Port Del Paller to Moixent
Still reminiscing about Spain, so bear with me for a few posts before switching to the long-awaited camper build and road trip across the west of the United States.
I don't think it would be surprising to tell you that Spain is a cyclist's dream. There are no shortages of great roads, broad vistas wherever you look, and of course, that Mediterranean weather, straight out of the door.
As a matter of fact, over the 3 months I spent in Valencia, I only drove twice, once to Jalón to ride with Phil (I highly recommend checking out his website!). And the other to Alicante.
Although I haven't ridden much in Spain, I could easily say that I quickly found a route that became one of the favorites within the first few weeks.
Admittedly, I geek over maps in general, throw in the heatmap, and you'll find me following every line on the map within my scope of riding for hours on end. That's beyond entertaining to me, and I really do see this as an adventure. I mean, how cool is it to look at a place on a map, build a route and go find out what's there to see and ride!
I guess it's one way to satisfy my curiosity at times, and that's how I found this gem of a route.
The route starts in the small village of Novetlè, where I spent a lot of summers as a kid. The Camino de Santiago de Levanten cuts through the village, traveling west takes you to the town of Canals where you can find one of my favorite bakers, María José (her own post will be released next week).
Once out you're out of Canals, the grades start getting into the double digits, a leg warming 17% up the 6 switchbacks over your first hill of the day.
The view from up top looking over both the southern and northern valleys is breathtaking, and so are the grades...
The next few miles descend into Aielo de Malferit, a small town on the west end of the southern valley, and the gateway to the Port Del Paller.
And just like that, you're out there, with barely any cars in sight and a handful of cyclists. With your back facing the valley, you climb up the pass through the winding roads passing by fields of olive trees dancing in the wind.
I'm easily amused by geography and the changing terrains, and honestly, cycling is the best way to experience that change. As you ascend, you start to see and feel that shift in the landscape and the air around you: towering pine trees, thick rosemary, and thyme bushes nestled within the rocky Spanish Tierra.
You get closer to the final pitch, which you can see from a mile away. The hairpin turn faces east and right there, the most spectacular view of the valley, all the way to the hills separating the valley from the Mediterranean sea.
The ride over the ridge can be brutal at times. The west wind comes in at speeds around 20mph head-on. However, the views are too beautiful to pay attention to anything else, headwinds included.
Honestly, the route's highlight is the descent down to the town of Moixent. It's not only worth it, but it's arguably one of the best I've ridden.
Moixent is one of those cute small towns you'll find throughout Spain. The people are friendly, and you get the feeling that you've known them for a while. I recall the first time I got into town and decided to get coffee at La Tasca. I met Eugenia, who quickly became a friend that I would visit once in a while to practice my Spanish. Of course, it helped that she spoke English too!
Cycling feels embedded in the Spanish culture itself, and this roundabout is one example of that. The cool thing about this structure is that it's pointing to the Port Cumbres De Valencia, the third climb on the route (the second part of the route deserves its own post, so stay tuned for that as well).
I'm no stranger to Spain. I spent a lot of my summers in valencia as a kid, hanging out with my family, helping grandpa roast sunflower seeds, and walking down to Xativa to grab a few snacks every once in a while.
However, I've never had the chance to bike there till now, and I am grateful for that. I've seen more of Spain on my bike than I've ever seen over the many summers I spent there with my family.
Thanks to cycling, I got to experience my second home with a new perspective, one that only cyclists understand.
Te veo pronto