The first real stage of our Andalusian training week initially takes us 40 kms along the Mediterranean coast. What a delight, to stretch your legs in the morning sun! Even though my “steady” group 2 are setting a tremendous pace. Particularly when, after 25 kms, we latch onto a group of Spaniards. Click, click, click... the gears drop down and we’re off. A really fun bunch of guys who are continuing on towards Adra, towards home, towards Almeria. Meanwhile we've caught the fast group as they make a pit-stop and, shortly afterwards, we turn off inland, towards Albuñol, where we have a slight lead as we reach the Serafin, the bar where we've scheduled our first coffee break. But the fast guys are party poopers and just carry on riding. Oh well, let them get on with it. We can get on with our coffee in the sun. But then we settle in and get stuck into the superb climb from Albuñol to Haza del Lino. 1080 metres of climbing over 20 kms, the views getting more spectacular all the time, back down the road, over the almond groves, the sea and, up ahead, the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Wow, wow, wow! The final kilometres then get a bit steeper, but the sun, the warmth and the views enable us to enjoy the ascent to the full. In Haza, at the top, we lap up the sun as the bocadillos, coffee and Cokes are brought quickly as we sit back in the sun at 1280 m altitude and scarcely want to leave. In the end we tear ourselves away and begin the headlong descent to Rubite, with awesome views of the Sierra de Lujar which soars above everything here. Downhill towards Castell, but not to the coast, but rather back up again towards Lujar. I really don't know this ascent to the Alto del Conjuro. In December Zbig and I just rode as far as the turn-off for the stony trail to Olias, which we followed towards the Sierra de Lujar. Today we ride into Lujar, with stunning, uninterrupted views of the Sierra de Lujar massif. In Lujar itself we come to a ridiculously steep section where Thomas and Sven wait, disbelievingly. “Is this the right way?” Of course, we're going uphill! Strange question! It's lovely here, really lovely. Over the final kilometres I ride uphill with Thomas. Terrific stuff! Then downhill. Also terrific! And into the chiringuito. How come they don't know what a shandy is here? Why isn't my Spanish better? How come I'm given a gin ‘n tonic instead of a shandy? Whatever! Cheers! What a superb day! And tomorrow we face the Cabra. With glorious weather!<bold>Report on the introductory ride (with no map)</bold>We did a lovely introductory ride from Playa Granada over the Alto de Moral, in around 20 degrees, lots of skin showing, and with a coffee stop in Castell de Ferro, then along the coast. 50 kms to stretch out the legs after the flight to Malaga and the bus transfer to the hotel. Perfectly prepared by Hagen, hats off to him! Now for our evening meal. We can look forward to more sun and more mountains tomorrow!<bold>Original description of E1.</bold>As a starter we take you off to the Sierra de Lújar. For the first 30 kilometres we can loosen out our legs along the flat coast road, in case anyone failed to make yesterday's introductory ride. As everywhere in Andalusia, there are very few cars around because a few years ago they opened a motorway which takes all the traffic. From La Guapa we turn off left towards the Sierra de Lújar and do a testing ride via Polopos to the Haza del Lino. A marvellous opening climb which has everything we expect of Andalusia - sun, mountains, views down to the sea, and on top one of the locals’ favourite bars in the region, located on one of the main crossroads for the surrounding sierra. The Serrano hams hang in the sales room and anything is available, from a bocadillo to the Bacchanalian menu. We then head for home via Lújar and the Alto de Conjuro. Anyone who feels that they don't need to save their energy for tomorrow has the fortunate opportunity to take it up the stretch to the transmitter on the Sierra de Lújar. An extra, challenging 34 km with 1100 m elevation gain on a poor surface. Sensational views from the top over to the sea and the Sierra Nevada. But today is also a good chance to drop in on one of the chiringuitos on the beach, since we won't often be back as early as today.