For comparison: When I took part in the race in 2017 my best finish in a stage was 36th.
My partner, Sandra Backman, also took part in Ladies Elite. Here's her story
Adalucia Bike Race
- 6 Stages
- 400 km
- 10.000 hm
Strong last stage!
Here's the data for the different stages. Obviously heart rate will drop for each new stage during a stage race. But have a look at the average power for the last stage! It's almost half an hour longer than the first but almost the same power! Even though the heart rate is much lower! Very interesting!
1 13 1h18m 173 187 251 281
2 10 3h10m 164 182 209 243
3 10 3h48m 159 177 196 237
4 9 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A (bike comp died)
5 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A (stage canceled)
6 10 1h51m 155 170 241 275
Training for the Race - 0 rest days
Don't let anyone tell you that you can't increase your Watts while dropping weight. The above graph is proof that you can.
I didn't have a single rest day in the 4 weeks leading up to the race: I bike commute to work and continued to do so up until the day that I left for Spain. My bike commuting is however done at a very low intensity (Zone 1).
The four week before the race:1 week before: 2 shorter HIT sessions
2 weeks before: 3 HIT sessions. 2 long distance
3 weeks before: 2 HIT sessions, 2 long distance
4 weeks before: 2 HIT sessions, one race, one long distance
The Bike - Full Susp
I ended up racing up Trek Top Fuel 9.9 RSL.
This is the most compliant and smooth mountain bike that I have ever owned. It's a full suspension bike. If you're going to race Andalucia Bike Race and you own a full susp I strongly recommend that you race it on that kind of bike. The terrain is difficult and you need all the compliance that you can get. My bike was not particularly light, ending up weighing around 10kg. I had new and lighter wheels on order but they were delayed.
Gearing - Wide Range
Tires - Puncture Protection is Key
- Front: Schwalbe Rocket Ron 2.25 Snakeskin (600 gram), 1.4 bar of pressure
- Rear: Schwalne Racing Ralph 2.1 Snakeskin (600 gram), 1.4 bar of pressure
A bit wider in front for better grip. I could've gone wider in the rear as well but opted for something that's easy rolling.
The race has a lot of sharp rocks. The risk of punctures is super high. You must have tires with thick sidewalls.
Brakes - Use Metallic Pads
Gels, Drinks and Energy
Tools and stuff
This is what I had with me:
- Multi tool
- CO2 nozzle, two cartridges
- One extra tube (taped to the seat post)
- Tire levers
- Quick chain link
Andalucia Bike Race - Difficult Technical Terrain
Andalucia Bike Race is a bit special compared to other stage races that I've raced: It does take place in hilly terrain but it also has a lot of quick gravel road sections. So you need to be ready for super technical downhills, really steep climbs, but also some quick group riding on the gravel road sections. If you compare this to a race like Beskidy Trophy then Beskidy has much less flat riding but the descents are actually more technical at Andalucia Bike Race, even though Beskidy has much more climbing (altitude gain) per stage and longer descents.
The weather was the big subject of ABR in 2018. It was TERRIBLE. The first three stages were good but the last three were under pouring rain and strong winds. Actually there were no THREE last stages as stage five was cancelled due to the extreme weather, and both stages four and six were shortened.