Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Guad Al Xenil 2019

Myself and Ramon went to race in the Guad Al Xenil race last saturday. 143 km with 3200mts climbing around our local mountains starting in the Lecrin valley. After the neutral zone me and Ramon had strong start, maybe too strong, but sometimes you have to try. It took in two of our very steep climbs past the village of Notaez and the tough puerto de Torviscon, a steep 10 km to the top of the sierra Contraviesa. After that it was quite a fast run with a very fast drop down the cork forest on fully closed roads. From here on it was time to save the legs for the los Guajares climb, unfortunatly the wheels came off and I lost 4 places in my age group finishing 52 o/a and 8 th master 50. Here is the Strava link for the ride.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

The mines climb

The Mines climb
13.29 km
845m height gain
Av grade 6%

Starting just outside the small village of  Torviscon you first drop 1km into the river (to lose as much height as possible) The start of the climb starts off as a fairly constant gradient which allows for a good rhythm heading towards the pretty hillside village of Almegijar,

It is situated at over 800 metres above sea level, on the southern slopes of the Sierra Morena, a spur of Mulhacen, the highest mountain in Spain. Before the Spanish civil war in 1935, the church was burned by anarchists and during the war it was just behind the republican front lines; the remains of trenches can still be seen up the mountain. These trenches represents the furthest advance of the fascists into Las Alpujarras after they took Granada.

The people of the village still largely work on the land, often using mules. There are many olive groves (and an olive oil processing factory), almonds, oranges and lemons, along with vegetable gardens

but no time for views if you are going for a pb. Its time to start paying if you went off to hard as the hairpins keep coming passing the old mines (now only used for aggregates) eventually giving way to a small rest over a false summit. Make the most of the small rest as the last 2km has a couple of very steep bends and keeps a couple of surprises until the top.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Torre Del Mar training camps

We have started running some early season camps down on the coast to guarantee the weather and give us and our regular guests a bit of a change. After trying a couple of places we have settled on Torre Del Mar, only 30 mins from Malaga airport with excellent climate and cycling. We are currently in the middle of our two weeks for this year and it has been excellent. We use a brilliant hotel on the seafront offering half board and the feedback has been great. Keep an eye on our website or join our newsletter for next years dates.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Costa Blanca bike race

Last week I raced the 4 day Costa blanca bike race with my friend Tim. We have always raced well as a pair and had both trained hard for this. Day 1 was a frantic 40k  with the usual fast start but we got away well and hoped for a good position. I had a very rough patch half way round after coming back from the UK unwell, but we got the to finish and had 1st place master 50.
Day 2 was a 15km time trial which we were both quite nervous about because the finish had 1km with ramps up to 30%. If you are not strong on a day like that you could lose minutes. We rode fairly steady along the seafront towards the climb and rode well and ended up losing 1 second to the guys in 2nd place, nothing.

Day 3 was another shortish 40km but with 1600mts of climbing and we were both feeling good. The guys in 2nd went off hard straight away and faded quite quickly so we edged past and never saw them again, the best way to race. We carried on pushing hard and passing as many as we could on the single track and it payed off, we gained another 6 minutes.

 Day 4 was the longest at 57km and the profile looked quite tough. The guys in 2nd were still putting up a fight on the early single track  jams but wearing a leaders jersey gives you a much easier run through the traffic and we got away comfortably. There was some quite technical descending towards the end with both of us taking tumbles, more nerves than anything I guess. Once we passed the 10km to go marker we were rolling towards the finish line with the smiles starting to appear. We ended winning by around 20 mins, A perfect week where the training had really paid off and luck was on our side. Next year?

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Turkey burner week

As we are normally quiet in January we have started lumping everyone together for our turkey burner week before we go down to the coast for Feb. We have all got some great riding done including a 168km epic we have only ridden a couple of times before . My training for the Costa blanca bike race is still in full swing so the hours came in very handy. Also the climb from the reservoir that we ride most weeks has been fully resurfaced so a PB this year is there for everyone to try.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Spanish sportives

Start of the Guad al Xenil 2018

I'm always being asked what Spanish sportives are like, normally by very nervous cyclists. Over here they are called cicloturistas or ciclodeportivas depending on the level of competitiveness.
Lets start with entry, most of the events I do are based in Andalucia so I enter via the Andalucian cycling federation website. Entry fees vary but are normally around €40 with discount if you hold a Spanish licence.
Starts are always mass start with a neutral zone and a lead out vehicle of some description and vary in length but are kept 'fairly' steady to keep everyone together. Once the flag drops it's normally go go go with the very fast riders disappearing into the distance, never to be seen again. Depending on the race, sorry sportive, timed sections can vary from anything to a 15km climb to the whole distance, maybe 200km with 4000mts of climbing and anything in between. Roads are normally always open with lots of vehicle support, police motorbikes etc and maybe some timed sections are completely closed road.
Prizes/podiums can vary a lot but are normally kept to a more fun level, who's travelled the furthest, oldest rider, club with most riders etc. That being said I have had many battles for an age group podium and they are very competitive and taken seriously. That's the beauty of Spanish events like these, you can have a nice ride round with your mates or ride up the front and have one of the hardest races you will ever enter.
Now the good bit, there is always a sit down meal afterwards, Paella, fideos, Plato  Alpujarreño are some of many delights I've sampled, and there's nearly always a free bar.
Goody bags? Oh yes, these can vary but normally have anything from a t shirt to a top of the range jersey.
Some of my favorites
La Indomable, Berja
Sierra Nevada Limite, Granada
La Sufrida, Ronda
Alpujarra Magna, Lanjaron
Guad al Xenil, Granada
4 cimas, Almeria
If you would like help with a trip to any of the above events, please get in touch.

Looks a bit lumpy

Solo during the 4 cimas
El Limite profile!

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

January 2019

The blog is back. I'm going to start our blog back up with a monthly report on what we have been up to with guests, training and racing etc. The amazing weather we have had during December seems to be carrying on into January ready for our reopening. I've been training hard over the Christmas period ready for the 4 day Costa blanca bike race at the end of Jan, 4 days of mountain biking, cant wait.
Happy new year and see you all soon.

Guad Al Xenil 2019

Myself and Ramon went to race in the Guad Al Xenil race last saturday. 143 km with 3200mts climbing around our local mountains starting in t...