The Foothills Of Solana De Benicadell
A continuation of some of my favorite routes in the Costa Blanca Mountains in Spain.
This route is a hidden gem in the valley. It is one of those short rides, yet they offer so much variety of different views, hills, passes, and let us not forget the most essential thing, pastries!
If you haven't ridden in Spain before, or Europe in general, the feeling of riding from one town to the other is pretty unique here. I think it's partly due to the historical significance of these towns and regions and how they came to be what they are today over thousands of years.
All I'm saying is get used to feeling like you've only been on earth for a split second, and that's it. The chances of running into a building, a church, for example, older than the United States are pretty high. That made me even more excited to get on my bike and literary travel through time.
As usual, this route starts from the village of Novetlè and heads westward towards the neighboring town of Genovés, taking the backroads towards Beniganim, an Arabic word that means "Sons of Ganim."
You'll encounter many towns across Valencia and Spain with the "Beni" prefix. Showcasing the historical presence of the Muslims in the region. I'm amazed to see that the names of these towns haven't changed, given the historical events that took place all over the Iberian Peninsula.
Heading south towards the foothills, you'll pass through a handful of small towns, and you'll most likely be the only person out there if you ride during the weekdays.
La Pobla del Duc has a great bakery in the middle of town, and it became a frequent stop for me whenever I pass through there. Bakeries in these small towns tend to sell out quite fast, so get there early to score yourself a Napolitana or two!
Now the actual "foothills" part of the route starts once you get to the town of Ràfol de Salem. I don't know about y'all, but I tend to get hungry fast. So those Napolitanas from a while ago are pretty much burnt up!
Luckily, one of the better tostadas I've had was at El Racó de Vicent, another frequent stop on the route as soon as you enter the town. I mean, seriously, what's the rush?
I felt one with the wind on this road, almost flying in some sense. I'm not sure how to describe this, but when I get in the zone, my body goes into a fully automatic mode, I take in the views around me, and my legs do the rest.
I get goosebumps just remembering that feeling.
There is nothing but wind in my ears, vibration from the pavement, and this magnificent view.
The beautiful meandering road of the foothills is something that you have to experience for yourself if you ever get the chance to. Quite honestly, riding in Spain is not just about the weather or the endless beautiful roads. I genuinely feel that cycling there is somewhat spiritual in some sense. It feels like the streets were built for cyclists by cyclists.
Did I mention that throughout the 3 months I spent in Spain, not a single car came too close to me, and I never got honked at, not even once!
Some of my European readers might be asking themselves, "but isn't that normal?"
While it is expected in Europe, that's a dream of so many cyclists in the US (and Kuwait).
I'm glad to call Spain a second home, and Valencianos my family.
What gives you goosebumps on your rides?