Prowling my world, camera in hand

23 March 2019

Week 11: a successful brevet, finally

Filed under: — Administrator @ 15:53

This week is very much about cycling; both the normal rides I do and from which I show photos every week, and especially a 200 km group event in which I participated on Saturday, organised by a local cycling club called Alibike. Back in January, I had signed up for another brevet run by the same club, but had to pull out after about 40 km because I had been sick during the 2-3 days leading up to that event, and I was simply too weak to make it within the time limit. But this time I felt good, I found a good group to ride with, and I completed the event.

But first the regular cycling, at the beginning of the week. On Sunday I cycled to Tibi to pay a visit to Lili’s goat cheese shop in the mountains. The handlebar bag on my bicycle had some space which I intended to fill with delicious goat cheese:

Lili posed for me with a plate of her cheeses. Her husband tends the goats, and she makes the cheese in a small workshop adjacent to the shop. Besides her cheese, Lili also sells products made by other producers in the village, such as the very nice carrot paté visible on the right:

I bought a couple of cheeses and made my way home via Jijona. To get out of Tibi, the road goes downhill for about 1 km, and includes this wonderful 180 degree curve:

After the curve in the preceding picture, the road begins a 3 km incline to a pass called Puerto de Tibi, rising from around 500 m above sea level to 725 m, with some fairly steep sections. Once there, I stopped for a breather and to take in the scenery before the very fast descent to Jijona:

In the afternoon, we had a BBQ with friends, as we often do on weekends, and as usual, I was there with my camera. Elio and Assumpta are being lovey while he carries out an important task:

Spanish nature morte in our friends’ kitchen:

As usual, I made a couple of morning visits to the beach during the week. One day I was particularly attracted by the mist rising along the northern coast:

Once the sun had burned off the fog, I instead focused on the textures of the sand and wooden walkway (the main purpose of the walkway is to provide wheelchair access to the beach):


The following day, I went to the beach earlier, before sunrise, to take advantage of the nice sky:



Our lemon tree has been revived through some pruning and other care lavished on it by my wife, and it is now yielding reasonable quantities of lemons. These do not look supermarket-perfect, but they taste better:

Friday evening, outside a nearby butcher shop:

It has now become almost a tradition that we get pizza for dinner on Fridays (I usually do the cooking on the other days). I do not order ahead; instead, I walk the 100 meters to Tutti’s Pizza & Pasta and have a beer while I wait. On this occasion, the owner posed for me:

I got up early on Saturday, since the 200 km brevet was starting at 8:00. It was a circular route south and west of Alicante, with about 60 cyclists participating.

The starting point (and also the finish) was Ristorante Simone, an Italian bar/restaurant a couple of km from my house:

I hooked up with a group of about 8-10 cyclists, most of them female, members of a club called Biking A’s. Here we are, cycling through the town of Novelda:

The first control was after 68 km, at a petrol station in a town called Algueña, the western-most point of the route:

After Algueña, we cycled south in some pretty landscapes on the border between Comunitat Valenciana (the autonomous region in which Alicante lies) and Murcia:

Then we turned east towards Hondón de las Nieves, site of the second control. Close to the town I stopped to photograph this reservoir:

In Hondón de las Nieves, we got our brevets (route sheets) stamped and had lunch at a roadside restaurant. This was roughly the halfway point of the ride:

The last part of the route took us to what was familiar territory for me, to the town of Santa Pola and then home to Alicante along the coast, with two more controls along the way. I rode alone on this last part, since I had to slow down a bit due to pain in my foot, and also I wanted to take some pictures along the pretty road between Santa Pola and Arenales del Sol. The island of Tabarca is clearly visible here:

Finally, after 200 km and about 10 hours on the road, we are all back at Ristorante Simone, tired but happy:

After having our brevets stamped for arrival (they get sent to the mother club in Paris for final approval), we sat down for a bit of chat and of course a pint. Here I am with my newfound cycling friends:

And two non-cycling guests at Simone:

Finally, a phone picture of my completed brevet, with the required stamps obtained at the various control points. At the end of the season in the autumn, I will get it back with the official approval stamp from Paris, as well as a medal. In this flavour of the sport, it is not about coming first, it is about completing within the time limit. For a 200 km brevet, the time limit is 13.5 hours. I completed it in just over 10 hours:
iPhone picture

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