Thought I ought to try the mountain bike out on a road climbtoday before committing myself to the high Sierra, so I headed for the coast. Through Cuevas de Reillo (where I'm looking forward to the fiesta tonight), Las Palas and Tallante (good tapas in the cafe here) to join the N332 toward Puerto de Mazarron. This road passes through the Sierra de Algarrobo and I remember some steep hairpins from my last visit.
As it turned out, the steep climb was the easiest part – far harder was the approach roads climbing steadily upward into a strong headwind with very little shelter, as can be seen in the picture. It was getting very hot (well it felt that way for an October day!), and I was getting through about a bottle of water an hour. Couldn't wait to get to the top (at about 1200ft) and get back down to find a cafe and sit in the shade.
However, at the top of the pass I met these two elderly (?!?) gents out on their morning constitutional. They had arrived at the top from opposite directions, had a brief, but at times animated, conversation then headed down in the opposite direction from which they'd arrived! I did manage to converse with them briefly, which was an achievement given my limited Spanish and their limited English. I'm glad to say they weren't the only cyclists I saw out today, and all acknowledged my greeting. After today's ride, I'm a little more confident about tackling the higher mountains on my "steed", but must try to start out earlier to avoid the midday heat.