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Endurance.Net Home 2007 Al Andalus: Day 2

Day 6 (riding) (16/05/07) - Lynne Glazer

Today was one of the best days of the trip, hanging with the video crew for the first half through what must be some of the most magnificent terrain in the country. I used both cameras again, so that's why the filenames seem to be in two batches, wide and telephoto. Today we were headed to Arcos de la Frontera, perhaps the best known of the ?pueblos blancas?, white hillside villages.

Due to the gear, I took a taxi from the city center to the Feria, the equine fairgrounds where the horses had been stabled overnight. The backdrop of green hills and the slowly brightening sky and the special yellow sand footing was a spectacular backdrop for the horses warming up inside the partially covered arena's structure.

Two policemen in ballcaps mounted on calm bays escorted the helmeted riders through town, covering much of the same ground I had on foot the previous day. We stayed in front of the riders, behind ride manager Nacho's SUV. Video chief Alex drove, I hung out the window as videographer Frank shot from the pickup bed. The town was still largely in shadow at the early morning hour, but there was plenty of spectator interest. I spotted riders' crews on the bridge to cheer them on during this very controlled start, as well as other members of the traveling event including vets and officials. Official ride photographer Kristian and freelancer Angel probably got way better shots through town than me, though I thoroughly enjoyed my vantage point.

We ended up on a narrow cobble-stoned lane leading down to the road at the bottom of the gorge, and once everyone had collected there, the controlled start was over. Riders were quickly spread out, and much of the trail was single track through beautiful green hilly parkland. Early on, a gallery photo shows a couple of locals riding PRE horses in matching tan vests, tall boots and English attire, double reins on the first horse.

The limestone Sierra de Grazalema park is reputedly the rainiest spot in Spain with over 85 inches a year, so there are water courses everywhere. We zoomed from place to place, catching the front runners from alongside as well as when they'd approach us on singletrack - I often had to remember after shooting them approaching to turn around and get them leaving, because there was usually spectacular scenery behind them! One shot shows the reservoir below the town of Zahara de la Sierra. The park is simply massive, with 207 square miles.

There were three points where crews could meet their riders for assistance on the first leg. One of those was both amazingly lovely but definitely 4x4 material!

We descended on curvy roads to another white town, El Bosque, where we had a long wait for the riders. The vet check was in the town's bullring, which was populated by rotating groups of school kids and their teachers; there are shots of them in the gallery.

Lots of crew shots as we waited, the group shot is of the entire video crew. I sat on the town's entry median crafted of rock and enjoyed the view of the gardens across the street. One of the locals approached for a long conversation; he practiced his English and helped me with my Spanish - his family has operated the local mill since the 16th century, the Molino del Duque, which offers tours.

Finally the riders trotted down on cobble stone road through vineyards to reach us. First in was Josep Costa, who managed to hold on to his lead to the finish. In fact the first 4 riders stayed in the top 4 to the finish.

I hitched a ride with some of the vets to the finish, at a lovely golf club on the outskirts of Arcos. Golf and horses - a happy combination here. Riders had really slowed down as this was one of the hotter days. In the gallery is a photo of what looks like blankets over two stall doors to help provide some insulation from the western sun, and finish line photos which show the housing development for the golf course in the background, separated by large pastures; there were stables as part of the development.

The ride meal was served on the grass behind the clubhouse, well, at tables, but I opted to relax under a shady tree on the ground while transferring photos. A bunch of us had our hotels switched from what was originally planned, and it was to a traditional inn with a delightful view of Arcos. It was very relaxing once the photo work was done to watch the sun set, the lights in town come on, and eventually become picture perfect. I didn't bring a tripod along, but attempted some night shots anyway.


1 - Josep Costa - Olivia - 6:54:59  #3 (pairs)
2 - Carolina García - Risk - 6:57:16  #24 (pairs)
3 - Lise Chambost - Sahel de Gwenkat - 6:58:47 #15 (pairs)
4 - Carmen Masnou - Pinkfloid - 7:00:04 #2 (pairs)
5 - Pablo Brome - Vesana - 7:24:11 #17 (pairs)


1 - José León - Bulería - 8:12:27  #39
Lynne Glazer