Training Camp Priorat September 2018
Last week, Pedal Bike Rental was collaborating with the danish guys of Mensch Maschine, in a “end of season” training camp in the Priorat, a great wine area in the southern Catalunya. We are always glad to do it.
More than a training camp, was a cyclotourism camp. With lack of goals on the next weeks, the main objective of the cyclists was just enjoy the riding, the nice weather, good food, people and the great landscapes during the grape harvesting season in the area.
As usual, our guide Adrià, aka “Fus”, born in the heart of the area, travelled to Móra d’Ebre, where the group was staying these days, with a van full of road bikes for the cyclists who didn’t bring their own.
Previously, who was interested, sent us their biomechanical studies and we did the set up of each bike, trying that everybody felt comfortable with it.
Welcome ride to La Figuera
Mora d’Ebre – Garcia – El Molar – La Figuera – La Torre de l’Espanyol – Vinebre – Garcia – Mora d’Ebre (51km +646m)
So, when everybody arived at the hotel on Thursday 20th September, everything was ready (except for those who needed to assemble their own bikes).
At around 3pm, we started riding, our classic first ride around 50k’s, climbing to La Figuera (around 6k’s at an average of 5%), and stopping for a coffee/coke in Vinebre, after the funny downhill.
Most of the guests didn’t know each others, so this first ride it is always interesting to meet the other people and get into the cycling environment.
Last part of the route, enjoying the road at the side of the Ebre river, one of the main icon of the region.
See the track OF THE DAY ONE here.
Queen stage with legendary climbs
Móra d’Ebre – Móra La Nova – Els Guiamets – Capçanes – Marçà – La Torre de Fontaubella – Colldejou – Mont Roig del Camp – L’Arbocet – Vilanova d’Escornalbou – Riudecanyes – L’Argentera – Duesaigües – Porrera – Falset – Bellmunt del Priorat – El Molar – Garcia – Móra d’Ebre (111km +2060m)
On day 3, our guide had to deal with the guys of the long route. Although it wasn’t a race, the pace was faster from the beginning, and the way which the route started made him expect at tough day at the office, because as a guide he has to ride in front to indicate everything properly and at the right time (and at the same time taking care about the last ones in the group).
First official climb was Coll Roig on the way to Colldejou. The best thing of this climb is the downhill following. Almost 10k’s of a funny road that would take them to Mont-Roig del Camp (home of the best cycling school in Catalunya and his concret outdoor velodrome).
Then they kept rolling until Vilanova d’Escornalbou, where they stopped in a very lovely place for the mandatory “danish bomb” (coffee+coke) and some laughs, as usual.
But use to happen that after the laughs, some tears appeared (figuratively, of course) when they started the climb to El castell d’Escornalbou, 4,2k’s at 8% average and a last section between 15-18%…a wall to finish in the castle where you can enjoy great views of all the Baix Camp, the coast, and more…well deserved rest and a few minutes staring at this show.
After that, a beautiful and tricky downhill to l’Argentera, one of the wildest and authentic roads you can find in the area. If you have the chance, don’t skip this one…this road will take you to l’Argentera, a lovely village at the border between Priorat and Baix Camp.
They continued until Duesaigües, where the train bridge announce the starting of Coll de La Teixeta, one of the classic climbs in all Tarragona. Nice road, nice tarmac, steady, between 4-6% all time and an easier final part where you could push at high speed. Having a former masters world champion Time trial, made the things harder but also really fun! “Fus” better known for his power in sprints, also like to suffer climbing.
At the top, regrouping and downhill to Porrera, and as the day before with the short ride, the same way to Falset, where they had lunch. The heat, the distance and the amount of climbing was struggling some of the guys, so that rest time was good for everybody, to refill the tank and then keep going same way as the day before. But our guide “Fus” had a mechanical problem just after lunch…his back derailleur cable was broken and the chain couldn’t be moved away from the 11 teeth sprocket. Luckily was mostly flat until the hotel (except the climb to El Molar, that finally managed to do with this hard gear).
SEE THE TRACK OF DAY 3 HERE.
The heart of the Priorat
Móra d’Ebre – Garcia – El Molar – El Lloar – Gratallops – La Vilella Baixa – Scala Dei – Poboleda – Porrera – Falset – Bellmunt del Priorat – El Molar – Garcia – Móra d’Ebre (91,5km +1540m)
On day 2, they split it in two groups (long ride and “short ride”). Our guide did the short ride, climbing to El Molar (same as day before) but at that point, turning right to El Lloar and Gratallops. Before arriving to that village, they suffered the steep sections on the first kilometer and a half, between 10-12%…enough to start warming up. Sun was shining and the heat quite important, so, after riding close to the amazing wineries after Gratallops, they arrived to La Vilella Baixa (hometown of our guide “Fus”), where they did the first stop of the day. And belive us, a coffee in Cal Centro (the bar in the village) with the great views of “New York of Priorat” (how this village is called due to its tall buildings with 8 or 9 floors, weird in the area), is one of the best pleasures in a cyclist life.
After the coffee, easy climb to Scala-Dei (9 k’s at 3-4%) and riding all time with Montsant mountains at their left side. Once at La Venta del Pubill, changing the road to Porrera another beautiful village that remind us that the climb on the way to Falset is starting.
In Falset, mandatory stop for light lunch, some sandwiches or combinated dishes of meat, salad and potatoes, and of course some cold drinks.
This gave them quite energy to end the route, and despite the high temperature at around 3pm, the last part was easy and fun, discovering at the same time the amazing asphalted path from Bellmunt del Priorat, down to the river Siurana and then up to El Molar. Once to this point, just needed to fly on the fast downhill to Garcia, and roll easy until the hotel.
SEE THE TRACK OF THE DAY 2 HERE.
Easy ride on the quite roads of Terra Alta
Móra d’Ebre – Benissanet – Miravet – Pinell de Brai – Miravet – Benissanet – Móra d’Ebre (43km +400m)
On day 4, the plan was easy. Most of the guests had to take the plane in the afternoon, and some of them had to pack the bikes and prepare everything, so the idea was a “short” ride between 45 k’s (for those who wanted) and 75 k’s in the longer version.
Short ride was an easy one to El Pinell de Brai across a quite road on Sunday morning, and back on the same way. The other part of the group went a bit further to find the “Via verda” (where the old railway was installed, and after some changes in the train network, that became useless, so they took off the tracks and now you can enjoy an amazing ride there).
Then to Prat de Comte and back to Pinell de Brai, and after the downhill a quick coffee near the Ebre river in Miravet, before they finally arrived to Mora d’Ebre.
We just would like to thank Mensch Maschine to give us the opportunity of being part of this “stage”, and to all the cyclists to make it easier, funny and an enriching experience for everyone.
And just to say that luckily we had no crashes or dangerous situations, which is the most important thing, we always work with this main goal.
SEE THE TRACK OF DAY 4 HERE.