Climbs of the Unexpected
Taking the car to Playa de San Juan, we cycled along the coast to Los Gigantes for a gawp at the mammoth cliffs before another steady as you go climb up the hillside. The first section was steeper, which is always a good find, and we stopped for coffee and tortilla in Tamaimo, at the top of it.
Feeling on form, we chose a slightly longer route up to Santiago del Teide where a surprise ascent loomed above us. On the map, we'd assumed a downhill from here as the main road drops downwards and there were no contours to see. Given it's our last day, we squeezed in another cafe before pacing ourselves for the unknown road to Las Manchas and the ridge above. I'd mapped all the other rides so we knew the gradients and ascents but this whole ride was an extra, on the hunt for a lighter but scenic option than what was left on my plans!
It turned out well; lovely tarmac and a surprise of cycling through lava flows that had tipped over the crater walls above. Two hundred years post-eruption and only the odd plant was beginning to take hold. It's an eerie place!
We then enjoyed an exhilarating descent of 3,500 feet - a magnificent and perfectly winding road back to the coast, joining the banana plantation from day one. It was even better than we'd remembered.
Time left for chilling, sunbathing, returning the bikes and packing. The Sardinian bike man was right again... Cracking holiday!