100 miles to Malaga

Whilst chatting in the local bar with Darren (friend, guest and Joyriders race team member) on Monday night, we decided to take on the challenge of riding from the villa in Montilla down to Málaga the next day (where we would be picked up by Matt following an airport run). It seemed like a good idea at the time, then I started thinking about the distance. Although I ride bikes for a living I’ve never ridden 100 miles before. Especially here, as the rolling landscape of Córdoba makes doing just 60 miles a challenge.

Anyway we stuck to our plan and worked out it would take us about 7 hrs if we could average 25KPH. That seemed ok given the 1700 metres of climbing there would be.

We woke to a cloudy day so deciding how many layers to wear was tricky. But we both made the right choice with wind-cheaters rather than waterproofs. It even got hot and sunny near the coast.

We set off at 10:30 and set a blistering pace of 28KPH over the first hour. Not bad given a lot of the climbing was at the beginning of the day.

At 40KM disaster struck as my knee started playing up! At 60KM and after lots of stretching and saddle adjusting I thought that was going to be the end of the ride. However after one last stretch at Antequera (just before a very steep climb) I found the stretch that I needed. My knee was fine after that and we stormed away up the steep climb passing all the slow moving traffic.

We had the majority of the remaining climbing waiting for us at Antequera as the roads climbed up into the mountains of Málaga.

Howling past Wolf Parks and twisting down switchbacked roads we made good progress still keeping an average speed of 28KPH.

Stopping for a Red Bull at the halfway point we were able to reflect on the daunting fact that we were only half way!! I tried to console myself by saying it was all down hill from here, this illusion being swiftly shattered by a steep climb out of the village selected for our brief fuel stop.

We finally hit the low laying hills of Málaga after 120Kms which taunted us with quick descents and short, but vicious climbs. Every corner we turned and every hill crest we topped we kept expecting to see the sea. It never appeared. The only water we saw was the river crossing we had to make in the last 30KMs. Darren also decided he still had the energy to race local riders on an evening spin. Much to his dissapointment he didn’t get the chance to say we’d come from Córdoba.

We finally reached our collection point with half a mile to go. We headed out onto a straight, quiet road and went up and down until the counter hit 100! I had done it and I still felt remarkably fresh. What was even better though was the time. 5hrs 44mins with an average speed of 28KPH! Not bad for a first attempt and a Xmas of too many mince pies.

Sitting in the van heading back home we finally saw the sea. We also started discussing our next epic…. 200 miles out here in these hills, is that possible??