TransAndalus. Day 2: Embalse de la Vinuela to Melegis

Cycling the TransAndalus – Day 2

I never expected to wake up in a fancy hotel during my TransAdanlus ride, but that’s how things turned out after going grossly off course the day before.

Saturday 6 June 2015

  • Total Distance today: 65km (40.4 miles)
  • Total elevation gained today: 10,436 feet
    TransAndalus. Day 2. Map

    TransAndalus. Day 2. Map – JUST LOOK AT THOSE WRONG TURNS!!!

    TransAndalus. Day 2. Elevation Profile

    TransAndalus. Day 2. Elevation Profile

I enjoyed a luxury buffet breakfast overlooking the Embalse de la Vinuela before taking the road the climbs up to Ventas de Zafarraya to re-join the TransAndalus mountain bike trail.

I found the course directions very ambiguous here and couldn’t navigate the off-road section to Alhama de Granada. I spent more time scouting different trails and backtracking than I did heading in the right direction. I ended up on the road for the last section heading in to Alhama.

Most of the places I passed during the first 60km of today were familiar to me, having spent some time travelling here (by car) in 2014. Once in the province of Granada, the landscapes came alive with agriculture. The further East I went, the bigger the hills on the horizon.TransAndalus-BikePacking-Cycling-Horizon-Panaroma

After a coffee stop in Jatar, I followed the trail in the direction of Jayena. Annoyingly, the single track seemed to dwindle in to nothing. The directions I had seemed absolutely worthless. I wasted so much time testing out different routes, backtracking, and repeating. I eventually found myself on the plateau of Mesa de Fornes with no idea how to exit down in to the villages below. I ran out of water and suffered a series of flat tyres. I wasn’t enjoying it. It had taken me over 4 hours to get from Jatar to Jayena!

By the time I descended in to Jayena I was ready for a break. It was almost 4pm but I was only just having lunch. I felt fatigued. The forecast looked bleak: thunderstorms and a headwind. My intention was to find a place to stay in Jayena, but I felt compelled to make up for lost time, so I hopped back on the bike and set off. There were occasional claps of thunder in the mountains and clouds surrounded summits. I decided to come off course, taking a lower route rather than go high into a potential storm.

Coming off course was probably the worst decision I could have made. I think I got lost in the moment, enjoying the scenery, and before I knew it I had taken a road 12km South and was heading for the coast. I laughed it off as best I could, headed back, and after a series of other wrong turns (so many that I was expecting to have to sleep in the bushes), I finally descended in to Albuenas and continued in to Melegis where I spent the night. I arrived very late, just in time to catch some of the second half of Barcelona beating Juventus in the Champions League final. The place was bouncing. Fireworks were going off in the valley and the hostal where I stayed remained lively til 3am.

I had had an incredible day; a real roller coaster of mental highs and lows. Over 13 hours elapsed from start to finish, with over 9 hours of moving time.

View this ride on Strava

See full photos on Flickr

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