February 13, 2023

Day 47: Agost (Cycling)

Well I thought today was going to be a wee test for these old man legs of mine and, I wasn't disappointed! However, leaving a tough climb towards the end of a ride that mostly had me going up or down all day was, perhaps, not wise!

After about 600m of relatively flat riding the climbing kicked in, which warmed me up.

The long climb of the day was Xorret de Cati from Petrer, which is deemed to be the easy, but longer, route (13km; 682m elevation gain; average gradient: 4.9%).

I'd say it is a devious ascent to the summit. As you progress along the climb it is kind of two steps up and one down and, accordingly, as you eventually near the summit the gradient remaining increases from about 5% at the start of the climb to about 12% for the last kilometre!

I was disappointed to discover that the climb did not have any km markers, nor did it have a sign at the summit to say you'd arrived at 1083m above sea level. However, there was a sign indicating that the descent from the summit had a gradient of 20%!

The next mini adventure occurred on the way to the other key climb of the day: Balcon de Alicante, starting from Tibi. My route had a short section that was off road, which should be ok: I'm riding a gravel bike! Unfortunately, I think where there once was a bridge, a gaping gap took its place!

I was very tempted to continue on down to the steam and on up the other side. If I'd been with someone else, or been in the UK, I probably would have. However, given the remoteness and my limited Spanish vocabulary, I thought it unwise to proceed. So a U-turn was forced upon me, which resulted in a 6-7km detour! So it goes!

Eventually I arrived at the start of the Balcon de Alicante climb, which is a climb in two halves. The first takes you from Tibi to the turn for the second, which is about 4km from the summit. This latter section results in an elevation gain of 378m; has an average gradient of 9.7%, with numerous ramps of 15-19%. There was a point, when the first signs of cramp were manifesting themselves in my starboard leg (thus attempting to call a halt to any further ascent), that it crossed my mind I may yet be defeated by a road climb!

I'm not one who likes to stop on a climb but, in this instance, I still had some water and emergency rations left, so I stopped; ate and drank some much needed sustenance; and got on my way again for the last kilometre or so. Phew!

Here's a view from the top: I guess Alicante is somewhere in the background!

Fortunately, it was mostly down hill to Agost from there!

I may well have a rest day tomorrow!

  • Distance driven: 0
  • Distance cycled: 90
  • Weather: Overcast and 9°C to start, mostly sunny by midday, becoming increasingly overcast from about 3.30pm. Descents were chilly!

Today's route (updated to bypass missing bridge!)