The Cork Board

Day 2 Alcoi to Xàtiva


Well, that didn’t quite go to plan.I had given myself another 30 mile ride from Alcoi to Xàtiva thus easing myself in gently. Thunder storms were forecast and I thought that with an early start I could be in Xàtiva for lunchtime and with any luck the storms would be way behind me. I was out of the traps by nine. Perfect.

My route took me along a now disused part of the old road which is now used as a service road, and according to all the sources, rejoined the original road as before, further along. I was passed by a couple of cars and another cyclist. The road was worn but clearly the locals still used it. Imagine my surprise then to find that just as I come to the end of my detour there is a huge barrier across the road and some pretty fierce signage…don’t even think about it. But I did for a moment,I can tell you. The alternative was retracing the last 5 miles almost back to where I’d started half an hour ago (I had,of course,been climbing).

But back it was and an alternative had to be found.I was now winging it. Completely off plan.Literally, wandering in the land of the bull. (See side panel.)It seemed that I couldn’t go over the mountain,and I couldn’t go through it.Damn!I’m going to have to go around it.

I set of for the town of Ontinyent.From now on I didn’t know how long the ride was going to be, how long the hills were or how hard. Common sense was going to have to kick in.

The region of Valencia, and this area in particular, is noted for its canyons and gorges and opportunities to enjoy them. I’d been passed on my journey by several small pelotons. Each urging me on with a “holá” or “buenos”. So in finding myself careering down through a spectacular canyon I suddenly find myself part of an elite gang of cyclists, legwork and motor. Swarming around me as we slalom the curves together there was an immediate tribal instinct going on.

Not many places to take a shot but this gives you the idea.

I freewheeled into Ontinyent on the stroke of 12 noon. The local church was giving large with the bells. And, another blue dome. Clearly there’s more to this than some local builder having a job lot to get rid of.

Despite my detour I was happy to be in Ontinyent for 12. I had hoped to be in Xàtiva, or at least close by by now. But that’s wandering…

The route to Xàtiva from here seemed straight forward enough. Up the hill the other side of town, turn left at the top, follow the road. Imagine my surprise then to find that the road I was hoping to join was now an A road and cyclists banned.

On the spot map reserach suggested that I might be able to head back to Ontinyent and head west a bit befor going north again. I tried it for 4 miles but none of the potentials appeared to be available. Back up the hill then to the “banned” junction to pick up a minor road heading east. I would then be able to join my original route to Xàtiva. In essence, I completed a 25 mile circuit to rejoin the road to Xàtiva the other side of the original barrier.

Frustrating as it was, the countryside was lush and green, then rocky, then olives and orange trees and the roads were incredibly quiet for a Saturday.

Heading back in the right direction I heard distant thunder behind me. Mother Nature had bided her time and now there was a chase on. As she rolled over my head throwing all she had I ducked under an underpass for shelter. I thumbed my nose at the dark foreboding clouds. She tried to catch me again 20 minutes later and just as she got going I slipped into a bus shelter in a silent village. Ha!

But she will not be beaten.Third time lucky I am exposed on an open hillside. “Take that,” she rumbled.

If yesterdays musical allusion was one direction then todays was “wet wet wet”. I arrived in Xàtiva at 5.00pm on the nose. My quick 30 miles had become 57.I’d climbed more than I did yesterday. Just one of those days.

Xàtiva early evening….

15th century hospital for the poor. Completely renovated inside to be the towns modern health centre.

Note: the iPad is messing with my captions. The 15th century building is the brown one. The yellow one are my digs for the night.

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