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Chapter 15: Bikepacking the Altravesur-Jayena to Albunuelas

1st May 2019

You can see my YouTube on this ride here

I’d hoped to wake in a better frame of mind the next morning, I hadn't felt well the night before and I felt quite grumpy. I had a decent night's sleep in the tent and woke quite early with the sun just starting to filter through the trees. I really wanted to get my shoes dry, so spent a lot of time tracking sunny spots with my trainers, to keep them in the rising sun, I did the same with my solar charger, as I needed to charge my power supplies.

I set off, on this red-soiled plateau, it was mainly woodland, and quite an expanse, as though the top of a mountain had been cut off! Perhaps it had been, to facilitate the aircraft testing station?

Immediately I took a wrong turning and had to back-track, it was a nice flat ride on the plateau, then I was expecting a downhill ride into the close-by pueblo of Jayena. But no, lots and lots of climbing on the trail which eventually ended and was at an expanse of machine dug soil, where recently cut fire-breaks had trashed the beautiful sierra. It was hard to find the trail among this mess.

I found a signpost, but it was a little ambiguous, two trails nearly in the same direction but to different places. I decided to take the one I thought it wasn’t, as I was usually wrong! Alas this took me higher and higher, I could see the pueblo, and knew I should be going down. I’d ended up in the brush on the mountain side.

You can’t imagine or capture in pictures how precarious that is, there’s long grasses, prickley bushes, rocks and shale. Holding a bike to your side, stopping it falling down the mountain, as well as keeping your footing is quite difficult. I felt a bit desperate, I’d gone too far down the brush by now to back-track, eventually I saw below me the trail I should be on. So I had to tentatively get down the slope without dropping Bay or falling myself. It tested me! And this sort of thing bashes the hell out of the bike, the derailleur constantly getting tangled in the brush, the chainring hitting rocks, with sticks and grass getting caught in the chain and wheel spokes.

I was so relieved to get onto the trail, it was a mountain edge single-track, and was so fabulous. Mostly downhill, sometimes steep, sometimes rocky but a good ride down into Jayena, via a pretty river crossing.

I stopped in this sleepy pueblo for a bocadillo and a coffee, it seemed a little weird, I didn’t know until the next day that it was a public holiday, that’s why nearly everything was closed, and why so many people were sitting in the street!

I took a look around, there