"Did I make a wrong turn? How did I end up in Virginia, U.S.?"
After yesterday's ascent on El Teide today was all about riding a nice easy loop around Playa de Las Americas. The plan was to go to Playa de Las Americas and then take the small roads towards Vilaflor. This a small village, mostly known for it's Bordega vignes.
I put the route into my Garmin and it recons it's about a 65 kilometer loop. That's exactly what I needed. After my morning coffee, breakfast and a Facetime call with my lady at home, I went on my way. 12 kilometers into the ride I reached Los Cristianos, make a left turn and end up on one of the toughest climbs I've ever done. The gradient didn't go below double figures. In just a few kilometers I reach 400 meters altitude and then my Garmin kindly asked me to make a right turn at the end of a road. There was no right turn, except a very narrow off road trial. Not today. A quick check on the map, and a talk to locals, it turns out the road was there 10 years ago, but isn't anymore. The only way, was to go all the way down to Los Cristianos and to go back up again on the next road. Luckily the ascent was very steep, so the descent took only minutes. Reaching sea level I made another turn onto the main road towards Vilaflor.
The first 4 kilometers were on a dual carriageway. An easy 6% gradient made the going very easy. And the tailwind helped as well.
After 4.5 kilometers the road turns into a single carriageway and at one point I thought I made a wrong turn and ended up in Virginia in the U.S. What a beautiful road. I thouht to myself: "This must be the best road I've ever cycled on. Including the Alps." The road was that good.
"Mclaren P1 sports cars."
Loads of switchbacks with every time a more beautiful view. Around 1100 meters altitude I emerge above the clouds and immediately am welcomed by the scorching sun. The warmth is very nice, as the clouds were quite cold to ride in. Looking down the road I've ridden so far I can see a few Mclaren P1's coming up the climb. It's funny, because not many are sold in Spain, but today I saw at 6 of them in a variety of colors. I love the design of that car but why do people choose orange or yellow for their million euro sports car? That thing is so loud, people will have no trouble seeing of hearing you. Something Jeremy Clarkson once said came to mind: "You can have so much fun on this road, followed by such an enormous accident."
"Ola, como estas? Esta, ehm, do you know which way is El Medano?
Around the 1300 meters altitude you reached the Bordega vignes. I don't know anything about wine, so no comment. Vilaflor is only 1,5 kilometers away and unfortunately the road turns a bit "Borat country". Terrible cracked asphalt and bad patches. Almost Belgium patches.
Reaching Vilaflor means stopping for a coke and have something to eat.
Whilst sitting in the sun, and still thinking about the stupid color on those Mclaren's, two cyclist stop next to me and started talking to me in something that was supposed to be Spanish. I get this a lot. People assume i'm a local. One of them starts looking at my bike and spots the Dutch flag with my name on there. And they turn out to be Belgians. Relieved, of not having to talk Spanish to me they start talking about their adventures on this Island. They came here 8 years ago and loved it ever since.
After talking about the spring classics and the giro, we start our descent together towards El Medano. Just a few kilometers into the descent I have to conceive that this might be the best road I've ever driven on. How's that possible, twice in one day? It's all about your current set of mind I believe. Being happy, and doing what you love, makes you experience things in a different way.
I couldn't just do the descent of this beautiful road. I had to feel what it was like ascending this amazing ribbon of tarmac. So, at 400 meters altitude I said goodbye to my Belgian friends, turned around and started my ascent back up to 1450 meters altitude. I'm so glad I did. What a view, what a road. It's not just that, also the quietness of the road. Less cars, equals more relaxed climbing. Each turn was like a corner from the best climbs in the world.
Reaching Vilaflor for the second time today I made my way descending back towards Los Cristianos. Descending these beautiful roads is also great fun. 80 kilometers an hour on smooth asphalt and sitting that low to the ground. I just love speed.
In Los Cristianos, being a bit drunk on oxygen, I thought it was a good idea to sprint with a scooter. As i'm writing this blog to you all, I still regret that decision. But let's say, it was part of training.
Thank you for reading my story, and I'll write to you tomorrow. Feel free to leave a comment.