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Stage 754 – Piedrabuena to Ciudad Real

So here’s the deal: there have been mountains north of the route (east) for the past four of five stages, and that continues to be the case. This stage starts west of Toledo (which lies north of where the route is just now, just over halfway to Madrid) but finishes east of it. The finish is still west of Madrid, just, but that’s getting tight too. The road needs to turn left, and hence north, pretty damned soon. But it’s not happening on stage 754. This one’s another real tester, running generally east/south east with a big lump of a climb before halfway and a shorter but messier one at two thirds distance. As stages go, this one’s a climber.

The rollout’s uphill straight off and the road has already climbed a hundred feet by the time it passes through Piedrabuena after two and a half miles. But that’s only the warmup. As the N-430 leaves town, it swings right and south east, crossing the Arroyo del Moral after three miles before heading up the valley between hills left and right. The gradient really picks up after the right hander at four miles, and from there to the summit where the CM-4109 heads off east to Picon, the climb is a real slog. Needless to say, but the summit is the highest point on the stage, while the starting pen was the lowest.

Off the top, the descent is much more measured: it’s longer back to to same elevation as at three miles, and that means the gradient is less steep. The road crosses then follows the line of the Arroyo de la Fuente del Pez at six miles, and by the time the road hangs a left at nine miles, just a mile east of Alcolea de Calatava, and just before the halfway kite, the vast majority of the climbing is in the rear view mirror.

There’s more water at nine miles in the form of the Arroyo de los Guedos, then the road remains relatively flat to Valverde at twelve miles, after which the highway descends gently to cross the Guaniana river on the left hander at thirteen miles close to the Castilla de Alarcos. From there the road starts heading north east and it rises in two parts between miles thirteen and fifteen, with a small dip for respite at halfway.

Once the road flattens out at fifteen miles, it rolls into Ciudad Real where it hangs a right onto the Calle de la Cruz de los Casados then a big one hundred and eight degree loop around the roundabout on the N-420a. That takes the route north into the town and the finish of the stage is at the ancient Puerta de Toledo fortified gate at the northern end of the city.

Distance: 20 miles / 32 kilometres

Ascent: 823 feet / 251 metres

RGT Magic Road: tjz3wZfAUAD2

Total distance: 18.97 mi
Max elevation: 2200 ft
Min elevation: 1751 ft
Total climbing: 822 ft
Total descent: -572 ft

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