GRAVEL CHANGED MY MIND
It is true that I have rode a gravel bike before but it was only for a couple of shootings, so, until this weekend I had never done proper gravel ride and even less within a 3 day gravel festival. So, pretty much everything was new for me. Spoiler: I loved it!
We had planned to go with Luca but a sudden change of plans made me go to Madrid Thursday and go by bus to Guadix Friday afternoon. We met there, we registered, took our numbers, the tracker and the welcome pack. We had some carbs for dinner and checked in in a cave stlyle appartment. Typical from Guadix. They carve the houses inside the rock so they can benefit from stable temperatures all year long. We prepared the bikes and everything we needed for Saturday’s race.
DAY 1: GORAFE EPIC – The hidden desert
We decided to do the mid distance race (still 120km +1.950m) since I still had some knee pain and Luca didn’t trained a lot this year.
Colder than expected we started at 8:00am and the first gravel parts were smooth and we could ride at a great pace so we warmed up fast. Shortly after passing the km 16 I had a flat tyre. Luckily the tubeless liquid could seal it properly and Luca had to move his shoe cleat, however, in 10 minutes we were riding again. This was the only problem we had in all the weekend.
Kms passed by and we made it to Gorafe where a deadly steep climb awaited for us. It was short but we had to push a lot. After that, a fast descent to go into the Gorafe desert loop, the most beautiful nature landscape of the weekend.
We didn’t stop much since we were enjoying the downhill but you can get the idea of how it is with the couple of pictures we took. Made it to the bottom and rode for a couple of km riding into the canyon, then it was time to go up again where the loop started. It was steep but we were enjoying the views while climbing. Made it to the top, ate some food at the feeding zone and kept going.
The last part of the ride was a small track with ups and downs and we got to see the top Sierra Nevada all white from the snow. Really dramatic landscape with the clouds. Before the finish line, we passed by a canyon and ended the ride in Guadix.
DAY 2: SOCIAL RIDE + HILL CLIMB CHALLENGE
The plan was to do a little ride to reach Beas de Guadix for the Hill Climb Challenge. A 1km long slope with an average of 15,8% and some points at 24%. We stopped at the bottom and each rider started every 40 seconds. It was painful the whole 4:24 minutes I spent to do that kilometer.
Luca started just before me and I could see him after a couple hundred of meters, I gave everything I had to catch him jajaja.
The organisers and riders where cheering everyone up and it gave the extra motivation to make it to the top. It was a fun and painful way of ending the weekend.
A big thumbs up for the organizers who
put a huge amount of work for the first
edition of the
Guadix Gravel Festival
to run smoothly all the weekend,
you can see more info here.
WHAT I DIDN’T KNOW
I didn’t expect it but the skin of my hands was irritated from the shaking of riding on the gravel roads. We spent only 5h riding, I can’t imagine the pain of the ultracyclists in the events like The Traka or Badlands…
We also had to navigate with our gps, there were no signs or arrows to follow, this was easy most of the times but at the tricky ones you can lose a lot of time, so you have to be very careful all the time.
It also impressed me how fast you can go on the gravel roads when its flat, those bikes are stiff and if you push you fly. Even if its rough, sometimes its better to go fast than slow.
As I said it before, each type of bike give you different feelings, emotions and experiences, and now that I tried for real gravel, you will see me more on that one. Very versatile and fun, and now that its getting more and more popular there are more races and more events.
Already looking forward to the next one! 😀