Prowling my world, camera in hand

25 February 2020

Week 08: Alicante Norte 200 km brevet

Filed under: — Administrator @ 07:24

Not much photography during the week, I was busy at work and the cycling at the beginning of the week was more about training for an event than about taking pictures. That event was a 205 km organised bicycle ride, a so-called brevet, in the mountains north of Alicante. I have done several brevets in the last few years, but this was by far the hardest one because of the climbing involved. A brevet is not a race; the purpose is not to come first but simply to complete the ride within the maximum time allowed, also respecting the time limits at the control points along the route. A control point is usually a bar or a petrol station in the designated town or village; you go in and ask them to stamp the corresponding field on the route card. For a 200 km ride, the maximum allowed time is 13.5 hours. I did one last year in 10 hours, so comfortably within the time limit, but I knew this one would be much closer because of the mountainous course.

I started the week with a training ride on Sunday morning, covering the first part of the following Saturday’s brevet. This part of the route was familiar to me but I needed to make sure that I could do it fast enough to make the cutoff at the first control point. I could, and on the way back home I did stop for a picture. The weather was a bit hazy, which made the mountains look very nice, with varying shades of subtle blue colours:

My picture-taking during the week was largely confined to morning walks along the beach. On Tuesday morning there was fog all over the place, so I took a slight detour to the beach on my way to the office. I love foggy scenes like this:

Palm trees and lone fisherman:

Lost in the fog:

The next morning the sunrise looked more usual, with lovely colours:

But then I got the idea of photographing the morning light in a different way, by looking at details inside my house. Here is the “whisky altar”:

A window on the staircase leading to our 2nd floor bedroom:

Part of my wife’s Three Kings collection:

The shutters in our bedroom:

Then Saturday morning arrived. The brevet started at 8:00 at a restaurant a couple of km from my house. When I arrived, the place was already full of bikes and cyclists, many of whom were inside getting coffee:

Others were just standing around and chatting while waiting for the start:

A few minutes after 8 I was on my way, riding with a small group for the first 60-70 km. The first control point was in Tibi, after 40 km of cycling uphill, and it was followed by another climb to Ibi, followed by–you guessed it–another climb to the highest point of the ride, just under 1000 meters above sea level. The second control point, at 75 km, was in a village called Banyeres, and I did stop for a couple of quick pictures of the pretty almond trees:

And a selfie:

In Banyeres, I caught up with my group. We stamped our brevets in the hardware store. There was also a bar, and I was getting hungry but there were too many people inside, so it would have taken too long to get food there:

The nicest part of the ride was about midway, the 15-20 km leading to the third control point in a town called Salinas, at 115 km. The route took me through wine country on small roads like this:

I took one last photo of a wintery vineyard:

The rest of the day was strictly about completing the ride. I had some problems with cramps in my legs which slowed me down a bit. Taking a couple of wrong turns, thereby adding about 10 km to the ride, did not help either. But I made the fourth control point, and I arrived back at the Simone restaurant 40 minutes before the time limit. I got my route sheet stamped for arrival and then dragged myself home to beer, shower and food:

The ride can be seen here.

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