Nis Alps and Karl Krabbenhöft arrived to Málaga some days before the start of Badlands, having a great chance to enjoy Andalusia and the wild mountains on the way to Granada...

After traveling from Berlin to Malaga, Karl and I used the 5 days before the start of Badlands for some easy bikepacking in Andalusia. We left our bike boxes at the Recyclo bike shop. The Guys from the shop gave us some tips about the region. We put some dots on the Komoot map and started cycling down the coast in direction to Granada. The first kilometers were super relaxed cycling lanes out of the city along the beaches

Leaving the coast, we passed a lot of avocado and mango felds and realized that it’s still to early in the year. So unfortunately none of these tasty looking fruits were eatable.

It was already afternoon, when we started planning to camp on top of La Maroma. But without knowing the area so well, nor where to find food and water, we decided to pitch out tents at the lake vinuela.
We started the second day with coffee and breakfast at the lake. Than we hit the next supermarket, to refill with water and food. We didn’t expect another shop until the next day.

Heavy loaded we got a first impression of the steepness of the Andalusien mountain roads and realized that Badlands was not going to be an easy cruise.

It was a super hot day and luckily we found a fountain for a very last water refill.

The roads become smaller and we reach a dead end. The only way up was a hiking trail that wasn’t rideable. We thought, that might be just the beginning of the trail and after some meters we can easy ride our bikes again. We were wrong. But we already came too far, to give up our plan to spent the night on top of the mountain. So we ended up hiking our bikes for hours up this small trail.

The view was stunning. In a way we enjoyed our hike and the confused faces of the hikers who passed us.

After hiking/caring our heavy bikes for 4-5 hours, we reached a plato and realized that the top was still 300m higher and 3km away. We called it a day and set our tents at 1900m. Before we witnessed a crazy sundown and ate the food we bought, we found some new friends in sheeps and dogs, passing by.

The sunrise was one of the best, I witnessed to this day and with a fresh brewed coffee we started into the day.

On the way down, most of the trail was actually rideable. It still took us some time, to get back to the road and even more time to find a shop to buy some water. We got lost somewhere in the bush and couldn’t see the trail anymore. We found a Tomato Feld and felt like little boys, steeling fruits from the neighbors trees. But it was the only source of hydration we could find, so we took some tomatoes and kept going.

By trying to avoid the main roads, we ended up somewhere between olive trees.

My friends always complain about my route planning, when we end up pushing our bikes. But for me, it’s always the bigger adventure, then riding boring, easy and flat roads with annoying traffic.

In Granada, we booked a small Airbnb at a hippie couples apartment. We had a last day to recover from the ride and picked up our starter kits for the race.