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Chapter 20: Bikepacking the Altravesur-Alcutar to above Bayarcal in the Sierra Nevada

You can see my YouTube of my ride from Alcutar here and a YouTube of my month in Alcutar here

Being in Alcútar, I was located equidistant between two ways back onto the Altravesur route. One was to return to Juviles, where I’d left the route. The other was to ride to the next pueblo of Mecina Bombaron. I chose the latter. If I returned to Juviles, the climb up the sierra above Bérchules would have been too tough a day after four weeks off the bike. The climb from Mecina Bombaron was going to be slightly easier.

I was getting itchy feet into the third week of being in Alcútar and wanted to get moving but I wanted to stay until Rich could manage the pea-picking on his own. It was a little awkward, as I didn’t know how to broach the subject, and I think he felt the same, I think he'd had enough of me!

I was so glad, if a little surprised, when one evening Rich walked his dogs up to the cortijo and mentioned he didn’t think there was enough peas left to bother doing any more picks. I said I was happy to stay until he was sure and that I thought there was at least one more decent pick to do. So we agreed he'd think about it over-night, after checking the crop we agreed we would do one more pick, the next Monday, Day 76 of my tour, 3rd June.

It’d been great helping Rich, in return for him helping me, now and in the past. I’d got my trainers and Rich had his crop picked. We had lots of heated political debates! Lots of lovely meals, cooked by Rich, and he took me out for a great lunch at El Cercado, his neighbours’ restaurant. He also gave me 60 euros, that were most welcome. And I got to know him a little. I think he was glad to see the back of me, I think I annoy him, I am a bit of an annoying twat!

During my last two weeks in Alcútar the pea picking was quite sporadic, giving me many free days to prep Bay ready for returning to the route; I repaired a slow puncture on the front tyre by removing many thorns, letting the tyre down and pumping in more sealant. A good wash, lube and spanner check, plus removal of the Gorilla cage mounts and refitting them with new tape and cable ties. They’d taken a good few hits riding through brush and had turned slightly on the fork.

The days off also gave me time to do shopping and prepare myself mentally for the return to being alone in the mountains. I was enjoying my time in Alcútar, life was easy and safe. The thought of returning to the Altravesur was quite daunting, especially as the weather was heating up, now in the high 20’s. But cabin fever was setting in, I was ready to go. Not that I was bored, I just couldn’t afford do an