This routes represents the usual training loop for many of the local cyclist. It starts with a long but gentle assumption to the “Tunel de la Gorgoracha”. It then goes down to Velez Benaudalla which is a one of those Andalusian traditional White villages.
You will then cross the river Guadalfeo to get back on a flat and rolling road that will bring you all the way to the beach before to head back to Motril’s town centre.
Anecdotes: When coming from the north and when it was the main entrance point to Motril, it was usage to say “Africa starts at the Gorgoracha Tunel”.
Distance: 67 km
Maximum Elevation: 785 m
Total climb: 1620 m
Starting Point: La Explanada, Motril
La Explanada is Motril's largest square. It was built on the 60s and it’s architecture on what the side building is concerned is the typical one of that time.
With its large number of palm trees it constitutes a pleasant place where friends and families meet. On the other side of the road is situated the El Cerro de la Virgen and the Parque de las Américas. I invite you to have walk around once you are off your bike.
After getting out of town through a serie of a few roundabouts, you will start heading up towards Pueblo Nuevo. After a few kilometers on your left you will pass next to Motril’s Ferial. It may look like a deserted area, like a far west ghost town. In fact this is only used a week every year to celebrate the Virgen de la Cabeza. At that time it becomes a huge theme park as well as something similar to festival/open air disco with all its Casetas.
Once you get to the Pueblo Nuevo’s roundabout, make a left. From this point the road starts slowly going up. Be careful of not overdoing on this first segment or you will struggle later on. Remember that this is a 14 km ascent to the top of El Conjuro.
This first segment goes through a road mostly fenced on both side due to a serie of fields, green houses, and houses situated on the lower part of this mount.
Once passed the junction to La Granatilla, a road of a more mountain style will start.
Note that from the village of La Granatilla, you can also attempt the ascent on a MTB single track. This area is actually also used for Downhill competitions.
Here the gradient starts going on something similar to 10%. A small flat rest and up again on between the pines and their shadow. From here one of the most stunning view on the coast and the mountain towards Almunecar.
Now you will turn to the other side of this mount. It may not look as hilly as the part you just pass but it’s actually for what I am concerned the hardest part of this assumption.
There is very little traffic on this road and the pavement is in good shape, so you can focus on your ride and enjoy the scenery. Looking down on your right you may notice a very large amount of greenhouses. On a sunny day they would look like if that area was also part of the sea itself.
Continue your way up to the junction that will bring you to the top of El Conjuro. As you can see on the video, you will be passing through a windmill farm which on a windy day would make a strong noise. Their shadow on the road reminds me the shape of a swimmer doing backstroke.
A last 3 kilometers effort and you will get to the top. There stop a bit to wear something warmer if it’s winter time. The weather is usually good but with the wind and going downhill you may feel a bit cold. While you stop here you will see a road going left: that the access to the radar military base also know by the local as “los huevos del colonel” (something like th colonel’s balls!).
On a windy day be careful when attending the descent as it could pull you down in the curves.
This is not a very fast descent so you will still have to push on the pedals. However it’s full of curves and if you go fast it can get somehow technical. You will continue your way through a pleasant pine area that will bring you to the village of Lujar.
Lujar is one of the typical Pueblos Blancos (white villages). If you are already getting out of water, take the occasion to fill up your bottle at the village fountain. Once passed the village, a few more kilometers and you will get to the bottom of El Conjuro.
From here starts a quick road alongside the rambla (dry riverbed). Not the most scenic part of the route but on a good day with the back tail wind you will easily hit above 40 km/h pace.
That brings you all the way to Castell de Ferro (iron castle) which is a village where the rise of tourism related activities has replaced fishing as a way of life. On top of the hill above the village remains a defence tower from the time where the Arabs were the masters of the place.
You can have a stop here alongside the beach and eat something as you are now half the way done with this route.
Leave the village and start making your way up to Gualchos which is another of those traditional white villages. It’s a steady gradient up to the village with a large number of curves.
It’s only after Gualchos that you will hit higher gradients where you may struggle a bit as you are now quite advanced into this assumption.
You will finally get back to the junction that you took to go up El Conjuro. You are now familiar with this display of windmills!
Enjoy the quick way down hill, but make sure you don’t get back to Pueblo Nuevo as the route will bring you back to Motril via El Camino del Canal (the canal’s lane). Nowaday the canal is actually covered so you won’t have the chance to see it. But get ready for crossing another rambla and a get trough a few kicks.
That will bring you to the north of Motril which you will cross through its main avenue, La Calle Nueva (the new street) to get back to your starting point, La Explanada.