Well another year has rolled by and fortunately I managed to keep the bike rolling for most of it. It’s been another year of firsts and unforgettable rides, both in Asturias and further afield.
As seems to becoming the norm, my first memorable (quite often due to the degree of suffering) ride of the year was with my good friend Mark. Asturias had some of the heaviest snow on the mountains for decades, so I had planned on some nice easy coastal rides with Mark when he came over in early March. Fortunately (or unfortunately, I still haven’t decided) the weather soon warmed and the snow melted along with any thoughts of an easy ride. so when Mark arrived in early March I knew the suffering was about to begin.
Actually, it could have even been my idea but we decided to climb the Ermita de Alba, which was making its debut as a summit finish in the Vuelta a España. Not a lot was known about this climb, indeed, everybody I asked prior to riding it had no idea what it was like. I should have guessed just how tough it would be seeing that it was in the Vuelta and boy was it tough with ramps up to 26%.
You can read an account of the ride here:
This ride was soon followed by a club ride to Sotres – the other summit finish of the Vuelta a España 2015 – and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The scenery is truly stunning and although very tough, it didn’t compare to the Ermita de Alba in terms of levels of suffering.
Here is a review of the ride and climb:
In May I rode the Sportive Memorial Pedro Llorente with Rocio Gamonal and Club Ciclos Teto (now RG Team) which was quite a tough sportive but good fun. It also provided me with my first and probably last ever opportunity to stand on the podium, as we won the team prize. You can see a review of the ride here:
June proved to be an incredibly memorable experience as my sister had managed to get hold of tickets to watch Bradley Wiggins’ Hour World Record in London. The only problem was that it was on the Sunday and the Sportive Los Lagos de Covadonga was on the Saturday. Fortunately all the timetables worked out well and I rode Los Lagos on Saturday, caught a plane really early Sunday morning and saw Bradley Wiggins break the World record in the afternoon, before flying back really early Monday morning. It was a once in a lifetime experience and one I will never forget.
A review of that amazing weekend can be seen here:
Talking of experiences I will never forget, August brought with it another memorable cycling adventure.
My good friend Ian and I headed off to Portugal on our bikes. This was new territory for me as I had never ridden more than two days in a row, of any significant distance, yet we planned to ride 1200k in 9 days on heavy, bag laden mountain bikes. The first day was the toughest for me, a gruelling 145k on a bike I was generally unfamiliar with. Although there were no significant climbs, the ride was just a constant up and downer as we followed the coast to Navia.
Incredibly, I still haven’t had the time to put the video together and write the summary of the trip, but then again, I have got 8 hours of video to edit – I hope to get it finished soon (sorry Ian). All I can say for now is that it was an amazing trip, full of laughs, wrong turns and soar bums. I now realise there is nothing quite like the sense of freedom one experiences whilst doing nothing for days on end except ride your bike.
Until I get round to posting the write-up of the trip, here are a couple pics:
So after 9 days you might think I would have had enough of the bike – Well No! I was back on the bike the next day and then a couple of days later my friend Mark was over for another visit. Tim, a keen cyclist and brother of a friend of mine had also come over, bike in hand. As it was Mark, I knew our rides would be tough but I couldn’t have imagined the physical suffering that was about to follow. Actually the first ride, up the Puerto de la Cubilla, although consisting of over 1400m of ascent in the first 30k, was well within my capabilities. This was mainly due to my slow pace but to be honest it’s not the steepest of climbs. It is however, one of the most beautiful climbs I have ever ridden and information about the climb can be viewed here:
Two days later and the 3 of us were back on the bike. Mark had been threatening to drag me up the L’Angliru for about 2 years. I’d ridden half way up several times on my own for training purposes but had never attempted to go any further. I didn’t feel like attempting it that day either, but this time I had Mark biting at my heels. Needless to say it was an epic ride and some two hours thirty minutes after setting off all three of us made it to the top. You can read about my pain and suffering here:
In September I rode halfway up the Ermita de Alba again to watch the Vuelta a España which was soon followed by the Clasica Los Puertos Esmeralda. And that was it, my season of Sportives and epic rides over. But hold on! Mark is back, here we go again! And this time it’s The Gamonitiero, the highest ridable peak in Asturias. 24 kilometers after setting off we were 1600 meters higher than when we’d started but at least it was going to be all downhill from there and I descended happy in knowledge that it was Mark’s final trip of the year – I’m not sure my legs could have taken another visit.
So all in all a great year! loads of firsts and loads of fun and all spent in great company. I’m now looking forward to seeing what 2016 will bring but for now here are my 2015 stats:
Total Distance: 8566km
Total Time: 399h 12m
Total Elevation Gain: 118101m
6 HC climbs
Wishing you all a Great 2016 on the bike,