Saturday, 30 March 2013

Spanish downhill- sun sea and roost

For a change me and my husband decided to do what normal people do for a holiday and catch a plane to somewhere sunny for a winter break. But we thought... that's too normal so we still needed our bikes to come too!

We decided on 10 days staying in a relatives apartment as our base in Benalmadena. In Benal there's a cable car which is bike friendly with the front wheel off and with the help of you tube videos we were convinced there's good downhill riding to be had and were stoked on exploring.
Our Friends came with us too so we decided to try some uplift days and found roost was the best company for getting back to us. They were really flexible and offered us one day to start and more if we wanted too. 
On our first days riding we rode with roost who took us to SRAM test track which is probably the most famous track out there, it's really sandy and rocky, it's a baptism of fire intro to Malaga riding.
The rocks are not so much the problem but the sand is if your not used to it. Honestly I was just sliding around all over the place at certain points but its great fun and the roost boys were really supportive and willing to help give advice on line choice and technique.

To get into to town for lunch rather than driving into town we drove further up the mountain to the telecommunication towers and rode a 15 minute downhill trail down with the longest biggest boulder rock garden I've ever seen it was totally amazing! The trail starts off fairly tame and not so much downhill style as it is a walking trail too but once it got going it was amazing with steep long rock slabs to negotiate, super tight steep sandy switch backs and loose off camber exposed sections. I'm not sure how anyone would walk some of it! clearly Spanish hikers like to go big or go home too! One thing i find funny about Spanish trails is they are all unofficial so a lot of them end near peoples back gardens and just pass through residential streets. It was the best trail I've ridden and think it will take something really special to beat it!
After a delicious dirty tasting kebab it was off to ride the trail from the Danny hart winter training in Spain video and to end the day back to the telecoms trail again. I have never rode so much in one day. The SRAM test track and Danny hart trail we rode about 7 times each and with the miles put in on the 15 minute telecoms tower trail twice by the end of the day we were exhausted but had huge beaming smiles on our faces and well and truly made up with riding in Spanish sand. 
We enjoyed our first day day so much that we went with roost again for day two. This time it was a long hour and half drive out to Mijas to ride Motril race track. Driving there it was getting
mistier and mistier and once we headed up the foot hills of the sierra Nevada it was pretty bad visibility and the Spanish weather was not the warm sun it was at Benal. The track was amazing though, much more English style building and the ground was mud rather than sand so instantly felt much more at home. It still had the Spanish steepness, length and difficulty tho that we were loving so much. It started with a wooded steep top section with lots of root steps and drops, followed by swooping deep gullies , then into rock gullies and off camber rock sections to negotiate with an excellent middle section with difficult drops which saw us all at some point going over the bars landing on top of each other in the gorse bushes. We decided on four runs before stopping for lunch and on the fourth run coming through the trees it really started to rain and the gully were flowing and when we came out in to the open it turned into a really heavy hail thunder storm. the ride down was amazing sliding around, soaked and covered in mud squinting through the rain and hail to see. Again the trail ends through residential streets where we met trail doggie who sat in the bus shelter with us in the pouring rain while we ate sandwiches filled with grit and mud. The boys went out for more runs but most of us were happy to finish the day after amazing runs on an amazing course which wasn't spoilt by the weather at all.

After a days rest it was time to explore the cable car opportunities. A pass for the week was only €60. By then the weather was back to being warm and sunny. On our first day at the cable car we were lucky to meet an English couple who showed us the two main run although it is actually easy to find the runs it really helped us to work out the knack of getting the bikes in the cable car and quickest way back to the cable car station! The main run we rode was rockadillo which is in the video. It's super sandy again which us girls found a tad easier than the boys with our more gentle gliding approach. It's got everything you could possibly want from a trail with steep technical rocky single track, tight berms, drops and jumps. Each section is great in its own way and so much fun to ride over and over. 

Apart from the riding we had great nights in the local Irish bar and meals out in restaurants with friendly Spanish owners telling us their stories and plenty other stuff to do with a lush beach, marina and dolphinarium. Its so English friendly with all the ex-pats running bars and a much more relaxed way of life. 

we can't wait to go back soon!

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