Cycling La Vuelta a Cavell Verde - Vall de Laguar and Vall de Pop in Marina Alta

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Wednesday 4 March 2015

Cycling La Vuelta a Cavell Verde - Vall de Laguar and Vall de Pop in Marina Alta

Having hiked along the Cavell Vert ridgeline and enjoyed the spectacular views the previous day, we were especially excited to take to our bikes this lunchtime to tackle this cycling loop of the adjacent Vall de Laguar and Vall de Pop either side of that imposing ridgeline. This ride, which included was our first real climbing since leaving the Pyrenees, also took in flattened plains of orange and almond groves alongside some spectacular and expansive views of the Mediterranean coastline and surrounding mountains. Primarily on good tarmac roads with some slightly rougher sections of uneven concrete, this 30km loop with some 638m of steep ascent, we found to be a great way to enjoy the region from the saddle.

Starting out from Camping Vall de Laguar we picked up the minor road to the village of Fleix where we joined the CV-721 which climbs up the Vall de Laguar. Sweeping through almond groves on either side of the road, we soon passed through the village of Benimaurell where the route included an especially steep kick to really wake our legs up for what was to come.

As the CV-721 continued on towards the head of the valley the gradient was continuous undulating with gentle section of 3-4% connected by 10% plus sections that had us both out of the saddle and pulling hard on the bars. With today being the hottest day yet since arriving in Marina Alta, getting close to 30C in mid-afternoon, it definitely didn't take us long to get a good sweat up as well.

As we climbed the Vall de Laguar we could look behind us and see the same expansive views we had enjoyed so much from the Cavell Vert ridge walk the previous day, with beautiful almond trees in blossom lining the road.

As we reached the head of the valley at 755m after around half an hour of climbing (and photographs) the gradient slackened briefly before the road began to descend steeply into the Vall de Pop. With green hills on the horizon we followed the switchbacks, braking sharply to avoid tumbling into the almond groves all around us. Initially the surface was good, but then as we passed around halfway on the descent the tarmac started to alternate with sections of broken up concrete and gravel that had us slowing right down.

Fortunately our hybrids were up to the task and we soon joined the CV-720 which runs along the Vall de Pop, where we turned east to power 5km down the valley into Benigembla, then onwards another 5km to Parcent. The roads were quiet apart from several fast moving road cyclist pelotons and we revelled in the the easy rhythm we adopted for these flatter plains through the orange groves with the vast bulk of the Cavall Vert ridge on our left.

At Parcent we turned north, taking the CV-715 to Orba where we picked up the CV-721 once more to head back into the Vall de Laguar. The climbing began again soon as we tackled the combination of long slow bends and tight switchbacks, still alternating between ultra steep and gentle ascending.

However, feeling strong beneath the hot sun we powered up the climb and in what seemed no time at all we arrived back at Campell and returned to Camping Vall de Laguar after a shade over 2 hours, although it had seemed much shorter. It had been a thrilling ride and, as we sat in the sun whiling away the rest of the afternoon, we felt very pleased with our 2 great hikes and cycle ride during our 3 day stay in Vall de Laguar.

Cycle Information: 
Motorhome Base – Camping Vall de Laguar
Start/ End Point: Camping Vall de Laguar
Distance: 30km
Ascent: 638m

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