Alpujarras

Expecting merely to revisit the superb trails from 20015 proved an injustice both to Ciclo Montana’s renown and the treasure to be found in the Alpujarras. Relaxed yet, professional a week in this beautiful rugged region of real Spain, is far from a stroll in the park but does give you exactly what you went for; dry, lung-busting uphills of indecent length followed by DH you can only dream of in blighty.
Sunday’s sussing out session over to Capileira gently reacclimatized from the oft forgiving Lancashire moorland to the savage, dusty dry rock of the Sierra Nevada
Upping the ante: Spain’s highest village, Trevelez appeared via signature switchbacks; the return route GR8, honing the balance in preparation for the reputed 70 twists and turns down the camion to Lanjaron on ‘dia tres’.
 alhambra

 

Trusting some statto type had already done the maths, concentration was duly paid to gripping the saddle with gluteas and trusting the old maxim; “speed is your friend”. After the tortuous climb back out of Lanjaron where a mule train embarrassingly overtook us not once but twice, the dusty slide down towards Canar had Jiminez recalling Danish speedway stars of old. Polka dots came more to mind though as Marco announced that the finish line involved a ‘Le Tour’ climb back to the minibus.

 

 gary Web reviews, remarkably seen by Jurassic on his steam powered ‘pewter’, hinted at a more ‘cultural’ excursion from the cosmopolitan Sierra Nevada ski station down the old ‘Iceman’ route to Granada….. sounds OK, reasonable.

The resulting ride completely redefined the ½ day epic and encapsulated everything one bike ride could EVER include.

 

The bus ride up to the ski station left a nervous disposition as to how the hell we were gonna get back down again to Granada in one piece. What transpired was a superb mishmash of technical singletrack. Phew ! made it down then. Ha ! that’s only the warm up.

 

After a dangerous, unscheduled cross-town detour to Dr Bike the clock was ticking as we ascended the hills beyond the Alhambra to complete the tricky dusk, descent down  to the Moorish old town to catch the stunning sun setting behind the Alhambra.  bill
Knowing we’re starving there’s even time for Marco to squeeze in a Tapas Bushtucker Trial with 3 bowls of steaming, Garlic ‘caracoles’ to be slid down the gullet.

What a ride; altitude, dangerous descents, stunning sunsets and snails for tea. And just when were winding down; as if summoned by the flamenco guitarist in the plaza, 7 or 8 Granadan free-riders skid into the square and offer an impromptu tour of the Albaicin.

  snails High Plains Drifter meets the Italian Job as the finale to the ½ day (midday to midnight) sees us blasting through the narrow, cobbled, old town streets at reckless speed, fuelled more than adequately with a heady mix of ‘cerveza’ and mollusc protein.

 

Bloody hell !!! What a ride – what a week. Muchos, muchos gracias to Mark, Jacky and Mark for putting the effort in to make such a wonderful thing work.
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Blackburn and District Mountainbikers Ride Report

Sunday 5th March 2016 – Garburn Pass
Riders:… Sean, Nigel, Jimmy, Donna, Peter, Bill & Matt

We’d grouped at Roe Lee around 9am and left there about 9.15 with bikes and cars juggled for the journey to Ings. Billed to be a Stavely start for the ride, we actually conveniently parked in Ings just beyond the garage and church near the Windmill Pub.

We left the cars about 10.40 am. crossed the road and unwittingly started out on the intended back leg first, but decided to continue with this clockwise direction. This route takes a NW bearing from the A591 and heads towards Moor Howe on tarmac.  It’s a steady ride with gentle climbs.  We pass two tracks leading off right…the first leading to Grasgarth, and the second to High Borrans.

 

The track we required is called Dubbs Road and passes Dubbs Reservoir on the left side.Unfortunately we discovered there is little to distinguish this track, which leads away right from a left bend in the road. The snow was evident as it still laid on the track and there were accompanying massive puddles with crushed ice from the wheeled traffic, spanning the width of the track.
The track narrowed, became more technical for patches and there were spectacular views from along the open stretches looking west to Coniston and NW towards Hellvellyn.We followed this track through a few gates and quite quickly we joined the lower section of the gated Garburn Pass.The bridle pass was three side turned sleepers. We immediately stopped to admire views towards Kirkstone Pass Troutbeck side and the snaked trail up which we’d ridden in thick mist to High Street a couple of years back.
Re-grouped, we started the climb and encountered ice slicks and crept around the edges – this was quickly labelled the Garburn Glacier!  Much of the stoned part of the track we rode and some was just too challenging either because of the ice or gradient or rock – in equal measure. However we all agreed on reaching the summit that actually we’d never ridden so much of it!
This was in part because of our increased experience, low gears available, some “sanitization” of the track, and to some degree thanks to the presence of Donna in the group since we all had time to rest and recuperate and prepare mentally for each section ahead.
Down the other side it was brilliant.  The sun had warmed our backs during the early stage but it was only just arriving on the trails on the up side. Here it was lovely! Ice flows were minimal and where it existed there was normally loads of opportunity to edge down the side or cross gingerly. Matt and myself flew down and grinned at each other at the bottom. Looking back we could see Donna walking her bike in the highest visible rocky & technical bit so we decided to walk it back up as far as we could to meet her and then to ride back down.  Wheeeee!
Below the Z’s we stopped in the sunshine to take on board some food and fluid. Brilliant! We then continued to the fallen rock and then descended all of the way to the church in Kentmere. On the way up to Maggs Howe Donna spotted deer & they stayed long enough to get a snap We just followed the signs to Maggs Howe!
It’s high up on the hillside above Kentmere on the east side and is a real treat.It’s in the picture…somewhere! Today we arrived as a cloud passed and so we retreated into the conservatoire for hot chocolate, scones, cake, and tea cakes – yummy. We actually sweated there in the sunshine trap, doffed outer layers and still had to open the window! It was a haven! Outside were wonderful views Then it was off for the return to Ings
We climbed steadily to Whiteside End, passed through a gate ..then we enjoyed some crisp single track to marshy puddles at Mickle Moss, and with time in hand detoured towards Hugill Fell, and were rewarded with a spectacular final descent down a narrow iced lane from Hugill Hall nearly all the way to the cars…Brilliant!
Another good day was completed with a spectacular choice of ales at the Windmill Pub, which brews its own beers and imp[orts the best of the country’s offerings – my choice Moonraker @ 7.5% – good job I wasn’t driving
And the choice of route. Actually it has major benefits over the intended anticlockwise direction.The morning is harder and provides a longer day to deal with the unexpected along the Garburn pass. In this direction it’s actually more ride-able on both sides! To arrive at Maggs Howe after completing the major assault could offer a recovery from exposure if the weather was not as good as we enjoyed today. Then in the afternoon, Mickle Moss is an easier option thus a gentle return, with choices depending on the weather. whereas – facing the climb over Garburn after relaxing in Maggs Howe is probably not the best idea..with the day more gone you still have the hardest work to do!
  • Trip miles 12.3
  • Ride time about 3 hours
  • Actual time out  4 hours 20 mins. – the difference enjoyed looking at splendid views, taking photos, eating buttered tea cakes and drinking chocolate at Maggs Howe! All paid for by Nige!
  • You can’t beat it!

 

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