TransMurciana. Final Day: Mazarrón to San Javier

My final full day. After a week of glorious sunshine cycling the TransAndalus and TransMurciana mountain bike routes in southern Spain, the forecast proved to be correct and heavens opened. Despite thunderstorms plagued me during the whole day, I finished with over 24 hours to spare.

Thursday 11 June 2015

  • Total Distance today: 116km (72.1 miles)
  • Total elevation gained today: 2,382 feet
TransMurciana. Mazarrón to San Javier (Part 1). Map

TransMurciana. Mazarrón to San Javier (Part 1). Map

TransMurciana. Mazarrón to San Javier (Part 1). Elevation Profile

TransMurciana. Mazarrón to San Javier (Part 1). Elevation Profile

 

It had been a very warm, sticky night. The conditions of the day before suggested that there was a storm lurking, so I was not surprised to see sheets of rain and flashes of lightning as I drew the blinds when I woke up.

Rain in Mazarron, Spain

Misery in Mazarron

 

After breakfast I (reluctantly) mounted the bike and headed on my way. It didn’t take long for me to get soaked through. The clouds were low and it was difficult to tell if there would be a break in the bad weather. I headed in to the Sierra de la Muela with the wind in my face. The climbs were relatively steep but the weather sapped the energy from me. If there were nice view to be had, they weren’t available today.

It was a constant grind with the descents being mostly unpleasant with wind in the face and water spraying up and soaking me. I decided to stop at the first cafe I passed. I was much too wet to sit inside so I sat out under a parasol with coffee and tapas for an hour or more waiting for a break in the weather.

When the rain finally subsided I was presented with dreary sights. I passed through farmland, over some marshy mud, and the landscapes were very boring. I headed for Playa Honda expecting to be able to be able to ride north via the La Manga peninsular, only to find that the north side didn’t actually rejoin the mainland. I picked up some supplies from a supermarket and made a u-turn.

Much of the Costa Calida has been heavily developed and places like the Mar Menor are an eyesore. High-rise hotels, bloated ex-pats, but worst of all is the ‘urbanisations’. Purpose-built towns erected during before the financial crisis are now mostly empty, much of it is still half-finished, and many properties are for sale. Despite having a beautiful coastline, this part of Spain is a dump. Every person I passed was British and I saw no evidence of culture. I was bored stiff.

Uneventful mile after uneventful mile passed as I circled San Javier airport and finished up in Santiago de la Ribeira on the coast. I had arrived early. I still had well over 24-hours before my flight. I found a cheap place to stay and took an afternoon nap. After a few hours, I woke up and the sun was out. I showered, changed, picked up some wine and food and relaxed on the beach. It was lovely. Most of the bars seemed to close really early, but I found a small, local bar near my hotel where I drank frosty lager until after midnight, reminiscing about the last 7 days, while the crazy hotel owner kept coming out as if to beckon me in.Murcia by Bike

View this ride on Strava

My ‘Spare’ Day: Santiago de la Ribeira to orihuela costa (and home)

Friday 12 June 2015

  • Total Distance today: 31.7km (19.7 miles)
  • Total elevation gained today: 820 feet
Into Valencia Province. Map

Into Valencia Province. Map

Into Valencia Province. Elevation Profile

Into Valencia Province. Elevation Profile

 

I didn’t have to be at the airport until late afternoon so I had plenty of time to kill. A friend had given me details of her friend’s Dad (Pat), who had a place nearby on the coast. I rang him and he urged me to come over and relax, enjoy the sun and lay by the pool and he would find me a bike box for the flight.

I couldn’t resist taking a little detour to enter Valencia (the province). Out of town, I passed through trails and tree-lined roads. Literally after every mile I would see a prostitute. I remembered seeing this during my travels in 2012 between Alicante and Valencia. It’s so casual in this part of Spain, very relaxed!

I had no idea where I was heading and I ended up taking a little too much of a detour, forcing me to cut through a golf course to head back to the coast.

Cycling through Valencia Province

Cycling through Valencia Province

 

Pat couldn’t have been more welcoming. I entered the house to find that the lady sitting on the couch was an old primary school teacher who taught me over 20 years ago. It was totally coincidental. It was nice to engage in English conversation for first time in a week, and even nicer to have a few hours in and around the pool in scorching sun (which helped even my dodgy tan lines out)!

Radon Black Sin 8.0 Mountain Bike with Alpkit Bike Luggage for Bike Touring

Radon Black Sin 8.0 Mountain Bike with Alpkit Bike Luggage for Bike Touring

Overall, the trip had been amazing. It was A LOT harder than I expected, but I attribute this mainly to bad luck with punctures. I lost count of how many holes my inner tubes sustained and how many times I had to dismount and pump my tyres up. It did spoil much of the trip, but I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. Andalusia has everything: Scenery, weather, snow, sun, sea, sand, food, culture… I’d highly recommend jumping on your bike and heading to the south of Spain. Just get out there.

When I returned home, I had just one day to recover before a the Hardmoors Rosedale Trail Marathon. Remind me to leave a bit more gap between touring and racing next time.

One Comment

on “TransMurciana. Final Day: Mazarrón to San Javier
One Comment on “TransMurciana. Final Day: Mazarrón to San Javier
  1. Interesting to read about your recent adventures and to have ‘an adventure’ in place that is supposed to be considered a tourist destination and turns out to be over developed and a bit dull looking. Your bike looks awesome. What is it?

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