Days 24-26

1st Leg 08:45h

Aznalcazar – Coria del Rio 14 miles in 57 minutes

2nd Leg Coria del Rio – Lebrija 36 miles in 2 hours 33 minutes

3rd Leg Lebrica – Jerez de la Frontera 22 miles 1 hour 30 minutes

Total for the day – 72 miles averaging 14mph.

This ride was incredible. The last fourteen miles was all off-road. The first fourteen was good tarmac. The in between was a good mix of both terrains. I didn’t get bored as sometimes I can, I was focused. The only thing I was interested in was ‘my time’ between the start and finish. The finish was supposed to be Lebrija but I had my reasons for going further. More later.

At Corio del Rio I had to cross river by ferry. It allowed me to have a fifteen minute break. Had I opted for the alternative route, which was skirting Seville, I would have cycled another seven miles. The images below show the river, other cyclists waiting cross and fresh fish being sold.

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I stopped at the first Hostel I came to in Lebrija. The guy wasn’t I’d call pleasant. He told me I had to wait to go inside whilst the step dried and to come back in thirty minutes. I went to the bar next door and had coffee. Whilst ‘kicking back’ he came to find me. Now he wanted me there and then. I was busy I told him and said I would be back at 14:30h. ‘NO’ he demanded, I had to be there at 14:00. I wasn’t having this, I said OK, knowing full well I wasn’t going to stop at his hostel. I was going to do more cycling, it was only another twenty miles to Jerez de la Frontera. I’d got some food on me from last night, sardines and Greek yoghurt. It was the perfect balance to refuel and repair. The protein from the fish to repair my muscles and the simple sugars to fuel my empty muscles of oxygen. Bang on, I was sorted!

i managed the ride comfortable. Preparation is key to a long ride. Food and fuel, that’s what it takes.

i arrived at Jerez and checked into a hotel. This city is mega bucks to stay at. Thirty euros they wanted for one night. After some argy bargying I managed to get it for twenty five. It was early but I never left my room, other than to go downstairs for something to eat.

Jerez de la Fontera – Chiclana – Vejer / 48 miles

Just outside of Jerez were these arches. Not idea the significance of them but as I had to stop and take of my jacket I thpught, I may as well shoot. I turned left just passed them. Off road again.

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Look at this for fun. Miles upon miles of maintaining a decent speed so the the thrill doesn’t wain.

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Sunday and it’s no day off for the farmer. The goats need attention.

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I needed to stop at this point, there’d been some big hills to climb and I was feeling it. It seemed a good opportunity to remember the yellow flowers.

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The last six miles to Vejer were ridiculous. My speed was down to 4mph, the winding hill just didn’t want to stop and my thighs didn’t want to stop banging. The last two miles were a killer, I climbed 606ft and that was just to the cente of the town. I had to go to the highest point to access the hostel. Eventually I checked in. It was time for a bath, a bath that isn’t much bigger than sink. I was hungry, I took my packet of museli in with me and ate it raw.

I had to go out for a stroll, my legs felt like they could have been those of a ninety year old. I needed some blood in the muscles and my knee had swollen badly. This was nothing new but it’s now fragile and the full range of movement is heavily restricted to just a short bend. I needed to eat before anything else. The Arabian place I wanted to try was closed. Most places were closed, either because it was Sunday night or winter.

imageI was in need of a bit of a lift. It was chicken kebab that the I thought would do the trick, thing was, it was tasteless.

imageThe owner was Pakistani and what a small world we live in. No, I’m not Pakistani but he lived in a sleepy Spanish village, next to the sleepy Spanish village from where I live. Uncanny! The night was going to end but not before one last purchase. I took some sugary sweets back to bed with me. I put the bedside table on the bed with my luggage on top of it. That’s where my leg was going to be, hopefully repairing. I’m hopefully of getting to Tarifa tomorrow. It’s thirty miles away and if I’m being honest with myself, it’s looking doubtful. I’ll reasses in the morning. If I can make it, it’s as good as place as any to have a day off. It’s lush! I’ve heard Gavin and Stacey are in town!

Vejer – Tarifa

The room was freezing, it woke me at 07:00h. My tendons were stiff and the range of movement in my knee was no better, but least the swelling had reduced. I’d got thirty miles ahead of me for Tarifa, I was undecided as to what to do? I didn’t want to stay in Vejer, nice place but boring. I sat on the bike in my room and pedalled backwards. I was surprised at the lack of pain, but if I was to ride, I had to be careful.

I decided to ride, not until a couple of hours had passed. I could wait for the mornings dose of Ibuprofen to kick-in. Back down the huge steep hill I coasted, with my brakes on at 32mph, that’s how steep it is. It was cold and windy and slightly overcast. I hadn’t seen this weather since I was back in the UK. The ride wasn’t going to be easy, so I decided to hitch a ride with every passing van. Don’t knock the white van man, it was the second van to stop.

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He drove me eighteen miles down the road until he turned off. Now id got twelve miles to go, I cycled four of them before getting another ride to the centre of Tarifa.

These folk were quite hippyish. Smiling and singling and the lady kept kissing the driver whilst he was driving. I kept quiet and watched. We’d passed through the centre of Tarifa and they hadn’t stopped. I piped up, ‘can I get out here please?’, the lady tuned around quickly and they started to laugh. They’d forgotten I was in the back. On reflection I think they were high?

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Midday and I was in a hostel. My own room for 20e, I haggled him down from 25e. Now I could rest my knee some more. The room was more than a room. I had to climb to sets of steep stairs to get to the roof, and there it was, my room all on its own. A beamed ceiling with cream walls a large alcove above the bed. A huge wooden casement arched window opposite the bed. 

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 The shower was great too, powerful and hot. There was a washing line outside my front door, it meant I could was a couple of things in the shower, and by ‘golly-gosh’ they needed it! There was even tea and coffee making facilities in the room. Even two star hotels don’t offer that!

After around five hours of lying down I went for a stroll. It was food time. It’s quite hip Tarifa, it makes me think how Newquay in Cornwall should be. Loads of sport shops selling water sports equipment and those types of shops that sell funny hats, African type carvings, VW camper vans made out of pottery, those long brown things that once lit make an awful smell. You know the type.

it was dark and I was heading home. As usual I hadn’t taken notice of where I was walking. I wasn’t lost but it was a bit of a bummer trying to find my posh room at the hostel. Suddenly, boooooong, booooong, booooong, this noise happened seven times. And guess what, you guessed right! It was the sound of the church bells and my hostel was next to the church. Within minutes I’d heard my way back to my home for the evening. I was so pleased for the church bells. That was until I heard them every hour until I would attempt to go to sleep.

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