La Vuelta – Villanueva & Pedro Jimenez; aka the day of the bad van man

It all started so well, glorious blue skies, feeling like my biking was gathering strength on an almost daily basis and then………as I was cycling up the wide smooth road out of La Peza, I heard a vehicle behind me. The next thing I know I had been thrown from the bike and as I lay on the tarmac for a split second I really did think that was it, hospital for Mr Brage. Amazingly, everything was intact body-wise, something which could not be said about my bike. The back wheel was a twisted wreck and my major concern was that this Spanish equivalent of white van man had ruined my beloved Venge.

View of Sierra Nevada

View of Sierra Nevada

I have been saying for a while that it’s so much nicer and safer to bike in Spain than in the UK, and I still stick to this in general. The roads are quieter and mostly in better condition, there are less vehicles and the vast majority of drivers are much more respectful of the cycling community. However there is no accounting for everyone and the old boy who knocked me off my bike was indeed a bad driver. As I made him drive me back to my home, wrecked bike in the back of the van, it was like being in the car with Mr McGoo!

I now had the problem of getting my No 1 bike fixed within 2 days before heading on to Northern Spain. A quick trip into Semar Elite, the best bike shop in Granada would fortunately soon put that right. This left me without the Venge for a couple of days with still more cycling to be done so I dusted down my old road bike and consoled myself with a good 50k ride that evening with some of the local guys.

Road to Pedro Jimenez, where is everybody!

Road to Pedro Jimenez, where is everybody!

The next day I decided it was time to nail one of that month’s Strava challenges, ride 130k in a day. I plotted a ride around Guadix and Pedro Jimenez, with a loop into Villanueva, which I hadn’t done before but looked like it had an interesting circuitous road leading out of town into the wilds of the lower sierra. As I rode through the one horse town of Villanueva I asked one of the locals if I was heading in the right direction to Pedro Jimenez. She replied yes but told me I had a lot of climbing to do - how right she was! The road was effectively a continuous chain of tough switchbacks, check it out on the Strava route below.

http://www.strava.com/activities/183308000

My lesson from these two days – never let a brush with a van stop you from getting out there and enjoying yourself. Cyclists rule!