Carmona - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

November 13, 2019

Carmona

Well, I added the photos and completed the captions first today, and looking down at them I see now that I’ve said almost everything already.  So, briefly: we got off to a slow start today, thinking we had a fairly short, leisurely ride ahead of us.  We planned to follow a route I found on  Bike map that describes itself as the best route to Carmona.

I include that link here so that you can study it yourself if you come this way, because we botched it when we left the outskirts of the city.  We were unable to find access to the dirt road we could see just beyond a fence, even though there were bikes and cars riding along it.  After several unsuccessful tries that took us through a private orange grove and to the running track of the university campus, we finally gave up when it started showering and decided to backtrack and find a different route.  This added ten stressful miles to the ride, nearly all of them on busy, unpleasant industrial roads.

I don’t doubt that the original plan is the right one, and it’s worth studying the Bikemap version carefully.  I can particularly attest that the final fifteen miles into Carmona, riding along the top of the ridge from Alcazar de Guadiana, is surely the best access from this direction.  Except for the first few miles of reasonably surfaced dirt it’s a fast, smooth, scenic ride all the way to the outskirts of Carmona.  Much better than riding the very primitive via verde that parallels it at the base of the bridge, which we followed on our ride from Carmona to Utrera  six years ago.  On that ride, Rachael memorably turned herself and her bicycle into a pretzel in the sand and couldn’t get untangled and up without assistance - which I was glad to offer, once I took a photo to help us remember the occasion.

Carmona, one of the oldest cities in Europe, is a distinguished place with a deep history.  The area has been inhabited since prehistoric times and the city has been continuously occupatied for five thousand years.  You don’t get to see any of it today though, and neither do we - we arrived too late in the day to do more than find our room, clean up, and think about dinner.  Come back tomorrow.

The Exposition Casino, one of the main cultural hubs of the city. Currently it’s hosting the annual Seville European Film Festival. We love European film! If only we’d known, and if only we could speak or read Spanish!
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Our route out of the city passes right by the Plaza Espana. Might as well pause for a last look, since we have plenty of time today.
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The North tower, and a bike I like.
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The helmeted hoard arrives at Plaza Espana.
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Jacquie GaudetAnd almost all on identical bikes! I count 13 white, 3 red-and-white polka dot (otherwise same as the white ones), plus 3 black bikes of slightly different shape.
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetAnd all wearing helmets, which is really unusual here. And all about the same age, except for a pair of chaperones. They’re a group of maybe 50 kids, possibly on a school field trip.
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3 weeks ago
We followed this well marked, easy to follow bike route all the way to the eastern edge of town.
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This is allegedly the best bike route from Seville to Carmona, if you can follow it. We failed though, at about mile 5.5, because we couldn’t find the access to the small road that follows the Canal del Bajo Guadalquivir. The marked route is wrong, because we're standing on an overpass looking down at it where we planned to hop on. It looks like the access is along a small path just southeast of the running track.
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Pretty funny. We both commented on how this overpass was just a bit spooky, with its low railings protecting you from toppling over onto the freeway below. It was worth a good laugh to come upon it again when we backtracked.
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After 12 pretty miserable miles, we’re finally back on route.
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I am sure there are many that relish riding on surfaces like this, with their rough textures and deep sand drifts waiting to grab your wheel.
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I’ve been surprised to see how moldy and disintegrating many of the cacti are. I didn’t realize they did this at the end of the season.
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Doesn’t fit our definition of rideable. In fact, it doesn’t really fit our definition of pushable.
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After pushing down into and then out of this trough, we pause to look back and are surprised. This is the castle of Alcalá de Guadaíra.
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Back on pavement (briefly), we pass through Alcalá de Guadaíra.
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Passing through a long cactus mortuary we start the straight shot northeast to Carmona, still about fifteen miles off. Level and smoother now, but still sandy and slow going. Not remembering how long this will continue, we wryly joke about whether we’ll arrive before sundown.
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Still on the dirt, but the ride is becoming steadily more beautiful. We’re riding along the top of the Los Alcores escarpment, the long ridge that terminates at Carmona.
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The views off the ridge to the plains to the east are vast and inspiring. This slows us down too, as Rachael gently reminds me from time to time.
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It’s great riding on top of this ridge, and much better than riding the not very green, not very rideable via verde along its base. We know from experience, after trying both.
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We pass through El Vigo de Alcor and beneath its castle, the final town before Carmona. We’re back on pavement again, and fly the remaining miles in front of a fair wind.
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Entering Carmona through the Seville Gate. We’re hardly pioneers here - the gate has been here in one form or another since the 9th century BC, when the Carthaginians built it to defend the city from the Romans.
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Looking north from Carmona from the viewing platform at the northern edge of town. The rise on the horizon is the range rising above the northern bank of the Guadalquivir, which flows East to west Just below it. We’ll get a closer look tomorrow at those impressive cliffs in the foreground.
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Video sound track: Lulubia, by Anat Cohen and Trio Brazileiro

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Ride stats today: 40 miles, 1,900’; for the tour: 1,607 miles, 50,900’

Today's ride: 40 miles (64 km)
Total: 1,607 miles (2,586 km)

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