I figured out I needed to try and get some cycling done the last day too and rolled down to Alcoi/Alcoy (562m), which was anyway just downhill from the hotel Pou de la Neu (1110m) and Port de la Carrasqueta (1025m). I heard with the hotel owners that there should be a bicycle shop down there and Alcoi/Alcoy is a city after all.
Maybe I had seen it when cycling through earlier, but remember I found it rather easily. Now the question was if they could somehow have a spare crank arm that I could buy cheaply, as a whole new crankset would cost a lot (and later I managed to get a new crankset paid for by insurance luckily). No, they could not sell that and there was not really any alternative shop to visit. However, the guys there were quite nice and suggested I could borrow a crank arm, if I could leave it back again. I decided to go with that and think I called the hotel to aks if they maybe could return it the next day or later when they had reason to visit the city and they agreed to to do that, so this all worked out fine and I was a bit late on my way, but at least now I was able to catch most of the passes left that I had hoped to visit.
Above here, I reached Facheca/Fachega (784m) that is an unnamed pass likely because of the location of the tiny village at the pass. Very nice here. I continued ahead to Castell de Castells and stopped for a coffee and sandwich (I think) while deciding that I would have to skip climbing the Collado de la Garga, that I had found to be an interesting and less well-known paved climb nearby.
Instead I had to continue straight ahead up the next pass, which was Coll de Bixauca (771m), which I had just reached in the photo here. This is also a nice pass.
Here are some nice views over the sea when approaching Tárbena.
Another photo of the very nice area.
Down at Tárbena, I turned north just to visit the very obvious Coll de Rates (628m) pass for the area that likely all local cyclists have been visiting. This was again in the wrong direction, but somewhat near and no real climb from where I came from. There is however a steep road up the mountain from the pass that I should have seen, but felt too hurried this day, so had to leave that out too.
Good views northwest above at Coll de Rates and here looking northeast.
One more photo after maybe cycling up a few metres on the road up the mountain.
Here is also a different sign looking south were I was going back again now.
The view south from Tárbena is nice and thereafter the road descends sharply in a twisting manner to Callosa d’En Sarrià (170m before). From there it is a long, long road up to Port d’Ares (966m).
Already on the descent from Tárbena one get a view of the towering mountains above Alicante (far away south on the other side) – the Serra d’Aitana.
Here I am on the early part of the road up the Vall de Guadalest to Port d’Ares. However, I had planned to take an odd road up there and to explore a curious side road. The Guadalest valley is one of the most green valleys in the region and it is a very nice valley.
I went down to the big Guadalest dam (rather long road down from the main road) and here I am standing on the dam building looking in the direction of where I was going (not where the valley is going).
Here I look back down the valley so far climbed and descended a bit again.
I followed the dam on a nice little road on the north side, but then took a right turn at the end and climbed very steeply up an asphalt road that I had some indications that it might had some concrete pavement up to a rather high pass and then a gravel road down the valley at Castell de Castells where I was earlier, but had no intention going back down there.
However, the asphalt soon ended and even if there might be some concrete part of the way up it surely started just as a gravel road, so decided to give up on that and get going the normal way again, but at least I got that confirmed. Had that road been paved, it would have been one of the nicest roads in the region!
What I had not seen from my studies beforehand was that the road back up to the main road via the Beniardá village is a quite steep road as well. Here first a photo from the top section of the asphalted road where I turned around and with decent views over the dam and the Serra d’Aitana.
Here I am arriving up on the steep main road through Beniardá (475m). At the other end of the village one meets a bigger road coming down from the main road and here is also a bar where I stopped for a coca-cola. Nice place.
Then it was still a long way up to Port d’Ares (966m). When I finally arrived at the pass it already started to get dark and I was not really back yet. Also, it goes dark faster down here than home in Sweden in Summer time. I hurried on down and now went quite fast up to Port dels Tudons/Puerto de Tudons (1031m), which was really the pass I should not miss to see no matter what, so I did not care that it would get dark before coming back, but I also had brought my lights with me just in case.
Up at the Tudons pass, the nice road that climbs higher than any other near Alicante is closed to visitors by a military installation (just like Puig Major on Mallorca) – silly people! I was not sure it would be inaccessible beforehand and had seen accounts of people cycling up there, but likely that was only on special days when they open the road to the public. Anyway it was dark, so not much to miss and a last photo of the closed gate.
Just as I stood there taking a photo of the pass sign (hard to see in my photo so not here) and putting on my lights and looking on the map, a car came out a side road to the Aitana road and man asked me where I was going. I said no problem I could find my way back and told him where I was going, but he thought it was maybe not such a good idea going quite a long way in the dark on very minor roads (as planned) up to the Carrasqueta pass. The nice man, Carlos Mendiola, suggested to get me there with his car as it was not too much of an extra drive for him going to Petrer/Elda, so I could not really say no as I very much also wanted to get dinner this last day at the hotel. We had a nice ride back and it turned out Carlos was a frequent cyclist himself (and we are since friends on Facebook). He also knew of the Pou de la Neu restaurant since before.
I had another lovely evening meal and was so very happy with how things had turned out. Quite an adventure for the few days! Here is the view in the morning from my hotel room.
Here with the patron/keeper of the hotel/restaurant as he showed me around before driving me down to the airport! Very nice family here.
Here is a look inside the snow house.
Here is the house from the outside – a very cool building worth having a look at if you are in the area.