Checking my watch I'm disappointed to see that it's only 5 minutes until my alarm will go off. I feel like I've only just gotten to sleep and now it's light and we should make a move and pack away. I hear the crashing of the waves on the rocks and open my door to a seaside paradise.
Two hours of leisurely tea, coffee and porridge later and we're ready to hit the road. It's a wrench to leave but there's the rest of the island to explore.
We take a little detour to the beach at Playa de Las Conchas and it's more than worth it. A white sandy beach with huge waves breaking on the shoreline and surprisingly we're not alone. There's a topless woman running along the sand and posing for the camera that her friend is weilding- possibly some kind of photoshoot but we leave her to it and settle down for a bit of peace and calm.
I spend the next 10 minutes doing some light yoga, stretching and breathing before we walk back to the road to rejoin our trusty steeds. From here we go North into a sandy piece of heaven. There's no-one here, just us and our wheels and the glorious trail.
As we turn back to head South we finally lose the headwind that we battled the previous day and it's like someone turned the temperature up on the oven by about 100 degrees! That headwind did have some positives after all, haha! As sand turned into gravel we wheeled back to the port to catch our ferry back to Orzola on Lanzarote. We had ten minutes before it left and then there wouldn't be another one for 2 hours but Charlotte wanted to check out a camp spot just outside of town so we bombed down to see it and raced back to make it with one minute to spare, phew! Time for a well earned rest on the ferry journey.
Back on the mainland we headed straight back to the bar where Charlotte had left her Garmin to find that no-one had even noticed and it was still plugged in and charging, haha, panic over. After stocking up with some grub from the supermarket we rode out of town to start our journey south. Turning off-road we were soon on a narrow, winding volcanic trail and I struggled with the incline as it was fairly technical. It always takes me a while to get back into mountain biking and after a tumble on a corner I bit the bullet and let some air out of my tyres as they were way too hard for this type of riding. Literally 100 metres later we popped out onto a black sandy track and then onto hard gravel and I was cursing myself as I knew I needed to now pump them back up again as it was a steep hill and I was bouncing all over the place.
If I thought yesterday was a baptism of fire for my lack of fitness then I was sadly mistaken. My heart rate was through the roof, I could feel it pumping in my throat and the lack of a breeze made it seem much closer to 30 degrees than it actually was. This is the sad reality of not riding much and lacking the hill fitness, let alone the off-road fitness. There's nothing to do but to keep going, grinding the pedals and wishing the metres away to the next flat part where I stopped to calm my racing heart. On the plus side, the view was pretty nice.
A brief respite with a bit of downhill saw us round a corner into a sheltered valley. There were terraces that looked like they'd been prepared to grow things in and as we climbed again we reached a section with a few men working the land. They shouted 'Ándale, Arriba Arriba' and I laughed, thinking of the little mouse Speedy Gonzalez and then waved at them as they got back to their hot work with whatever crop they were growing.
Reappearing back onto the road Charlotte saw a restaurant and needed more water but after a quick look it was closed. Nevertheless her resourcefulness came to the fore as she spotted a well in front of someone's house and proceeded to grab the bucket and go for it- just another thing to tick off the list of life experiences I suppose, haha!
The road took us up to our first high point of the day at Miramar del Rio where we shunned the 5 euro entrance fee and instead rode down a bit, climbed over a wall and sat eating our lunch with a view over the island of La Graciosa where we'd spent the previous night.
What goes up must come down and we enjoyed a nice, fast road descent (well mostly descent) that brought us to the little town of Haria, which looked a lot greener with lots of nice palm trees and giant aloe vera plants.
From here it was back to the trails as we headed up again where we found an incredible lookout point down to the coastline of Famara and beyond.
It never ceases to amaze me what goodies the trail gods have in store and it's part of the joy of exploring a new place - you never know what will appear to make smile or take your breath away.
Rejoining the road we climbed switchbacks up to Miramar de Haria. It was a slow slog, not particularly steep but long enough to cause me to feel rather yacky at the top. We'd been lucky as there'd been a good portion of cloud cover that took away the burning afternoon sun - without it I'm not sure I would've even made it up the hills. Our reward for the road slog was a cafe at the viewpoint and we both had a can of liquid magic - Coca Cola :-D
Not long after we had topped out we had a little stop to take in the views.
Then it was all eyes on the trail to see the bounty that lay ahead for our taking. As we started to roll down the hill I decided I was going to really enjoy it. I cranked up my speed pedalling like a nutter and then let the good times roll! A lovely gravel trail snaked down and I was beaming like a cheshire cat.
Weaving in and out of the rutted parts to find the fastest route I turned to see Charlotte grinning just like I was. 'I think I need to take back what I said', she shouted to me and I replied, 'I know, this makes it all worthwhile, doesn't it?'. It's funny how a fast, adrenaline laced ride can make you forgot the hours of hot, sweaty climbing but I'm pleased to say that I was all about the here and now as we raced towards the little town of Teguise. As Charlotte overtook me I watched her dust trail rise and wisp as I rode through it's wake.
We were through the little whitewashed town in a matter of minutes, it did look rather lovely but we wanted to push on to reach Famara before sunset and so it was back onto the trails out of town and heading towards the coast again.
Our friendly(ish) headwind was back as we rode towards our last big descent of the day and it didn't disappoint. Cresting the hill to see the coastline ahead of us there was a nice rocky gravel road to take us there - joy!
Reaching the end of the trail we rode past the popular surf beach and headed for the nearest supermarket to stock up on food and water for the night. Sat munching salty snacks on the curbside we were in a post-ride daze. With the last of daylight we set out back on the trail to find a camp spot for the night. Sandy coastal tracks greeted us and we were led again into a different world.
We literally rode towards a big fiery orange ball as the sun put on her daily show for us. More grins shared as we spun our wheels through the sand and into the sunset.
We stopped to watch the sun dip down below the skyline of the next town as the waves crashed to our right and the sandy desert and hills shone on our left.
What an incredible end to a bloody hard but good day. I wonder how there can be much more beauty for Lanzarote to show us but I'm sure we'll find out tomorrow. As for tonight, it's tents up, a pasta and veg dinner and some well earned rest.
Buenos Noches amigos!