Escaping from your daily business and get some good basemiles form my upcoming races like the Dirty River or the famous Transcontinental Race No. 8. Athought really important the testing of my equipment for the TCR upcoming july. This were the thoughts when i entered the plan from frankfurt (Germany) to Faro (Portugal).
It was my second bikepacking trip and simultaneously point to pont trainings camp on my own since i got infected with this kind of adventure on two wheels.
Beeing on your own means a lot to me. For sure, i love my girlfriend, i love my job and i am addicted to coffeerides with my friends at home. But sometimes, especially after a long winter on your indoor trainer, it was time to break free and enjoy the silent of the portuguese and spanish landscape without all this daily stress at home.
Arrived at my home of heart in Portugal, i enjoyed a pizza with my friend Marco and his wife at the oldtown of Faro. The next morning i started my one week voyage to Murcia in Spain.
Like every bikepacking tour, the first kilometers are a big difficult. The bags are always fixed a bit wrong, you realized you forgot some stuff or you just eat to much. This time it was more about these circumstances because i have to start uphill to the highest point oft he Algarve.
Riding through the orange plantation, the sun shining and some tailwind it takes only some minutes to got fully enjoyed and into my rythme.
The first stages tooked me alongside the coast to the spanish border and then directly to Seville. Seville everytime is worthwhile. Yes for sure it´s not a place where riding bike is a special experience. Seville is a metropolis and a tourism hotsport. But if you know where to ride and how to ride, you could reach some beautiful places like Plaza de Espana or a small coffeebar called Jester. If you ever plan to go to Sevilla, visit Jester! An amazing place to have a breakfast or lunch. Like i said in my previous travelogue here at 3Tbike, i am a big fan of cinnamon buns and cause to my own coffee business with LENAS COFFEE BRNAD, i am ALWAYS looking for a place like Jewster in Seville. Fair prices and outstanding quality.
Starting with a breakfast like this was boost to manage the long and rought road to Ronda. Always up and down, lot of wind from all directions made the day a real challenge. But like most of my bikepacking days I got a happy ending. Sitting at Ronda for a coffee, i met a group of german cyclists. They offered me a bed and breakfast in their appartmant above the roofs of Ronda. What a view and what a dinner. Big thanks to Silke, the vegan bowl was a blast!
I had to eat a lot due to the next day was calling. The plan was to ride 220 km with around of 3500 altitude difference to Sierra Nevada mountain finish at 2200 meter atop see level. With a good pair of legs and a lot of fun I managed to ride more than 30 kilometer average to Granada. This day should be a test for my participation in Dirty Reiver in april. Everything went perfect and I reached Granada in time to conquer the Sierra Nevada climb. In Granada it was approximate 25 degrees, on the small mountain village on top it was covered in snow. Dinner and accomodation was lean and it´s not a place to be. Just saying….
With a half day off and a coffee in mind I started day four with a long descent into the wild wild west of the Sierra dessert. After 70 kilometer the day ended in a quit hamlet. I founded a tipical spanish coffee bar and enjoyed my day. Just me and my bike leaning against the wall. Perfect regeneration after the previous day.
Day five: Riding out of Sierra to the mediterranean sea coast with long sections of gravel roads. My tire choice, the Schwalbe G-One Allround (40-622), was ideal. Right now I am able to tell you, that the whole trip drained off without a puncture. The closer i got to the coast, the more the wind blew. The endless roads and the wind made it a mental game. With a lot of hunger I reach the last housing before reaching Murcia. One more time a two star hotel alongside the road with nothing to offer. But even that is the characteristic thing I am looking for at adventures like this. Me and my bike. No stress, no luxury and no reachability.
The last day to Murcia was a kind of shock. While riding across Almeria near Murcia, i discovered this terrible greenhouses full of tomatos and other vegetables. As far as i could see, the whole landscape was full of these plantations. There was no space for real landscape or wildlife. Absolutly shocked I tried to came out of this region. It confirmed me in buying my vegetables and fruits local at my hometown marked.
Some short and steeps climbs after this experience i reached Murchia safe and sound. It tooked me around 1000 kilometer to rid from Faro to Murcia and most of the time far away from hotspots or bigger cities. It was a nice way to discover Spain and it´s people. It was a good test for my equipment and my shape fort he upcoming races.
Apart from my own coffee business I am a Epicure and during all my bikepacking trips, like last years Oslo-Meran or the Torino-Nice rally, I am trying to find well tasting coffee and cinnamon stuff. After all I could tell you, that most of the spanish coffeebars brewing a brilliant coffee and in combination with tortilla espanola it´s one of the best things during a long day with your bike.