Puerto Calero is a recreational port 13 minutes walk along the shoreline from our hotel. A sunset walk along the jagged coastline, past the luxury villas and their accompanying yachts, was just what was required after a tough ride. We would be having dinner at the La Taberna Del Puerto, an excellent family-run Spanish restaurant with Paellas to die for. We never had dinner anywhere else for the duration of our stay. My friend Abi in London would love this restaurant, not just for their Paellas, but also for their very strong Sangrias.
I planned to do a much longer ride on this day and would be exploring the mountains of Lanzarote and parts of the famous Lanzarote Ironman course. This was my planned route:
Puerto Calero – Conil – Los Linos – Masdache – Mozaga – Teguise – Los Valles – Mirador de Haria then back. This was a shortened version of the route recommended by the helpful chaps at Free Motion, which would take me through the most scenic and interesting parts of Lanzarote and end in Haria, ‘The Village of a Thousand Palms’.
So after an early breakfast, I jumped on ‘my’ SuperSix Evo and set off. I was beginning to like this bike and I would grow to love it by the end of the day. This time I turned right when I got to the LZ-2 and rode towards the Conil roundabout about 10 km away. The LZ-2 is a dual carriageway and normally, I’d be advising cyclists to restrict their use of such roads, but this is Lanzarote, and the drivers around these parts are civilised and understand, unlike UK drivers, that cyclists have a legitimate right to exist and use the public roads.
Not once in nearly 300km of cycling over 3 days did I fear for my safety. Not once did a driver overtake me without giving me a very wide berth. Not once was a driver impatient or aggressive. I later learned that the minimum legal distance when overtaking a cyclist is 1.5 meters. This should be mandatory worldwide and especially in the UK where drivers seem all-too-happy to squeeze and endanger you in order to shave a few seconds off their commute or advance 5 meters in traffic.
10km into the ride, I reached the pretty town of Conil and just beyond Conil, I entered one of Lanzarote’s spectacular wine producing regions. (I managed to gatecrash a wedding at one of the distilleries on my way back. More on this later). Once I passed through the wine producing region, I turned right towards Teguise and onto part of the Ironman course. I can see why this area is used for the bike section of the Ironman! Smooth, fast, undulating terrain. I was able to maintain a steady 35-40kph for mile after mile on a non-aero bike with shallow-section wheels. The Ironman boys and girls on their TT bikes would be flying through this section and I saw quite a few of them on training rides. I was not foolish enough to try and jump on any of their wheels as they flew past.
Teguise – Mirador de Haria
At the 30km mark, I hit Teguise and it would be up and down for the next 5km until my first stop at the popular Jonnie Bakes Artisan Bakery and Cafe at Los Valles, where I wolfed down some lovely cake and coffee and got final directions from the super friendly cafe owners. They advised me to rest and fuel up properly before tackling the 8.1km, 4% climb to Mirador de Haria.
This climb is famous for being the first real challenging climb on the Ironman course and is only a Cat 3 climb, but the heat and wind in some sections made it a tough, long climb, but the views along the entire length are most certainly worth the effort. At the halfway mark, I stopped to take pictures at an isolated cafe but quickly jumped back on my bike when an unseen guard dog charged at me. Never have I pedalled so fast uphill.
It took me about 40 mins of sustained effort to get to the top of the climb and the views from the top are simply breathtaking. I was moved by the majesty of the place. Whatever you believe created the world, God, a big bang or unseen power, you will surely give thanks to them for creating such a place. Truly humbling.
Wedding Crasher in Lycra.
The return leg was much easier than the outward leg because, on the return leg, I’d have to climb only 400m versus the 800 odd meters I had to tackle on the way out. The best part was the descent from Haria back to Los Valles and Teguise and this is where the stability, or lack of stability of a bike shows. The Cannondale SuperSix Evo was super stable, almost as stable and confidence-inspiring as my own Colnago C60. High praise indeed.
As I approached the wine producing areas, I was passed by a convoy of classic cars with colourfully dressed occupants, and a few kilometers later I saw yet more classic cars turning into a winery-cum-restaurant. My car-enthusiast curiosity was well and truly piqued and I just had to investigate. As I rolled into the private drive after some more cars, I was directed to park my bike and join the guests standing around the wedding ceremony which was taking place.
That is how I became a lycra-clad wedding crasher.
I did seek out the wedding organiser and I explained that I did not mean to crash their wedding and only followed the classic cars. They all found the whole thing intensely amusing and hilarious and insisted I took pictures with them (sigh). I made my not-so-dignified exit not long after refusing yet another plate of Paella. Alas, I cannot share said pictures as it was a private wedding and I promised to keep those pictures for my personal records only.
Then it was off back to the hotel and some well earned rest. What a ride! what a day!
Fully responsive mobile touchscreen gallery below. Best orientation: Landscape.