Loaded our bikes onto the van, drove up to the cafe stop for everyone's kickstarter, I had chocolate as usual, then more driving to get us halfway up the first hill.
Still plenty of fire road climbing to show my legs still weren't working. Long slog to the top, I teamed up with Tim and we made our way gradually up the hill, I hadn't realised how much difference it makes having company/someone pacing you when you're suffering, really helps. Padded up at the top (full length leg armour this time) and set off behind Marco, trail soon turned into towpath from hell, about 18" wide, aqueduct to the right, drop to the left, the drop started off small but gradually got bigger as the trail got rougher at one point I just had to move aside as the pedalling and concentration were getting to me and I'm not a fan of skinny stuff. Let the scot lads thru then Simon and pushed a couple of sections. Eventually came out onto fire road, which wound down through the forest, started with some loose switch backs, front and rear wheel drift, but nicely controlled. Onto golden eagle, singletrack switchbacks zigzagging down the hill on loamy soil, nice n drifty and went on for ages. First puncture stop when Gaz shredded a tyre, Marco and the scots where way ahead so Ian guided us down, I noticed I was entering the corners faster than him but exiting a lot slower, more work needed on my technique I think. Tight loose switchback at the bottom that I stupidly tried to endo again and failed....again. Si and Gaz took their own alternate line but kudos for clearing it! Sme greasy steps of death next which all the rollers cleared, Tim was well happy as he'd jibbed the previous times they ridden this route. A bit more skinny towpath with a huuuuuge drop (jibbed) then a regroup
and a descent that went on for ages. Concrete road zigzags, through a village more concrete then steps and dirt track, more concrete, switchback, danglers (like brambles but hanging straight down from tree branches) ripped into my gloves and shirt perforating my hand and shoulder, Dom had it worse tho, they raked his face, messy.
More concrete and steps then a fast zip down wide dirt road where we were buffeted by the wind that had picked up. Finally rolled into orgiva for a big lunch, gazpacho and seafood cous cous for me. Post lunch I figured I'd better try a coffee to perk me up as I could quite easily have laid down on the floor and slept in the restaurant. A swoopy road downhill took us to the base of the last climb, quiet back roads we flew down was quite fun. Coffee had kicked in pretty quick, I figured I'd team up with Tim again and we winched our way up the mixed concrete and dirt road climb. Was a big one, about 90 minutes through a quarry near the top then finally topped outta the coffee stop from the morning where the van was waiting, we loaded up and I was disappointed to hear this s the end of the ride, finishing on a climb feels well wrong. Fortunately it was supermarket day so Marco took us to the village above Fondales to stock up and we took the bikes off and rode home down back of the disco stopped for a beer at Carlo's (chatted to switchbacks crew who were also there) then did back of bar, excellent!
Stats according to Mike's phone 25miles 5600ft climb, 6000ft(!) descent