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18-03-2024 | Michelle Zacht

Andalucia Bike Race: an unforgettable challenge

Our exhilarating experience at the Andalucia Bike Race 2023 makes us eager for the 2024 edition. The challenging trails, stunning natural scenery, and vibrant Spanish culture were captivating. This year's revamped stages, covering 340 kilometers with 10,000 meters of elevation, have heightened our anticipation.

Scenic view of the Andalucia Bike Race

The fourteenth edition featured about five hundred cyclists from diverse nationalities, making it a highly competitive opener for the UCI MTB Marathon Series. Many elite riders used this event, now also open to solo participants, as a prep for the Cape Epic. The atmosphere in Andalusia was electric, setting the stage for intense racing.

Competitors at the Andalucia Bike Race

Dutch weather in Spain

A sudden weather shift to winter conditions in Spain, combined with flu-like symptoms, added unexpected challenges just before our departure. Nonetheless, our excitement remained undimmed.

Chilly weather at the Andalucia Bike Race

The race started in Jaén, surrounded by stunning mountains. Despite the health setbacks, we braved the third stage's steep climbs in winter gear, a tough but memorable experience.

Beautiful mountains around Jaén

Cold conditions persisted, with the first stage shortened due to bad weather. Despite reduced elevation, the challenging terrain tested our resilience and adaptability.

Muddy and challenging terrain at the Andalucia Bike Race

The following stages in Jaén began in freezing temperatures. Battling through mechanical issues and rugged trails, we were rewarded with breathtaking views, making every moment worthwhile.

Challenging trails with stunning views at the Andalucia Bike Race

Warmer stages in Cordoba

Moving to Córdoba for stage 3 brought slightly warmer weather. The enthusiastic crowds buoyed our spirits through grueling climbs and challenging routes. The longest ride, starting from Cordoba's famous Roman bridge, was a highlight, with its balanced mix of gravel and climbs.

Start of the longest ride at the Roman bridge in Cordoba

The final time trial, despite some navigational hiccups, ended on a high note. Completing the six-day race was a triumph in itself.

A premier mountain biking experience

The Andalucia Bike Race stands out as a premier event in mountain biking. While the focus is often on the pros, amateur riders also receive ample respect. Despite some challenges this year, including health and organizational issues, the race in the beautiful Andalusian region was an unforgettable mountain biking adventure.


PRACTICAL INFO

Stages/routes
This year featured a shorter stage on the travel day between Jaén and Córdoba, and a time trial on the final day, balancing the distribution of stages. Although the route seemed less technical and challenging compared to 2023, it was still enjoyable. This variation in routes keeps the event fresh for return participants, despite us missing some of the area's more demanding trails this time.

Organization
Comparing to last year, we noticed minor lapses in detail such as oddly located care stations and less accessible facilities. Despite these shortcomings, the Andalucia Bike Race maintains high standards, offering great value (from €700 per team). It stands out as a professionally organized event in the world of multi-day races.

Goodie bag from Andalucia Bike Race

Accommodation
We enjoyed our stay at the designated hotels in Jaén and Córdoba, appreciating the convenience of keeping our bikes in our rooms. Although the food quality this year was not as high as before, the event atmosphere at these hotels is unmatched. Interaction between professional and amateur riders adds a unique touch, fostering a supportive community. We also had the chance to connect with CycloWorld prize winners and exchange spare gear.

Logistics/transportation
With four different start locations, having a car or bus is essential for this event. This requirement could be more clearly communicated on the official website. Adequate planning for transportation is crucial for a smooth experience at the race.

Trail in Jaén during Andalucia Bike Race

Results
Our goal this year was simply to finish, a feat in itself given the caliber of the competition. The winners, Fabian Rabensteiner and Samuele Porro (Willier-Vittoria team) in the men's category and Janina Wüst and Rosa van Doorn (Buff-Megamo team) in the women's, showcased exceptional talent. The full results are available here. Note that only teams completing all stages are listed in the standings; incomplete teams and solo riders are excluded.

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