On the weekend of June 11-13, the first edition of the Madrid to Barcelona took place.
The challenge was clear: to complete 685 km that separate Madrid from Barcelona on the bike, following the provided track and in less than 50 hours.
The atmosphere began on Thursday at the Porcel Torre Garden hotel, where some of the participants were able to meet and begin to share their previous experiences on the bike, as well as answering questions and exchanging knowledge before the event.
On Friday at 10 in the morning, in the pavilion of the Margot Moles sports center, the delivery of the welcome packs began, with some of the gifts offered by the sponsors, as well as the commemorative shirt of the event and the cap with the number of each competitor.
At 12 noon the 1st briefing meeting began in Spanish (at the end it was held again in English), explaining the details of the event and commenting on specific aspects such as the state of the asphalt or giving some advice on the water supply during the route.
Before the start, the participants had a few hours to rest, finish the bike preparations or eat to be able to face the challenge with enough energy. An hour before departure, the geolocators were assigned. And the luggage, that they were not going to need until they reached the finish line, was collected and would be transported in Davima’s van to Barcelona.
At 6:00 p.m. the start was given from the athletics track of the same sports center.
A few kms after leaving Madrid, gray clouds were beginning to be seen on the horizon that heralded a storm.
The forecast was fulfilled and at Km 40 it began to rain and an electrical storm could be experienced very close. In the area near Brihuega, lightning completely illuminated the sky for a few moments.
After 125km they arribe at the first checkpoint. The weather conditions marked a turning point and many participants modified their initial strategy.
At that point, two groups were formed. On the one hand there was a group that decided to continue pedaling in the rain, at night and in the cold. And another group, who after analyzing the different weather forecasts (they gave rain until 3 in the morning) and assessing the situation (after Cifuentes it rises to almost 1000 meters high), decided to rest for a few hours in the surroundings of Cifuentes and take the opportunity to recover, regain temperature, dry off and rest for a few hours.
Those who decided to continue pedaling, they did it at an agile pace that allowed them to maintain body temperature avoiding possible problems with the cold.
At 3 in the morning the first participants arrived at Nuévalos, Check point 3 (242km). Around that time, some cyclists from Cifuentes also began to leave, taking advantage of the fact that the storm had already passed.
As the hours passed, each participant found his rhythm, both at the level of pedaling and stops and rest. The fact of carrying out an adventure of this type simultaneously with other participants, makes you naturally end up coinciding in your stops with other participants who are doing a strategy similar to yours.
The countdown did not stop and the first cyclists arrived at Belchite, checkpoint 3. A place where it was important to get well provisioned, especially at water level, because the next 100Km, although they didn’t have long slopes, they went to be tough due to lack of water. Undoubtedly, the point that many will remember is Mequinenza (CP 4), since getting there involved pedaling in the harsh conditions of heat, constant wind and monotony of the road with asphalt that made the bikes vibrate a lot. But the satisfaction of having overcome that section was sure to be very great and unforgettable.
The kilometers accumulated at that point (about 400Km), began to weigh and together with the accumulated fatigue, that section became hard, whether you pedaled it during the day (faster participants) or at night. Reaching the extreme, that more than one participant said that he had hallucinations on the bike.
After leaving Mequineza, over one of the town’s large bridges, the track ran through the fields of fruit trees in Lleida. A more pleasant landscape when pedaling, with more activity and crossing small towns until reaching what would be the last checkpoint, in Santa Coloma de Queralt (CP5).
From CP 5 to Barcelona, the remaining distance was 100Km. Initially with a tendency to go down, but it wouldn’t be easy at all, especially taking into account the accumulated Kms.
At 21:23 on Saturday, 27 hours after the start, the first participant arrived in Barcelona, the expected goal located in Plaça Espanya. A total of about 15 participants did the challenge in non-stop mode, with hardly any rest. You can see all the statistics and times in the following link (https://tracktherace.com/es/eventos-deportivos/bicicleta/pedalma-madrid-barcelona-2021/carrera).
On Sunday at noon, the participants who had decided to “rest” a little more during the tour began to arrive, as part of their strategy, in order to complete the challenge.
A participants arrived to the finish line, great moments of emotion and joy were experienced. Each one came with a story of personal improvement and filled with anecdotes. But the best reward, to be able to hug family and friends who had been cheering from a distance and nervously following the course of the adventure live from home.
Undoubtedly, the stories and anecdotes lived by all the people who decided to leave Madrid to complete the tour are many and unique. It is for this reason that with the making of a video documentary we want to try to share some of them.
We also want to share some articles / texts from participants who decided to write a few lines about their experience in this first edition of Madrid Barcelona.
We hope you’ve liked it!
Do you want to participate in the next edition? you have all the information here