Here at Bike Magic we are extremely excited to have Matt Page representing us at the up-coming Andalucia Bike Race which takes place from 24th February to 1st March.
Matt is gearing up for the multi-stage endurance event and to get things rolling he has written this introduction to his assault on the event:
ANDALUCIA BIKE RACE 2013 – PRE-EVENT
28 years old
7 years racing
11 years a Bike Magic reader
2010 Mountain Mayhem Solo winner,
2011 24hrs of Exposure and TransWales winner
2012 12hrs of Exposure and Scott 24hr (Australia) 2nd place
Sponsors: Garmin, RRP, Torq, Schwalbe, Lezyne, USE, Exposure Lights & Fizik
At the end of an incredible year racing in 2012 there were a few standout events, one of them being right at the beginning, the Andalucia Bike Race. Despite only being in its second year it really impressed me with the high level of organisation, incredible riding and, of course, a bit of warmth and sunshine! The Andalucia region of Spain holds the record for being the hottest part of Europe and also one of the driest. Temperatures in the summer reach beyond 40 degrees, which would be quite uncomfortable, but in February its a very pleasant 16-20 degrees with the chance of rain being very slim, although the higher mountains do have a bit of snow on the peaks. When the opportunity arose to represent Bike Magic at an event I enjoyed so much I jumped at the chance.
Andalucia Bike Race has already become a popular race for British riders, perhaps like me seeking a bit of warm weather training and racing. Last year it became one of only a handful of other stage races to be categorised by the UCI and hand out points for the elite male and female categories. That made it an attractive proposition for anyone looking to qualify for the Olympics, a World Cup or simply to boost their points to gain a good grid slot in any Elite XC race. It isn’t only the domain of elite riders however and thanks mostly to very slick organisation and some brilliant riding it is fun for everyone. Based around 3 main areas within the Andalucia region – Cordoba, Priego de Cordoba and Jaen – each “base” offers something a little different. From undulating, fast and rocky trails to olive tree plantations and onto the higher mountains and snow capped peaks of Jaen.
Last year I raced as an elite male pair with a talented Spanish rider, Milton Ramos. It was the first time that either of us had raced as a pair in a stage race and we learnt the hard way that it isn’t always easy. Despite finishing 13th in the most competitive category we were mismatched and didn’t race as a team. Milton was faster than I was and he found it frustrating, while I found it annoying that he kept yo-yoing off in front of me. We could laugh about it afterwards, but it wasn’t as fun as it could have been.
With no need to collect UCI points this year I decided that the mixed category could be a good idea and I had the perfect race partner in mind. Mel Alexander is a top elite XC racer and very experienced at stage races having raced all the big name events. Despite the mixed category not carrying any UCI points it certainly won’t be an easy race with 2011 World Marathon Champion Annika Langvad and her race partner Thomas Bonne probably being the pre-race favorites.
I’m really looking forward to representing Bike Magic and returning to what will no doubt be some excellent racing again this year. I will be updating progress throughout.
Watch this space for updates from the event!