[ blog » 2023 » 09_South-West ]d22: Cordillera Penibetica (by Philipp Gesang, location: Guejar Sierra)

Par des sommets hargneux, des vallées encaissées

Des villes au coeur de pierre aux formes insensées

Vois, la barbe te pousse et ton pas se fait lent


The morning hours were quite chilly today which wasn’t unwelcome after yesterday’s glaring afternoon heat. From Pozo Alcon I rolled down to the Negratin reservoir and immediately had to climb out of that depression. Not for the last time today. The final 10 km of that ascent are a particularly nasty falso piano with 3 % actual gradient on a dead straight road that makes one doubt one’s senses.

From there on to Guadix the state of the roads couldn’t have been much more desolate. For starters there’s not a single even remotely direct route so I ended up zigzagging north and south around the Granada-Almería freeway that cuts through that part of Andalucía. Apparently the freeway consumed the entire road construction budget of the region for decades so all the other roads had to remain unmaintained. The outcome is a mix of every state of degradation fromcrumbling tarmac patches that seemed to be the remnants of a earlier roads to pothole-riddled gravel with some sand patches here and there. On top of that a strong wind of up to 30 km/h kept blowing throughout the day, making this morning a rather frustrating experience. What should have been a moderately hilly 40 km ride ended up taking 80 km and the better part of the day.

The town of Guadix is rather small and was a bit of a letdown in terms of sightseeing. I didn’t manage to find an entrance to its Alcazaba; judging from the construction work on its southern wall it might have been closed altogether. Much more interesting was the "troglodyte dwelling" of Purullela with its characteristic cueva houses that have been carved out of the rock.

Sierra Nevada

To leave the Hoya de Guadix I took the Puerto de los Blancares route that leads directly into the Sierra Nevada. That climb is quite long and the implacable weather gods unleashed the headwind once more to force me into giving up but they wouldn’t be successful today. For the first time since Madrid I encountered cyclists again on the regular, no wonder as the close by Sierra Nevada national park is a tourist magnet.

Guejar-Sierra was kind of the best effort destination for today as the morning route to Guadix took much longer than it should have. The forecast says it’ll rain tonight, let’s hope that is just a pessimistic prediction.

141 km through the rocky desert with an accumulated elevation of 2200 m. Could have been more if it weren’t for those abysmal roads east of Guadix.

gps tracks

[view GPS data in mapbox]


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