Day 9: Valencia to Castellon, Spain

Sagunt, Spain with medieval fortress and Roman ruins

Riding in southern Spain was too hot, too smoggy, too hilly, and too dry, so, after a nice stay in Granada, I took the bus to Valencia. That wasn't bad, although it did require boxing my bike. I got to Valencia late at night and, after fixing some problems resulting from transportation, and dealing with horrific traffic, got to a hotel in the old part of the city. With airconditioning and a very comfortable bed, I had a good night's sleep.

In the morning I explored the old city and walked on the greenway. Then I got back to my hotel, did some more work on my bike, used a nearby internet service, had lunch, and headed north for Barcelona. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera this morning, so I have no images of the old city. It was fun and felt Mediterranean and I'd like to get back for a longer visit.


Riding into Castellon

I'm in Castellon now, about 45 miles north of Valencia. I only got lost a couple of times getting out of Valencia, all connected with the fact that the route that I had chosen - and checked with the clerk at the hotel - turned out to be one way in the wrong direction as it left the old city! I rode to the perimeter road, which circles around the old city, to the greenway, which was a bit exciting, but, since I'd waited till after 2 - Spanish lunch hour - to start, the traffic was merely heavy, not insanely heavy. Then I rode out N-340 - or at least that is what I eventually ended up on. I think I was on it from when I left the greenway, but the signs are such that I couldn't tell.

Leaving Valencia on N-340 - this is light traffic!

Opps, N-340 as an Autovia

And, a few km later, leaving the Autovia at Sugunt

Eventually, it became obvious that I was on N-340, and shortly there after it became an autovia. There were no 'no bicycle' signs and that stretch turned out to be for only a few kilometers. Then it went back to being a two lane road with great shoulders and VERY heavy big truck traffic. Other than noise, and the occasional truck that used a bit of the shoulder, the heavy traffic was only a problem because of noise, and even that wasn't bad enough to get me to put in an earplug. The big trucks may have been there because the toll on the A7 autopista, which pretty much parallels N-30 up the coast, are quite high.

Heavy truck traffic was the norm almost all the way

It was still decent riding, and, once I got near Almenara, I saw quite a few recreational bicyclists on N-340 despite the fact that this was where the truck traffic was heaviest. I got passed by two bicyclist today, both dressed up and riding really fancy road bikes. The strange thing was, that these expensively garbed guy on their 20 pound bikes, were, at most, a few mph faster than I was on my 90 pound bike with a full set of bags. If I had been riding my racing bike I would have been as fast or faster than any of the riders I saw today.

They are rather snobby - not one of 'em acknowledged my greeting - but quite slow. They ride at high cadence, but not very fast . Riding in the Sierra Nevadas, I saw two really fit riders: a girl on a mountain bike who passed me early on a steep climb and a guy on a road bike that passed me 1000 feet vertical later, but the riders I've seen on the flats haven't been impressive.

Since I left after 2, I decided to ride for about 4 hours or 50 miles and. I ended up covering 45 miles in about three and a half hours. That is a 13 mph average speed, which is pretty good considering that my average speed on the first ten miles of the trip was more like 11 mph. The only interesting town on the way is Sagunt, which has a great medieval fort, and Roman ruins. According to my Let's Go book, the resident of this area are famous for holding off Hannibal's army in an eight month siege, in the 3rd century BCE when this was a Phoenician city. In the end, they all starved to death rather than surrender.

Typical views, traffic, and shoulder on N-340

Sometimes I could see the Mediterranean Sea in the distance and, almost always I could feel the cooling wind coming off of it. The riding was not nearly as hot as riding in Granada, in part because it was much flatter, but mostly because of that cooling breeze.

When I decided it was time to stop - I was pushing fairly hard, so I ran out of energy after about 40 miles - I chose Castellon because it was the biggest town in this area. Riding into town wasn't very impressive. I stopped when I saw a nice looking hotel in the midst of rather drab surroundings. I think it was a good choice. I had already decided to go for air conditioning because, although the day time temperatures here are a lot lower than in Granada, the night time temps are not as low and the air is much more humid. I wanted a good nights sleep, so I stopped at a two star hotel instead of a hostal. I am assuming that there are hostals and other hotels here.

My room

For my 50 E, with breakfast, I have a room that is three times the size of the one I stayed in last night and has a bathroom as big as the hostal room, with bath, that I stayed in in Cordoba. I think that one cost about 40 E without breakfast, so this one is, relatively, a bargain. It really feels like this should be a three star, rather than two star, hotel.

I was able to bring my bike up to my room, which is great since I still needed to work on it a bit. This room has so much floor space that it was easy and thanks to the air conditioning, very comfortable to work here. I fixed a couple of minor problems, cleaned and lubed my chain with Rock and Road Extreme lube, and discovered that my rear tire, which was feeling like it had a lump before I left the States, has a sidewall bulge which, I think, indicates some kind of tire cord failure! I'll keep an eye on it and hope it doesn't get worse. I do have a spare if it does.

I didn't get supper tonight, so I finished my on bike supplies instead. That was not a great supper, burp, but I didn't need a big supper tonight after my relatively short ride. The breakfast buffet starts at 7:30, so I'm getting to bed soon - it is 11 PM - and I expect to wake up hungry and ready to take full advantage of the buffet. The primary reason I didn't get supper was that I didn't want to leave my room. This room has one of those fancy slots by the door where you insert a card attached to your key to 'enable' the room. If I left, the air conditioning and the battery charger for my camera batteries would be shut down. I decided to go hungry rather than interfere with my camera batteries charge cycle!

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