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We finished mounting our bikes just in time for the real English breakfast which, buy the way, was included in Sierra Cycling's 70 euros / day package. Included in the daily fee are naturally also accommodation, guiding and van transportats to trails, and even free beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks at the house. Not bad at all.
After packing bikes into two mini-buses we headed to the Mijas mountain for the first time. The mountain is located just a few kilometres from the beach with peaks (in Malaga area at least) reaching about 1000m above the sea level.
The transport to the mountain top to the place where tele masts are located took us through a narrow and twisty road with some beautiful views to the white hillside town of Mijas and Fuengirola, where Sierra Cycling’s beach house is located. It was about the time for the first descent if the day.
The first uplift: Telecom Tower
Our descent started just below the telecom towers at an altitude of 915m. The first part of the descent was 3.3km and took us to 555m above the sea level. The first part was quite rocky with lot of loose stones and many switchbacks. It took a while to get accustomed to these conditions that were so different from what we typically encounter in Scandinavia. It undoubtedly was a challenge for several less experienced riders of the group as witnessed by some bleeding faces of fellow riders at our first stop.
Photo: Our first stop at 555m above the sea. Telecom towers up on the left. Fuengirola in the middle down in the valley.
After some first aid we continued with a minor climb on an asphalt road back to an altitude of 600m. From there we continued descending on the second part of the route. It took us to 390m with a distance of 3km of this second leg. Looking at happy faces everybody were really enjoying and so were we. Up until this point, our group of around ten bikes had suffered two flat tires, indicating how sharp edged rocks the Mijas mountain had in offer. From here on it was smooth and easy descending to 120m before cruising back to the beach house on asphalt roads.
When back at the beach house, we had recorded a total distance of 19km of which the last 7km was on the asphalt.
The second uplift
After a tasty lunch on a beach restaurant it was time for the uplift of the day. With some riders willing to chill out the afternoon, we packed only one minibus and headed back to the mountain, this time to an altitude on 465m. Our second descent was 8km of undulating single track to 35m above the sea level and thereafter cruising back to the house where we arrived at 2pm. Total distance of the second ride was 17km including the asphalt section.
Back at the house it was time to share experiences and feelings of the day with a cold beer or two. While everybody were happy with the riding day, some less experienced fellow riders told that they found the first descent (telecom tower) from the mountain top within their limits but just with a narrow margin. Those staying with Sierra Cycling for the whole week usually arrive on Saturdays. Our guide told us that the telecom tower descent is saved for the mid week (we did it on Thursday) to give riders time to get accustomed with the conditions which for the most participants are quite different from what they usually experience back home.
In total, our first day of riding yielded following stats:
Note: All route statistics are based in measurements done by Suunto Ambit and refer to on the bike ascent and descent.