Fuerteventura: the dramatic loop!
The most exciting circular ride for a cyclist was within a day´s ride from Caleta. The distance was only 80kms(50 miles), but what really counts is the dramatic change of elevation (several times) and the direction of the wind (forecast today to reach gusts of 70kms per hour).
Today´s route took me into the depths of the hinterland, with looming mountains and cloud formations coming from the west (which means “rain-bearing”). I met people who had been caught in a deluge, but I escaped with only a sprinkling (the god of the mountains was on my side!). I passed through villages with evocative names like Valles de Ortega, Tuineje, Agua de Bueyes, Pajara, and once more through Betancuria and Antigua.
Goats. Having heard so much about the presence of goats in the wild (and
tasted the goat´s cheeses) it wasn´t till today that I spied my first goats, and then continued seeing them all day! Windmills continued to abound (no longer working since the island no longer produces its own cereals) and, at last, I found a church open (well, it was Sunday!) in Pajara, and lazily watched a local parishioner arranging the flowers around the sumptuous statue of the Virgin.
My route over the tops to Betancuria saw me encounter dozens of “roadies” in training, chipmunks who expected to be fed by parked tourists, and this very sad, poignant memorial by the side of the road. A small mountain garden had been established to the memory of Suso who, presumably, had died in an accident. It was bedecked with loving domesticity.
Climbing back up to the highest point of the ride (600 metres/2000 feet) the 70kms gusts of wind became a reality, not so bad when you are climbing laboriously, but very scary when it is a crosswind on a fast descent. I struggled to keep control of the
bike which meant, of course, slowing down: very sad on long descent! The mountain gods were again on my side. Ten minutes after arriving back at base, the heavens opened again.
Amongst the many people encountered today was a German couple, both riding top quality triathlon bikes, who regularly come over to one of the Canary Islands for some winter training. Their company was informative and very pleasant (unlike the vast majority who train with a sports camp, who pass you by as if you didn´t exist!). Snobby lot!
Distance covered: 80kms
Footnote: enjoyed a “tapa” at lunchtime called “ropa vieja”(old clothes!): a stew of chick peas, pork and potatoes. Delicious! And I was served a huge portion, not a few mouthfuls, as expected.