This year’s BucksMTB Club Trip to Sierra MTB began on 29th September where 6 members (Steve, Martin I, Martin J, Jim, Vit and Lester) met at Luton airport eagerly anticipating four days of uplifted assisted riding around the beautiful Malaga and surrounding area. This was a great opportunity for some of our newer members to get to know some of the long standing members and for Lester to start his hard sell on Wish.com, something which would become a bit of a theme for the next few days!
Once we had all met, we quickly checked in our bikes and luggage and made our way to the bar for a bite to eat whilst waiting for the flight. Time flew by and we soon found ourselves in Malaga airport wandering over to meet our pickup, Alexis, from SierraMTB.
It was probably about midnight by the time we were loaded into the bus, heading to our accommodation. The accommodation in question was a lovely villa within walking distance to the beach and about fifty yards from a private swimming pool. The enthusiasm from Alexis was soon apparent, as he began telling us about some of the routes we would be taking over the next few days.
We arrived at the villa absolutely knackered but buzzing with excitement. Cases were dumped in our rooms and bikes stored in the bike store ready for assembly in the morning prior to our first Spanish ride. Beers and biscuits were consumed for a couple of hours before we were all ready to hit the sack.
Sunday morning soon arrived, this was breakfast and bike assembly time! The bikes were soon unpacked and assembled and checked over ready for the mornings ride, which was to be approximately twenty miles around Coin Woods. The only problem was Vit’s tyre was not seating after being deflated for the flight, he had no tools with him or CO2 and to top it off no fluid in his tubeless tyres..... that explained why it wasn’t sealing then! Luckily we had some spare and a quick top up of fluid and a blast on the compressor next door solved this. I’m surprised you remembered your bike Vit, at least you had your selfie stick tho!
We soon finished up our Costa del English breakfast and were introduced to Jon who would be our guide for the duration of our trip. Once we were ready we eagerly began to load our bikes onto the van. It was the turn of my bike to go on the van, only to be met with a remark of “that’s a cute little bike, it’s like a girls bike” from Emily who was one of the other guides from SierraMTB, much to the lads amusement! I promptly reminded Emily that it’s not size that matters, it’s what you do with it that counts!
After a short drive we arrived in a car park in Coin Woods. This was to be our introduction for the four days ahead of us. It was also a great opportunity for Jon to assess our abilities and tailor the routes that we would be doing, to ensure we all stayed in once piece. Coin Woods consists of lots of amazing single track riding, some rocky and some rooty sections, along with some lovely flowing descents, mix all this in with lovely mountainous scenery and you will soon realise that there aren’t many places better than this. After a few hours of riding we were all ready for a spot of lunch, as we made our way to “The BP Garage” just outside the village of Coin. This was not what it sounds like. Yes it was at a BP garage, however there was a lovely café/restaurant on the side of the petrol station, where we wound down after the mornings riding. No sooner than I scoffed my burger we were ready for the second leg of the journey into Fuengirola and back to base.
More glorious single track followed, along with some quiet Spanish back roads until we found ourselves at “The Riverbed” There was some sort of Spanish festival going on as we passed by. There were literally hundreds of horses everywhere along this section and we took a leisurely ride past being careful not to startle them. Once back on the seafront and with a day’s riding under our belts we stopped for a very well deserved ice cream whilst we reminisced over the past day’s events.
After a cheeky ice cream and cool down we made our way back to our villa where bikes were washed and chains lubed up ready for tomorrow’s ride. Once showered we chillaxed (with an unlimited supply of complementary beer....) for a few hours before making our way into the town for a bite to eat washed down with a few drinks. After eating we were well and truly knackered so we made our way home to get ready for what Monday had in store.
