersome. After paying we ate in front of the supermarket. Some more expensive cars and the supermarket's private security drove by.
We continued and ended up on the entree to a highway that wasn't good. Instead, we took another road, which somehow was also the exit of a golf course. Suddenly we were in a super expensive neighborhood. The grass was vibrantly green everywhere, and the houses looked like Hollywood. There was a harbor with expensive yachts. If you had too much money, you could buy a house directly adjacent to the sea so that you could walk right up to your boat. We came to a barrier. Apparently, the entrance to the neighborhood was secured, but we had come in through some back entrance. I think the security guard could tell we didn't belong there.
After leaving the area, we came on a large road that wasn't nice to cycle over. We weren't 100% sure if we were allowed on it, but there were no signs saying we couldn't. The road looked a lot like a highway, except its driveways and exits were shorter. Suddenly it turned even more into a highway so we took the next exit. That was great, but there was no way to get across a large river we needed to cross except over the huge road. The nearest other bridge was 50 km away. Traffic signs indicated we were allowed to cycle there, but it wasn't safe or fun. After racing for a long while (you automatically start cycling fast when cars are racing by) we reached another large city.
We sat down on a wall to eat and revive a bit. There was a traffic jam and all the people were waving and honking at us. After Estepona, we came to another wealthy neighborhood. This time the security guard didn't let us in. Fortunately, we found a way around it. However, this involved returning to the huge road. This was definitely the least enjoyable part of the entire vacation. I would have rather climbed six mountains than cycle over that road for 30 kilometers. All we could do was race as fast as possible and be careful near the exits. I wanted to get off as quickly as possible.
The large road was our only possible way to follow the coast. There was another road a little bit farther inland, but that one was even bigger. Now and then, the emergency lane we were cycling on had deep holes in it. One was concealed by the shade. I noticed it only a meter beforehand. Just in time I managed to cycle around it. Half a meter further lay a huge rock. Bram saw the hole too late, so they drove in at full speed. Because of that, he also couldn't avoid the rock. Fortunately, he didn't fall, and his bike was still in one piece.
On the other side of the highway was a supermarket we could reach via a bridge. We were just as happy to be off the highway as we were to get food. We bought a six-pack of ice creams, two rice desserts each, and a bunch of bread and fruit. Half an hour later, we needed to get back on the big road, it took another hour before we really got rid of it. There we passed through Marbella, from which we needed to go to Malaga. To get there, we needed to cycle three kilometers over a highway, this time a real one. There simply wasn't another way to get there. Fortunately, we were not arrested.
View over Torremolinos
In Torremolinos, we went in search of food. Despite the many campsites along the road, the next one was still far away. Bram wanted to camp in the wild, but I rather wanted to stay at a campsite because we would definitely not find one the next few days. After dinner, we still needed to cross Malaga. The entire day we had been cycling through big cities along the coast, during which the GPS had been handy. The only disadvantage was that the route I had planned didn't take one-way streets into consideration, so we needed to backtrack a few times. Bram had heard from someone that there was a massive mosque in Malaga that he really wanted to see. Every time we saw an old wall, Bram wanted to check if it was the mosque. We didn't find it, and eventually Bram said it might also have been in Granada.
It was 8:30, and the campsite was still 20 km away. That last section was a flat road, but not a highway. We cycled pretty fast. Around 9:30, we arrived at the campsite. The owners were very proud of their green grass. The lady at the desk told us at least five times that we could pitch our tent on their 'green grass'. Afterward, we went to shower and charge our phones. I had devised an excellent system to prevent people from stealing them. By putting my phone in one of the socks I had been wearing for multiple days, I was sure it was safe for the night. Bram said a man in the bathrooms had stopped to stare at it.
I needed to wait for a long time to get a free stall. After removing all my clothes, I discovered the shower only gave cold water. I put my clothes on and moved to an adjacent one. As usual, I washed my cycling shorts and shirt underneath the shower. When I was finished, I realized I had left my towel in the other stall. I put all my wet clothes on and retrieved it. By then, I realized I had left my socks in the second stall, which was occupied by now. The person there handed them over to me. He was brave to touch them.
Today I didn't have any sore knees or tendons, we were way too busy trying not to get hit by a car. After showering we went straight to bed.
The route of day 12.
Distance cycled : 207.00 km.