Cycling Andalucia was an incredible experience.
From all of the previous posts you may have seen about this trip through southern Spain, you may not have been able to tell that we were actually on our bikes for two to six hours a day.
There was so much to see and do off of our bikes, I don’t know how we spent so many hours on our bikes.
The riding, however, was fantastic. It was exactly the type of riding I love.
That’s to say: very hilly.
The only continued flat section that we crossed was on our first day, as we exited Seville. From that point forward we were either getting our hearts pumping on some spectacular climbs, or we were flying down the other side.
The landscapes of Andalucia whizzed by us (or slowly crawled by on the climbs) as we pedaled our bikes a total of about 550 kms (330 miles.)
Our group was an upbeat group of four couples, two guides, and yours truly. I like to think that we followed what one member’s shirt said: Ride Hard, Smile Often.
This tour was designed for cyclists who enjoy hard days on the bike, and the group came prepared. Everyone finished every day’s ride without help from the support van, and the time gaps were not too great.
Having never ridden on a supported tour before, the ride was very luxurious for me. I am used to travelling by bike, but normally I am forced to carry all of my possessions with me. I could get used to riding my race bike and having someone else carry my luggage from place to place!
Some of the highlights included vast olive oil groves, climbing up to over 1300m, and some curvy descents which I can’t find in Canada. I think that my favourite road sign in all of Spain is ‘Curvas Peligrosas’ (dangerous curves.)
The ten day tour, of which six full days were on our bikes, was a great way to strengthen my legs, and get an early jump on the 2014 season (yes, very early.)
The final day of the tour was a 55 kms ride over a mountain pass to the city of Granada. It happened to coincide with my 32nd birthday, and I wanted to test out my legs after over a week of solid riding.
The previous five rides had given me the strength to climb the 700 metres worth of elevation gain over 27 kms in under an hour and ten minutes. I enjoyed pushing myself to my limit on the last day.
Most days, however, were more about camaraderie and enjoying the ride, rather than time-trialing over a mountain. I made some great friendships, even though the members of my group were a few years older than myself.
What I loved about riding with ExperiencePlus! was the balance between great cycling, amazing food, and historical insight.
Every stop was interesting, and every ride in between was fantastic.
Having now come to the end of the tour, I find myself longing to start another ride with ExperiencePlus! tomorrow. Unfortunately, our tour was their last European tour of the year.
Maybe next year. . .