Monday morning came and to my surprise I was wide awake at 7am, this is unheard of for me, it must have been my excitement, if only I knew what was in store. Today we were told that we would be doing the Golf Ball Mountain Descent. Breakfast was quickly consumed and our bikes loaded onto the van ready to ascend the mountain for the days ride ahead. By this time Lester had all of us with the wish.com app on our phone searching for bargains and refused to get on the van until we had all placed our first order ! Unfortunately prior to the trip away Lester had not had as much riding time as he would have liked, the first day had taken its toll and as a result he sampled the dark side…….An Ebike !! (You know I had to mention this Lester….Sorry !!)
With the bikes loaded onto the van, we began our journey to the Golf Ball Mountain in Mijas. We arrived in the car park and began the climb to what can only be described as awesomeness ! The initial climb along the fire road was hard going for approximately two miles (leaving me wishing I had the ebike!). After a quick stop for photos followed by a few adjustments to Martin I’s rear mech (as it was making funny noises presumably from all the dust from yesterday’s ride) we arrived at a trail that we would session a few times. This was a great section of wooded single track mixed in with a few ups and downs with rocks thrown in for good measure. After a couple of laps round this we made our way to the next section via a long fast flowing fire road descent. We must have made an impression on our first day as fairly competent riders as the next section was truly mind blowing. Roughly -22% of off camber single track descending for what felt like hours whilst dodging rocks that were the size of boulders and navigating switchbacks and a few small drop offs. This was a hard trail, make no mistake about that. I somehow arrived at the bottom without crashing with Jon (our guide) shouting at me to stop as there was a big drop off coming to a fire road. As I stopped I could smell the unmistakable smell of burning brake pads, they certainly took a workout on this trail. The two Martins arrived next and we all stood at the bottom wandering what we had just done and congratulating ourselves that we were still alive. I would honestly struggle to put this particular section into words, if you ever get the chance to ride it again, you will know what I am talking about when/if you get to the bottom!
After collecting our thoughts and thanking our lucky stars that we had survived to tell the tale we made our way to…….yep you’ve guess it…….the BP garage for lunch! After some more amazing single track mixed in with some brutal climbs we arrived at the BP, hungrier than ever.
With my athletic lunch (burger, chips and coke) consumed once again we made our way back to the villa via a slightly different route to yesterday’s ride. This consisted of more technical climbs, fast flowy single track with a few rocks thrown in for good measure. Again we soon found ourselves at a familiar place…..the riverbed. The riverbed was much quieter than it was yesterday as the festival had come to an end. As we made our way along we were met with a welcome sight for about 15 minutes……Rain! It was actually quite refreshing and cooling in the blistering heat as we made our way homeward. We soon arrived at the sea front and stopped for, yep you’ve guessed it….ice cream! We marvelled at the sections we had ridden today, before making our way home to clean and lube the bikes ready for tomorrow’s journey, hoping that it would be easier than what we had just done today. It was only when we got back and were speaking to Jon that he told us we had just rode a black route, that explains that then. Honestly, if you are reading this and get the chance to do it, then do it. It really was awesome!
After washing the bikes I arrived back from a quick swim to the sight of Martin I mopping the floor. Certainly not what I was expecting to see on a club trip away! It was then I found out that Martin J had used half a can of chain lube and half a can of silicon spray on his shocks and decided to silicon shine the floor tiles as well so they became a skating rink! So much lube was used I thought he was drinking it at one point! After the area was made safe, we got ready for dinner that evening. This was to be a visit to an Argentinian steak house, our most expensive meal of the trip. Costly it may have been, but it was also delicious. I also managed to pick up a genuine Breitling watch from one of the street sellers (with a five year guarantee!) By the time we arrived back at the villa my genuine Breitling had already lost an hour! At this point Lester advised me I should have gone to Wish.com!
