Madrid to Barcelona a new ultra-distance event, without any type of assistance ,following a track composed of 700km of road and +700 km. Pedalma was represented as an ambitious challenge, not only for the main characters of this adventure, also for all the Gsport Custom team.
Ibai Fradejas biggest representative of the gravel modality in Spain, and Fernando Márquez,CEO of GSport, were registered in the pairs modality of this first edition of Pedalma. Their goals were clear from the start, they wanted to complete the race in one go, non-top, in less than 50h.
Such a challenge required a cycling kit that would adapt to all the adversities that Ibai and Nando would encounter along the way. Rain, wind, night, heat... they needed 4 garments because they were going to cycle for more than 50 hours by bike, they needed comfortable clothes and they needed to be comfortable to help them meet their goals.
In ultra-distance tests every detail counts. The clothes that you pick to bring, the things you choose to take with you in your bag, covers, spare parts, how to plan your nutrition and breaks…each little element plays an important role. However, despite all the previous preparation there are things you can’t predict like the weather or the falls.
As the race unfolded, the things weren’t going as planned. The persistent rain that lasted some hours and the first night took their toll on the pair of cyclists. Both of them are sharing with us their experience in Pedalma and they analyze how their priorities where changing during the race.
“For Pedalma, Fernando and I had decided on an action plan before the big night out. After a frenetic start, the 50 cyclists started spreading around. When we got to the first big uphill, the pace stabilized and the cyclists began to take positions. We cycled quite fast and arrived in first position to the first checkpoint after riding 125km. It only took some minutes for us to get our accreditation, to put on our waterproof windbreaker, and start cycling once again. We kept cycling without thinking a lot about it when we noticed it was too late we were already below the storm.“.
“More or less half of the participants decided to take shelter at the first checkpoint and take a rest from the rain. Although we decided to keep following our plan which was not stopping until the third checkpoint which was located 375 km away. However, the temperature decreased insanely fast and I started suffering a lot because of the cold.” Explained Fernando. The fatigue began to take over my body and I could barely keep my eyes open, even with the caffeine gels. When you try your best and push your body to overcome such conditions, you become much more vulnerable”.
At the beginning of the new day, the plan of the race took an unexpected turn, Ibai knew that sooner or later he would had to go by himself to Barcelona. “Although it was obvious we weren’t going to win we still wanted to compete and to enjoy the views we had in the early hours of the mornings. But Fernando was devastated because of the night before, the steep uphill and the increasing of the temperature until the 44ºC, didn’t help him. We were fighting a lot and getting to the fourth checkpoint which was 473km away proved it. As soon as we got to Mequinenza, I noticed that something was not right with Fernando. He was sick and tired. There was no meaning in trying to complete the race when there were still 200km to go. No matter his sadness, he didn’t have any other option than quitting".
Although they knew this meant their disqualification as a pair, Ibai decided to keep going all by himself. For him and for Fernando. Even though his race strategy hadn't gone at all as planned, he still wanted to finish what they had started. "After 700 hard kilometers, I finally reached the finish line. It had been a hard journey, but at the end, I was proud of myself because I was able to complete the route. Perseverance is an art and sometimes we must seek motivation through alternative sources. Although at first I wanted to win as a pair, soaking up the experience from the last 200km alone, and overcoming the difficulties of the second night was an equally rewarding result".