11th May 2013

Wow – had an amazing day today. I had thought yesterday the excitement was over as I moved out of the high Sierras; but today I ended up in a land of gorges, probably formed as the rivers move down to the plains. The day started in rolling hills, but I soon found myself in a valley system moving down-hill. After a few miles of easy track, I suddenly turned a corner and found the wide track changed to single track. This is the kind of thing you’d be happy to walk on – maybe 1 or 2 ft wide, but is considered more fun down-hill on a mountain bike. It is even more interesting when you’re towing a 25kg trailer. I was a little unsure about it as it went on for a couple of miles, and this kind of walking track can easily change to a steep scramble; fine when you’re walking but not passable for me. If this happened it would be very hard to turn the bike and trailer round, and then a long painful struggle back up. Even from where I was making my decision, I would have a long ride back up to find an alternative route.

But you only live once so I decided to go for it. The path descended at a decent rate, and there were some tricky drop-offs; on the left hand side throughout the descent there was a steep drop to the river some 1000ft below. The views were amazing, but sadly I have no photos. I was too focused on staying alive to stop and do camera work. After a while the gradient increased and the track started to switch back (i.e. hairpin bends), which are particularly difficult with a trailer. So I stopped and put on all my body armour. I”m not sure how much this would help if I fell 1000ft, but it made me feel better. Eventually I made it safely down; but if any readers every try this be very wary and DON’T try it if your trailer has 2 wheels. To identify this section, see the .gpx file and look for the descent into Bogarra. I eventually got my camera out at the bottom and it’s the first part of the clip below.

After Bogarra I had a long gentle down hill to the Camino de San Martin. Here I again found myself in the most beautiful gorge system. The rocks had been weathered into amazing shapes, like the keel of a ship standing out from the cliffs. Sadly I was again distraccted from photos because f mechanical problems. I had been having trouble with my free-wheel mechanism; it was starting too fail and I had been emailing the bike manufacturer to try to get a part. As I was on a steep climb I head a crack and lost all traction…I thought it was the freewheel going. That would be really bad as all routes out of the canyon were up. Fortunately it was only the chain breaking, and I had a spare link.

Here is a view looking back into the gorge:

But no. I arrived at Ayna, my destination, and found it was situated in, yes you guessed it, another gorge. Here’s a view from the bar where I had a very much needed beer.

Check out today’s video diary below

Published by jhalstead1

This is my blog of my trip around Spain, off road, on my mountain bike. The story is told in full in my book "Three Wheels on my Bicycle", available on Amazon in Kindle or hardback.

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