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Nov
23

Spain Sierra Nevada

This is the second visit that Jack and I have made to Southern Spain, staying with Simon and Emma at http://www.freeridespain.com/

Flying into Malaga with the beach bum brigade on easyjet, we arrived within 20 minutes of each other, Paul arriving with Jack having been stung for £40 for his bike bag, but then again he did take a stack of stuff including half a dozen tubes and a track pump.

The riding in these parts is either straight up or down, one of the best rides starts climbing 100 yards from the front door of the house and carries on up for over 2 hours, turning off onto singletrack with the peak still a ways off in the distance. 

Everyone had their favourite trail over the week, there's plenty to choose from, be it wide fast doubletrack / fire road or tight technical singletrack, fancy a 14 mile epic, try the a trail starting on the outskirts of Granada, don't think a 14 mile trail could be an epic, ride it then decide.

For my money the daylong ride from Trevelez is a peach.

Driving up to the end of the tarmac, before climbing another 40 minutes on the dirt track we arrived at a barrier marking the beginning of our singletrack descent, after a breather and a bite to eat we dropped into the trees and head off on a tight and windy track over pine needles and snow, soon giving way to loose rock as we leave the cover of the trees and hurtle ever downwards.

We take a couple of breathers and change the riding order around, allowing Nick the other guide to film each of the riders.

I follow Simon down through a tight loose section and seen him fling his bike from side to side through some rocks, awesome, as I realise that I am travelling at a similar speed, there is no time to slow down as I too fire through thankfully not catching the pedals on the oh so close rocks, we stop shortly after, with views of the valley below and what is to come, discussing the trail so far, others arrive and we're off again, more singletrack before popping out onto a fire road for a short burst to a traverse, twisting and turning through the rocks and trees legs and lungs burning through the effort, trails like this are best the faster you go.

Each section of trail is subtly different, there's a bermed loose section that is constantly moving under your tyres, the trail shifts before your eyes as the rider in front disturbs rocks, kicking up dust making it hard for following rider to see what is to come, in places the trail divides, try as you might to stick to the well worn path sometimes circumstances mean you find yourself off line heading for a less well worn section cut out by someone before you who made the same mistake, back on line the deviations sometimes put you further behind rather than ahead, the most direct route is not the quickest, the trail goes round some stuff for good reason, as your eyeballs tell your brain there is a jagged drop to be negotiated, even disc brakes don't slow you down merely stop you from speeding up.

The last section down to Bubion is a well-remembered trials course of rocks, drops and switchbacks, the challenge being to ride it clean, no dabs, no chance.

Another short section leads us to the road and a couple of Ks to the long dusty fire road descent past quarries and remote houses to Orgiva before starting the 8 K road climb back to Lanjaron.

We get back in the twilight, shower, beer and food await, not necessarily in that order.

Its worth noting that the weather at this time of year can be a bit unpredictable, last year we were hiding in the shade of the trees for fear of burning our winter white flesh, this year no such luck, cold, coldest its been for a few years by all accounts, snow at sea level the day we arrived, these conditions prevailed through the whole week, warming a bit allowing shorts and t shirts to be worn by the hardy few.

Ryan air are just about to start operating a service to Granada 40 minutes away, Easyjet and Jet 2 already operate to Malaga 2 hours away, fancy some bike action on dry trails in the sun, even if it is cold, contact Simon on the link above and pays yer money.