Great Mountain Bike Routes in Andalucia - GR7 2010 - Day Two Torres to Cazorla
A late departure from the hotel in Torres did not bode well. Tony had two punctures before we even set off! He must have been carrying a spare one. 10am loomed large and we still hadn't set off. 10k per hour, 80k, we needed to allow 8 hours. 10am meant a 6pm arrival in Cazorla at the earliest. I knew what was coming and how heat effects people. Today was going to be tough.
Despite Burgers trying to wipe me out within the first 20 minutes, the first few hours went well. A cracking single track descent into Albanchez was followed by clay caminos baked as hard as concrete in the sun. These access roads for the endless miles of olive groves have varying states depending on traffic and weather. Either topped with loose gravel making traction a problem, or rutted chanells of dried mud just waiting to throw your front wheel out and force you over the bars. Everyone did well. Much banter kept the wheels turning and the short climbs bearable. Passing Jodar Simons steed was tiring. Shifting was a problem and throwing the chain off from the granny ring just when he needed it most. Dr. Hinds gave it a quick fettle and problem solved... The rest stop for jamon y queso was needed. The sun was getting high and sustenance was badly wanting. The pan and choritzo was great, as was the fresh naranjas. The caminos continued on to Quesada but the heat was taking it's toll and a rest was needed before the demanding climb to Cazorla. Again the oranges were fantastic and everyone was shoving energy bars and gels down parched throats. The climb breaks after 5 or 6k, but that first section is a killer, especially after 50k in the hot andalucian sun and dry dusty trails. The sound of flowing, mountain fresh, water as it cascaded down the irrigation channels didn't help. The water was cold, inviting, and thirst quenching. A real temptation to stop and drink from the clear, cool mountain waters. Which Simon did, only to watch his bandana getting whooshed down the chanel. The relentless climb was matched only be the 30deg heat, and was only made bearable by the panormic views of Quesada and the infinite horizon of olives. The altitude brought a refreshing breeze and a knowledge that the climb was almost over. The olives making way for Fig trees and Pine forests. The foreboding cliffs of the sierra Cazorla overshadowing our last few kilometres. A preview of what's to come! The climb is rewarded with an amazing descent into Cazorla. A wonderful "Puebla blanca" town crammed into a bowl of the sierras and flanked by imposing mountains and circled by eagles and vultures. Tired, the descent was tricky, but everyone survived and the last few hundred metres were satisfying and rewarding. A long tough day, a hot parching sun, and some fantastic riding. The news that the boys had carried all the luggage to the rooms was amazing. As was the ice cold beer that was relished with deserved satisfaction after an amazing day.