TransAndalus. Day 1: Málaga to Embalse de la Vinuela

Cycling the TransAndalus – Day 1

I had landed in Málaga airport the night before and did the essentials (assembling bike, visit to the supermarket to pick up some food) before settling down to bed. I couldn’t sleep. I had been awake, buzzing all night with adrenaline and couldn’t wait to get going. It was a relief to hear my alarm go off at 6am.

5 June 2015

  • Total Distance today: 148.2km (92.1 miles)
  • Total elevation gained today: 12,601 feet
    TransAndalus. Day 1. Map

    TransAndalus. Day 1. Map

    TransAndalus. Day 1. Elevation Profile

    TransAndalus. Day 1. Elevation Profile

I knew that this first day was going to be a great introduction to the TransAndalus bike ride, with just the first section offering 6,500 feet of climbing over less than 60km. I made sure I was on the trails before the sun was

After a short 8km stretch of road to exit the city, I was on the trails. Most of the terrain was nice, wide gravel track.

The climbs were sharp and slow, but offered magnificent views of the neighbouring mountains, the valleys, and of nearby towns Almogia and Villanueva de la Conception.

The sun rose high and the day was hot. The climbs had me in a lather of sweat. The landscape felt remote and hazy. The going was mostly slow, often trudging through dry soil, surrounded by olive groves. As I rode, an angry wasp came through my helmet, couldn’t get out, and stung me on the temple!!

I misread the directions some time after 50km and had to take a road (little did I know, this was the first of MANY wrong turns) and skirt around Torcal de Antequera. This added an unnecessary 16km on to my ride.

From Antequera, the official TransAndalus started and would continue East over the coming days as far as Almeria. I suffered three punctures (front tyre) during the rest of the day, and ended up getting VERY lost. I found myself on the banks of Embalse de la Vinuela, some 16km away from my intended finish point in Ventas de Zafarraya.

I had mixed feelings. I loved the adventure and the surroundings, but as the day grew darker, I cursed myself for being careless with directions, and wish I was rolling with tubeless tyres!

Today had been a tough lesson.

View this ride on Strava

See full photos on Flickr

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