Alpujarras - riding like you want it to be!
Vamos Cycling - Cadiar
The expansive agricultural landscape spreads as far as the eye can see, rippled valley bottoms, folding up to higher peaks. The only flat, manmade terraces. The roads tangle up amongst these terraces, climbing through olive and almond groves marked out in the distance by curving arnco. Smooth black tarmac lined by golden earth planted in perfect rows, banks overflowing with bright wildflowers.
Cut into the earth the villages hang either side of the road, roofs downhill, porches up. The streams plummet from the snowy tops of the mountains to fill the cold, spouting village fountains and the rivers that cut through the soft earth forming gorges in the valley bottoms.
The land is verdant, golden, yellow, flush with spring life. These are Spain’s southern Alpujaras, not famed for grand tours, or famous named climbs, or exploits of cycling heroes. Better thought of as a baking dust bowl, and better known for its Costa del Sol coastline, the home of stags & hens, hangovers & sunburn.
This is the hidden cycling paradise at Europe’s southern extreme. Kilometre upon kilometre of deserted highway and byway. 80kph flying descents drop off the side of the mountains, giving way to steadily wearing climbs.
The tucks and curls of the land bely the height of the surrounding peaks, enticing a strong pace at the foot, engendering a rocking grind at the crest.
Elsewhere the roads traverse the hillsides. Tucked under the edge of the mountains the villages are linked by crazy collections of smooth curves, dipping and climbing between bridges and bluffs.
Hard riding with deceptive rollers, dwarfed by the surrounding hills, they present the illusion of a short push to power over the top, which becomes a drop to the inner ring and a settled rhythm to gradual summits.
The riding here is best enjoyed in the company of one who knows, of which, more to come. Vamos Cycling, a home from home with routes in the spirit of Le Sportif - challenging, beautiful, kilometres to be sought out and savoured.