Sierra Sur Mountain Bike Route - Alcala La Real To Valdepeñas De Jaen
Decided to do half of the Desafio de Sierra Sur Mountain bike race route with the help of Miguel, who has participated in the race many times and knows the route well.
To achieve this, we needed to drive two cars to Valdepeñas De Jaen the night before to leave one car for bringing back the bikes, plus riders of course, to Alcala La Real after completing the route the next day. We had to drive via Frailes as the bridge out of Castillo De Locubin had fallen due to the very severe weather and rain we have been having this winter. It was raining that night and so a question mark was over the ride the next day as if it was still wet we would postpone the ride for another day.
The morning dawned cold but clear as we got up around 7 am to ride down to town at 7.30am to meet Miguel and his friend Julian to start the route at 8 am. Set off out the back of Alcala La Real and were soon going up a steep climb out of the town and into the country and onto a track which we followed for some time and was a bit up and down and not too difficult…at the moment. During the ride, we encountered all types of terrain and given the recent wet weather some considerable mud and we had to walk through several streams over our ankles as the water level was high making it difficult to see the rocks below to ride through. I have to say there were parts of this ride that were a bit scary being fairly new to mountain biking but being in the country, no cars, gorgeous scenery, I really enjoyed it.
On the climb out of Castillo de Locubin, which was on a hard top with grooves across the surface, which is a testament to the steepness of the climb, I had to get off half way and walk and unfortunately, Julio’s chain snapped as he almost made it to the top. Once we were all at the top a decision was made that I would go on with the boys and Julio would free-wheel back down to Castillo de Locubin and wait there for us to pick him up later. Given we still had about 20 kms to go poor Julio was in for a long wait but there was not really much option as we had to go on to pick up the car.
Onwards and quite a few climbs upwards before reaching Valdepeñas de Jaen, one being long and steady which I managed to climb and the last being 2.5km but quite a bit steeper and more technical which I had to walk at least the last half.
Into Valdepeñas de Jaen and one last climb on the road into the town, my poor quads, where we arrived at the transition area for a 50 km walk through the Sierra Sur that was taking place today. Chatted with the organisers, whom Miguel and Julian knew many, and even scored a glass of gazpacho (cold summer tomato soup). We also met some of the walkers, including our friend and brother of Miguel, Oscar, who arrived at the transition area. Then after a small deviation riding up to the waterfalls about 1 km up the road, which were absolutely beautiful and full of water after all the rainfall we have been having. Walked up the path and over several bridges and took some photos, before returning and finding the car. Managed to get all three bikes racked on the car with the safety sign on the back, which luckily we managed to fix as we passed and were followed for a short way by the Guardia Civil who are quite strict about following this regulation.
Met Julio at the Cooperativa in Castillo de Locubin, racked his bike and back home to Alcala La Real just in time as when we arrived the heavens broke loose and it poured down with rain again!