Greetings from Jerte, a town in the middle of Spain. Until 2 weeks ago I didnt even know that this town exists and now I am part of a 3 day non-competitive cycling event called La Extrema. Changing plans or creating sudden new ones is not unheard of for me. Spontaneity seems to be my middle name. I think it would scare me if I knew where I will be in one month time.
But back to Jerte. A friend from Salobrena told me about this event and it didnt take too long and I was signed up to La Extrema. The event promoter emphasized that this is not a race, it is solely about enjoying the social and adventure aspect of cycling. Well, perfect, that’s what I am about!
Although the actual cycling event will not start until tomorrow, my adventure has been in full swing. It started with getting here.
Between Solabrena (where I live) and Jerte lie 550km. Until last week, I thought this distance would make a great solo adventure tour over a few days to Jerte. And then I reassessed the situation after Guad al Xenil – taking a bus sounded just fine by me.
The bus network in Spain works quite well and it is a great way to get around. So, I bought tickets to Madrid where I would meet my friend to drive to Jerte.
6 hours bus trip ahead
It was a 6 hours bus trip ahead. The first bus to Granada (about 1 hour), then the second bus to Madrid (5 hours). When I bought the tickets I read that the bike has to be packed in a bag. But because this would be very inconvenient for me taking my hard-case bag with me I asked a few Spanish friends how serious this rule was taken. I was told I would be able to make it happen without the bag.
But it didnt sound too convincing to me. I anticipated some efforts of persuasion. I was completely living on the edge here. 😉
When I put my bike into the first bus to Granada, the bus driver even was helping me. No questions asked. I sighed of relief.
A bike is like having a puppy
Once in Granada while unloading my bike one of the station workers was very interested in the bike and within 5 minutes we were connected via Strava. It is fantastic how you sometimes connect with the most random people because you got a bike with you. It is almost like having a puppy.
Anticipating the same friendliness of the second bus driver I laid my bike into the luggage space. But one furious bus driver stomped towards the crowd and made one big scene. Not to me but to an innocent girl who was mistaken to be that shameless cyclist who would just put a unbagged bike in the luggage space.
Well, soon enough I got the full spectrum of Spanish “not-so-friendly” vocabulary. By this time, I had no idea anymore what was said and just heard one angry voice. It became quite clear that he would not be satisfied by anything and I saw my plans getting to Madrid ruined. Of course, it was my mistake! I should have packed that bike in a bag as indicated in the instructions. So ungerman from me!
I think he realized that it would have been too harsh to leave me in Granada for not wrapping or bagging my bike (I did ended up taking it apart, just without a wrap or a bag.) At the end, I did make it to Madrid after a long, long journey.
Made it to the north pole?
Not only the length of the trip but also the strong temperature drop made me feel like we ended up at the north pole. So I ended up closing that adventure chapter for that day and went to bed in the hotel.
The next day my friend and I drove for another 2.5 hours (Spain is huge!!!) to Jerte and I finally made it to the event hotel. And it does not disappoint: 4 stars, all-you-can-eat breakfast and dinner buffet. I hope the staff is prepared for 50 hungry cyclists.
I received a big expression of disapproval by my legs on today’s ride. So tomorrow’s 163km and 3600m of climbing with a high chance of rain and strong wind will not disappoint in the category of being epic.