Up and er, down to demolish another excellent Ibis (yep, you can add them to McDs and Repsol as tour endorsed) breakfast. All I'm saying is it's a good job that lycra stretches, ahem.
One of the joys of being up early. No messing.
Thanks to a bit of help from Google Maps (well, they owed me...more on that later), it was fairly easy to get out of Murcia and through Alcantarilla and down the N-340.
More roundabout decorations...pt.1...
There were loads of groups of cyclists out this a.m.: although as soon as I was past Lorca and into the badlands, I didn't see one of them, hah-hah!
I chatted as much as was possible to three or four groups and they were amazed at what I was trying- full of good wishes and all that, which was nice. They then resumed normal pace and disappeared from view, pronto.
Also got an excellent beep, shout and a 'thumbs-up' from someone in an old Fiesta. Ford drivers, bless them!
You can't put a price on pleasure like this. Well, it's one Euro actually. Excellent!
As ever, there was a choice in the route to take after Lorca: 50/50...heads I lose! Yep, you guessed it- similar shenanigans to yesterday. You start off on pleasantly surfaced country roads and then before you can say "Tortilla Española", you're onto the rough stuff and it's too late to do a u-turn!
Had two miles of this joy.
And at the end, you have haul the bike up to the road!
Just give me a sealed surface, that's all! Amazingly I didn't get a puncture...
And relax...much more like it!
Sorry boys, 9kms in the wrong direction. Top band though!
Big on olive oil round these parts.
So the plan (!) was to get down to Vera and pick-up the N-340A which should be 'game over' as far as navigation for the rest of the stage. Well, you say that...
I tried sneaking onto the AutoVia for a few miles but was collared at this toll-booth. Not as un-manned as it appeared, hah-hah!
Again, we started-off fine but after a mile or so you get this insanity!
Which went on for three miles.
This was the last straw: I did sneak onto the AutoVia and claimed four direct and pronto miles right to the exit for Sorbas, tonight's destination. Only got beeped at by one motor- I'm pretty certain that he wasn't digging my MNDA jersey, hah-hah!
The last ten miles were mainly uphill: not too severe thankfully...
...and under any other circs it would've been a joy...
...but time was slipping away as ever. Hostal is middle centre!
Not one word of English spoken (by the staff), which is fair enough...pointing and miming came to the rescue. The only problem was that the restaurant (and by the sound of it, the only restaurant in Sorbas) closed in 30 mins!
View from tonight's acco.
This did hit the spot.
Dinner was this times three. I managed to get a pizza elsewhere too. Beggars etc...
Like yesterday, you can file this effort along the daftness of the first week: Gib ain't giving itself up easy, hah-hah!
Here comes da hard sell! If you're thinking of a donation, the sooner it's done then the sooner that it can be put to good use by the charities. Nice one folks and heartfelt thanks on behalf of the Great Causes.