First day with ciclo Montana, we padded up and set off. 5 of us rollers, 2 lads from Cheltenham, 2 scots, John (can't remember where he's from) Matt and Marco guiding. Climbing from the door on tarmac, Si, Gaz, Matt and the scots lads flew off uphill, rest of us followed, hmm legs not working great. After 10 mins we head off road, swooping down lanes forgetting I had a dropper post and no gloves, at the first corner I ran wide scuffing thorn bushes and perforating my knuckles. More climbing ensued, fire road then tarmac, we hit the main road above Fondales, as we'd climbed so fast without complaint Marco said we'd earned a bonus loop - more climbing, 350m all in and I was slow all the way up, every time we regrouped I'd set off first and gradually everyone would ride passed until I was chatting to Marco at the back, oh dear.
Padded up at the top and it just so happened I was nearest the downhill so I got to follow Matt down. Loose dusty singletrack peppered with rock, some gulley turns nicely bermed, was good to follow the guide, see his line and either follow it or take my own. I like being at the front. Got down to the coffee stop all buzzing, a nice (if fairly brutal climbing wise) way to get acclimatised to Alpajurra riding.
Couple of coffees and tapas, then we rode through the village on to some more fire road climbing, up and up we went, argh and ouch my legs complained, huff and puff went my lungs, tail end Charlie again. Topped out and padded up, I tucked in behind Matt again, some twisty singletrack opened out the edge into faster double back to single, whoosh, skerf of rear tyre skidding round corners, front tyre pinging off and around rocks, whump of suspension soaking up landings. Yum. After a few junctions we ended up on a familiar trail, Don Juan de Marco (or voodoo as CM call it) contouring the hillside dropping in and climbing out of barrancos (dips where a stream runs down the hill.) i really like this trail, but the power climbs were killing my legs, finishing off flying down a narrow trail opening out for the big drop off next to the lamppost that I remembered so flew off that smiling :-)
just pile 'em up
mmmm keep 'em coming
Lunch in the village below was gorgeous, jamon, cheese, salad, squid, pork steak and a maxibon to finish, stuffed by the time we left an hour or two later. More climbing to the next village then pads on for the cliff hanger, bit of singletrack as the name suggests clinging to the side of a steep hill. Wiggly bit then a couple of steps into a sharp left switch back, scot lads in front of me whizzed round it, I stupidly ran wide and tried to endo the back end round got it round but then dabbed. Simon right behind me shouted something and rode passed on the inside, I got to the bottom and Si pointed to a ledge uptrail with a 30' drop onto the road we were on, and said "that's where you were endo-ing 2inches from the edge" think I scared him more than myself. Some big slabs of fixed rock next, nice but picked up a rock strike on my shin, grrr knee pass are comfy but limited protection. Down some more swoopy dirt track back onto the first bit we did in the morning but then turned off onto The Skills Loop, another steep bit of singletrack zigzagging down the hill, with another power climb out, Si breathing down my neck I didn't want to stall in front of him so turned myself inside out to get up the hill absolutely shagged by the top. I don't like being at the front any more!
Good first day, no crashes, no flats, everyone around safely, beer and pasta feast for tea then an early night for me try and sort myself out.
Stats according to Mike's phone 21miles 5115ft up/down