One sunny cold day we go for a ride round some of the large dams in the area. Leaving El Chorro and travelling up the Western side of the Guadalhorce Dam, we then turn left up the valley steeply to join the very large dam, – Embalse del Conde del Guadalhorce. We pass the turning for the campsite, Parque Ardales, which looks to be in a very pleasant situation, and at the end of this, we find a large café by the lake, it is still early in the morning and there is a man having tons of vodka and cake at the kiosk bit out in the foggy cold with his thick green khaki clothes on. And mist coming from his breath. The area is apparently making an effort to regenerate itself and promote the lakes as the Spanish Lake District. The result is that one suddenly arrives at a new town, with brand new velvet roads, and playful lighting looming out of the mist.
There is a string of lakes to travel along which are wreathed in the morning fog making it very cold. The maps we have do not tell us whether we can cycle on these roads and whether they go through all the way to where we want to go. We think they may not exist or they may be just a rough track too stony to cycle on. In the event we find a newly made road at first, and one that leads all the way. Quiet and scenic, past the Desplomilandes climbing area. The terrain is extremely hilly and hard work, but even this isn’t enough to warm up my frost nipped feet. In the end I find a patch of sun and stop to manually warm them. The town we are trying to get to is Valle d’Abdulajis, where we can return to El Chorro via the road with the big dog, where previously we have had to turn around because of this ferocious looking deer-sized beast, which races along the skyline when it sees our approach and then is waiting in the road for us. There are numerous encounters with dogs, and when we ask about it, people tell us just to shout at them.
This time we come from the other direction and are able to sneak past without the dog seeing us, whizz down hills to L‘Encantada, grind up the final 1 in 4 to the Finca La campana. Such a shame that we can’t finish our heroic ride by flashing past the other holiday-makers windows in a blur of iridescent yellow, rather than crawling past wondering if we need to actually get off the bikes. It is by far the steepest climb of a hilly day out. But then we are home . Most days after we finish cycling we go climbing and today we quickly we change and take a picnic to the Los Albercones area, near the Crusties car parking. There are some excellent routes here.