Cat Conquers Spain

3TQM Cat Spain Cycling Bike Travel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With so much of the squad spending the last week in Helen, Georgia, you may have thought, “Hey, where’s Cat?” Well, Cat was in Spain, splitting her time between exploring gorgeous roads and mountains, and sampling plate after plate of Spanish ‘culture’. Cat checks in with a recap of her travels and possible citrus-related international crimes below. 

I got lost on the way to the annual Georgia training camp, and I ended up in Spain with the beautiful Hoël Wiesner. Not too shabby! We spent a few days riding around Málaga.

We were in Málaga for less than a week, so instead of flying out our bikes, we rented BH endurance bikes. There were stacks on stacks on stacks of headset spacers, but honestly, the bikes were great. We brought our own saddles, because the saddle just taint something you should change up before a big week of riding.

Day 1: Coín

We found out “the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain” is a lie. Still, this ride was just gorgeous. We saw tiny Spanish towns and herds of cattle, and I learned how great roundabouts are when they’re used right. The key: you just have to be patient, and stop trying to hit people with your car. European drivers are ridiculously good about giving cyclists space (with the exception of the British tourists). Also, it was amazing how little urban sprawl there was: it went pretty quickly from walkable city to countryside.

We got back starving, which was perfect, because we were able to fully appreciate the whole “tapas then late dinner” concept. If you eat enough tapas, it’s just an additional dinner. This is brilliant. I’m going to continue this tradition in my daily life and blame my insatiable appetite on ‘culture.’ Now I just need to find a way to justify breakfast cookies…

Day 2: El Torcal de Antequerra

People seemed to really like some Alberto guy, because his name was plastered all over the climbs around here. The peak of this ride was El Torcal, 11 km at 7%. On this climb, Hoël finally appreciated our granny gearing (compact in the front and a 32t in the rear). That’s just my normal gearing. Even in Michigan. Stop judging me.

By this point, we had given up on finding good pre-packaged ride food. The locals either don’t eat on rides, or else they stop in small, stylish cafes for an espresso and a cookie. Of course, I’m not that classy, so we ate waffles, doughnuts, and candy. This was supplemented with the best orange I’ve ever eaten. I hear citrus fruits taste better when they’re filched from a rural Spanish farm. Hypothetically.

Day 3: highway 7000/7001

We met up with Josh Spokes, a friend of Hoël’s from collegiate cycling, currently living in Spain. Josh is hilarious, but most importantly, he introduced me to Eurovision, which is basically a competition between the best weird nachori.de songs ever.

This ride was beautiful and scenic, until it was suddenly 40F and pouring rain on a technical descent. We had chuckled earlier at the local cyclists wearing full tights and heavy jackets on a sunny, 65-degree day, but in the end, we called a cab for the last 8 km home. Silly Americans.

My still-damp shoes will forever smell like bog after that downpour. It was probably just karma from the (hypothetical) citrus theft.

Day 4: Coast

It was VERY windy. We all know that Strava segments don’t matter, but I’m weak to such guilty pleasures. We indulged in some tailwind efforts and paid the price with a headwind slog home. It was so worth it, and the coastal views weren’t bad either.

Many thanks to Málaga expert Taylor Kruse, who gave us the week’s routes and (most importantly) tips on where to find peanut butter. We met up with him after the ride and got to meet a few other American cyclists who just happened to be in Málaga. Cycling is such a small world.

And then we took the train back to Madrid and spent the rest of our time eating, punctuated by the occasional sightseeing.

Vital STATS

Miles: 232
Bags of Haribo: 5
Kinder eggs: 2
Net calories burned: 0
Regrets: 0

All The Rides