Tuesday morning came and we were all after something a little easier today. Whilst battling our way through breakfast we discussed with Jon what our options were. We settled for two shorter rides today with two uplifts to minimise the workload on our tired legs. Alan, the owner of SierraMTB came along with us today just for the ride. He is 72 years young and as fit as a fiddle, a true machine for his age. The first run of the day “Mijas Down to La Cala” was some 16 miles long. This was an easy ride (compare to the golf ball descent). Starting with a descent down some narrow roads in Mijas village. This followed on to approximately 2 miles of downhill on dirt track which then turned into some great flowing single track with some technical descents. A few more climbs followed a riverbed crossing on route to a nice little Spanish bar for a quick drink. Lester had taken his normal bike today and due to the heat his legs were feeling it today, so again the ebike was requested. Alan kindly arranged for the ebike to be delivered to our current destination and advised that if anyone wanted a lift up the next 1.5mile climb they could jump in the van and we would meet them at the top. Well, he didn’t have to ask me twice! By this point I was knackered and used the short break to shout some kind words of encouragement to Steve, Vit, Lester and the two Martins. All I received back was rude hand gestures as I drove past, I don’t think any of them realised how tough a climb it was getting into the van!
Once at the top we were met with more single track mixed in with short steep climbs and technical descents with wonderful views over Fuengirloa. The last four or so miles were a relaxing ride along the seafront. It was here we stopped for a lunch break before we departed for our second uplifted ride of the day. For me lunch consisted of chicken shashlick and Bombay potatoes, everyone else had pizza or salad! We quickly stuffed this down, washed it down with a free glass of wine and made our way back home so we could load the bikes again.
The second ride was to be San Anton. This was only eight miles or so, but nice easy descending. We passed over a Frisbee golf course navigating some of the short sharp descents on there, again with some truly eye opening scenes, before finally making our way back for yet more ice cream! After this we headed home to wash bikes and get ready for tonight’s meal. The venue for tonight’s food was the same as lunch, so yet again I had chicken shashlick and Bombay potatoes for lunch! Steve and Vit were also inspired by my choice and ordered the same. This was our last night so it was with some reluctance that we returned home for an early night ready to make a start on some of the packing. We had already asked if we could make an early start on Wednesday so we could squeeze in one extra ride, this was kindly accommodated by SierraMTB and at 08.30 we left for our final ride. Martin J did not want to ride this morning as he had to dismantle more of his bike in order for it to fit in the box and Lester wanted to rest up and have a swim today so they stayed home to have a relaxing morning packing and swimming.
Myself, Steve, Vit and Martin I ventured out onto a shortened version of the Roman Baths ride. Starting outside Coin there were a couple of climbs on fire roads and single tracks descending to what are believed to be “Roman Baths” We stopped here for half an hour and walked around marvelling at the beauty surrounding us, before following the river (more of a stream) for a couple of miles, with some very rocky sections with steep drop offs to the side. No margin for error here!
After a climb out of the valley we then stopped for what would be our last mid ride drink in a remote Spanish bar. They didn’t even speak English, it was quite amusing seeing me trying to ask for an ice cream and after finally getting one, trying to stop the local dogs from nicking it off of me!
We made our way back to the villa via some more great single track towards the village of La Cala. There was to be no ice-cream stop today as we were pushed for time, so we went home and began to dismantle the bikes. Once packed we headed out for a final meal before the flight which took off around 7.30. We thanked our guide Jon and Alan and Alexis for all making our stay so enjoyable and making us feel so welcome, loaded all our luggage and bikes onto the van and headed to the airport for the flight home. No sooner had we taken off and DeadPool had finished playing on my phone the captain was advising that we were shortly going to land. This all happened without a hitch, we departed the plane, collected our luggage and said our goodbyes. We will meet again at the next club ride.
I’d like to end this write up by firstly thanking Steve A for arranging this trip as none of this would have happened without him. Steve, you are a credit to the club and thank you for everything.
Finally I’d like to thank each and every one of the ‘lads’ who made it on this trip, I’ve truly had an awesome time and I hope you all have too. I keep going over it in my head wishing I was back there, oh well I guess I’ll have to wait till the next trip. To each and every one of you, thank you once again. Happy riding!
Ride report: kindly provided by James L
Photo credits: James L, SteveA, Martin I, Martin J, Jim, Vit and Lester
Youtube video credit: Vit