Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Long Live Rock...stage 20...Marbella to Gibraltar

Buenos dias! A slightly later departure than usual this a.m. for three good reasons:

1) Top-notch breakfast in hotel to be set about,
2) Only about 50 miles or so to Gib, and
3) Was dreading getting back onto the shoulder-less A7/N-340!

Sorry to the late breakfast arrivals about there being none left, hah-hah!
I trundled away from the lovely hotel in beautiful downtown Marbella, half-expecting the local sheriff to escort me to the county line to make sure that the impoverished and less-than fragrant likes of me don't come back...
A strong roundabout game in Marbella. As one would expect.

"You're so vain, I bet you think this photo's about you!"
In all honesty, there were only a couple of iffy stretches of road...that's was a huge relief. Cheers Espana.
What are you waiting for? Gib ain't gonna come to you, mate.

On the quiet roads the shoulder (or lack of) is no issue.
After cresting a climb about 35 miles in, the target was in view...just. Cue a shout, get in! Let's finish this, please!
Nice to see you, to see you...nice!
You might reasonably expect that in such a circumstance that navigation would not be an issue, right? Me too, hah-hah! Google Maps suggested a route away from the final stretch of Autovia, and of course like a fool I thought, "Why not? It's always worked-out well previously. Why, thank you Google!".
You couldn't resist one last dig, could you Google Maps, hah-hah!

After some horrendous climbs back up from sea level, it was the sanity of this for the last 7 miles. Legal too. Probably.

Time for one last piece of random roundabout detritus.
There was no queue or fuss at the border: look at the passport and away you go, and cross the runway along with loads of others.
Ororgraphic Lift. Adiabatic along now.

Hoping that my EasyJet chariot will be here on Sunday, not least in the light of this...
Eh what? ATC shirkers, hah-hah!
Anyway, it was a quick tour around Gib's one-way streets trying to get up to speed with the tons of scooters and cars and pedestrians and trying to find my hotel.

That done, the next item of business was to drop-off luggage and then set-off up The Rock for a few photos. I knew it was steep but there's ramps at 20%...although without the panniers, the bike seemed like a feather so up we went!
A terrific amount of nautical shenanigans occurring.
All very 007 sounding: actually they did use this as a location for one of Tim Dalton's efforts, no?

O'Hara's Battery is about 1400 feet up and the highest point open to El Publico. Plus I was happy not to have any more vertical effort, thank you.
People had warned me about the apes- yeah, yeah they're nowt. Really?

I hope those Haribos choke you, hah-hah!
I saw them go after three other punters too: they will open bags in a flash, the sods! Put me in mind of perhaps Sellers' finest Clouseau moment:

Aside from keeping marauding simians at bay, the other issue was coercing another tourist into taking a few photos of me wearing the different charities' jerseys.  Sounds easy, right? You try it sometime.

Invariably people behave as though they've never held a camera in their lives, with predictably tragic results despite the perfect subject matter, ahem.

You then have to lie and say what a great job they've done despite them blindly ignoring my explicit commands on where to stand, what to include in the shot, what button to press, hah-hah! Then you have to wait until they've sodded-off before collaring someone else. Preferably someone with a DSLR slung around their necks!
Please take the shot before he takes the bike too!
Back down to the hotel and it's reduced more jersey washing for me, excellent.
And the view from tonight's acco. "Norman Stanley Fletcher...".
I had a decent stroll around Gib: it is a funny old place. There, who needs Rough Guides, hah-hah! Dinner was a decent fish & chips and it wasn't a late night for me...zeds ahoy, pleased that there's no need to wake early although I still will of course, hah-hah!
Casemates Square sort of alive!
So that is pretty much it. It was only a series of bike rides stitched together, not something big or clever. That said, I would rate seven or eight of those days amongst the most difficult that I've had cycling, as you might have gathered by reading this daily whinge-fest, hah-hah!

This is why it was worth doing...
Way beyond what I hoped we could achieve- you amazing people.
I know that some folk want value for money in their sponsorship and will wait to see whether a challenge is done before donating: if that's you, please click away below...

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So where we on the last stage and what did we do? Here you are for the final time...
Lovely Marbella to Gib...
And the slog up to O'Hara's Battery. That's it!
Right then, I'm off to shuffle around the streets of Gib in search of an agreeable spot for a long lunch.
I'll raise a glass to you all in a bit...cheers Ears!

The best introduction by my great mate Whisperin' Bob! Met him in Nashville once you know, lovely man. "So as I said to Bob..."

'Nuff said. You all rock!

The ride is dedicated to Mr Dave Adam. Go on Dave!