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GCN’s Epic Rides | Ep.2 Andalucía, Spain

GCN’s Epic Rides | Ep.2 Andalucía, Spain


– [Emma] This ride has it all. Climbs, epic descents, coffee, wildlife, forests, cork trees, coffee, como hablar de cafe Espanol, smooth roads, gravel
adventures, more coffee. Oh, and one presenter blows up. Watch on to find out who. – Check out mine. Cervelo
TestTeam suitcase. Still. (electronic music) – [Matt] You might have
seen that back in January Dan and Si lucked out, and got to fly off for some winter sun, courtesy of EasyJet. The idea was to show not only what amazing riding there
is just a short flight away, but also the amazing riding destinations that you might never have thought of. Now unfortunately for Dan and Si, their bar tab was so large, that Emma and I got the call instead. Although little do they know just how much coffee we’re going to drink. Anyway, instead of Gran Canaria, this time it’s destination Andalucia. (upbeat dance music) – [Emma] Malaga is an
easy gateway to Andalucia. The taxi, plane, taxi, within five hours I’ve gone from my house
to the Costa del Sol. If you venture inland, it’s a hidden gem waiting for you to explore by bike. (upbeat electronic music) – Well Emma, we’re finally here, at the start point of our ride in beautiful Estepona in Andalusia, with 21 kilometres of sandy beaches stretching to our left and to our right. Do you know what? I don’t really wanna leave this spot, but we’re going to because we’ve got some very, very cool undiscovered
territory to explore. – Yeah we’re not doing any beaches today, we’re doing 127 k–
– No. It’s hilly roads. – Of mountains, yeah. It’s quite nice, because
it’s not even dawn, we’re starting a bit late, to be honest, because we had to build
bikes this morning. But only 16 hours ago? – Yeah. – I was at home in Bristol,
hopped on a plane out here, good night’s sleep and coffee
at the beach and off we go. – Hey! – First time! – High five! Here we go! 130 k’s in the hills of Andalusia. (upbeat Flamenco music) – That’s quite an epic start
to the ride. Bit of gravel. – [Emma] Few fjords. – Very, very steep sections of road, but yeah, very exciting and
eventful nine kilometres so far. But the views as we get gradually higher already absolutely stunning. – [Emma] Starting on
the coast in Estepona, the route takes us up into
the mountainous hinterland of the Sierra Crestellina,
the Sierra de Grazalema, and the Sierra Bermeja. At 127 kilometres in total, it might not sound like a huge ride. But with 3,500 metres of
climbing and descending, it’s basically up and down all the way. We have many villages en route where we think there’ll be coffee options, all of them beautiful
places in their own right. But, well, we stop at all of them. There’s only so much coffee, surely, that one can consume on a ride. – [Both] Ah. – 17 k’s in, time for a coffee stop. – [Emma] Check out the
view, it’s stunning. – [Matt] Ah, look at this! – That’s Africa! – Yeah, that’s Africa. – Coffee with a view
of Africa. How awesome. – So there’s Gibraltar just over there, that little peak just
beyond the wind farm, and then Atlas Mountains just
across the Mediterranean. – [Emma] Right, so how’s
your Spanish, Matt? – [Matt] Poco Espanol. – Poco Espanol? Well this,
this is a cafe con leche. – Cafe con leche. – Because leche is milk, and con is with, and cafe is coffee. – Cafe con leche. – And this one is a cafe
con leche corto de cafe, which means short on the coffee. Can you see it, mine’s got more milk. – It’s not quite as dark as mine, is it? – Do you want a milky one? – No this is, this is fine. – Okay well there you go,
I like mine corto de cafe. And Matt likes his normal de cafe. – There we go. (down tempo electronic music) – In this neck of the woods,
you know, it’s a micro climate. 325 days of sun every year. And we’ve hit one of those days. – This is Gaucin, which it’s motto is balcon de la serrania, which means the balcony of the mountain range. Which is kind of appropriate given it’s kind of perched on
the edge. It’s beautiful. – I mean we are pretty well travelled, we’ve been fortunate enough to go all over the world with our cycling. But this, this is up there isn’t it? It’s absolutely spectacular. – I can’t get over how quiet
and smooth the roads are. So little traffic. – Great roads. Very quiet. – And these cork trees, I love them! – Look at that! A view of
Africa, and beautiful Andalusia. What d’you reckon? Quick! A nice little cafe with a view. – I think it’d be rude not to, really. – Should we just have a cheeky one? – Definitely, it’d be rude
not to with that view. – Yeah okay. – Look at that. – [Matt] So we’re 40
kilometres into the ride now, give or take, and thankfully,
well a slightly flat section, one of the first flatter sections, then we’re on a bit of a plateau before we drop down the other side. – And there’s another climb. – And there’s another climb but– – And there’s another descent, and I then I think there’s another climb then another descent
and then another climb. – What are you trying to do to me? I’m trying to create and
generate a little bit of morale. – Sorry. Although I
like climbs, don’t you? – Although saying that I do like climbs, but you’re just a little bit better than me at climbing that’s all. – Not straight after lunch, though. – No. Got a nice bocadio. I had a nice omelette sandwich which was really nice. – That’s a bocadio de tortilla. – Bocadio de tortilla!
That was pretty good. – That was perfect. That was spot on. – Thank you very much. – Good work. – Cheers. (down tempo electronic music) – Even a Spanish cobble climb.
This ride’s got everything. – Orange tree! Look at that! – Emma is now gonna talk about cork. – Yeah, ’cause this section of the ride is called Los Alcornocales, apparently. And an alcornocal is an oak tree. And the oaks around
here are pretty special ’cause they’re cork oaks. And I didn’t realise this
til quite recently but what that means is they harvest the bark and that bark is the cork which they make wine bottle corks out of. Which is extremely important. – But there’s a fine art, isn’t there, to cutting the bark from the tree. Apparently up to four people
do it with little mini axes. – Yep because you have to be
careful not to damage the tree and actually with most trees, if you cut the bark off
it would kill the tree, but with a cork oak it
doesn’t kill the tree. And it grows back it just takes ages. So the cork oaks are protected. You’re not allowed to cut one down without special permission. – Wow. – Although I have to say I’m
quite a fan of screw top wine because it’s a lot easier to get into. – I’ll tell you what, Emma, that was an absolute corking fact. (upbeat retro rock music) – So at this point, we’re getting up to almost half way on the ride, and we’re in the Parque
Natural de Grazalema, which is one of the many
natural parks in Andalusia, but it’s quite a big one. – [Matt] It’s gotten
semi-off-road, this bit, it’s a bit like, a kind of– all the pitted and rotted
(mumbles), loads of gravel. – [Emma] Awesome. – [Matt] It’s really,
really awesome. It’s– – Twisting through the
trees, it’s not too steep. – Ah! Bits like that, really,
that catch you unawares. – Gotta watch where you’re going, really. – Yeah, blimey. This really is a ride of mixed texture and character. (upbeat retro rock music) – [Matt] Ooh, cafeteria. – [Emma] It is the cafeteria. – [Matt] Should we–
fancy just a cheeky one? A mid afternoon coffee? Yeah, okay. Here we are in Cortes de la Frontera, about 73 kilometres in, thankfully, well over half way now by a few k’s, and most of the climbing done as well. – Indeed, yep. We have sugar
packets with our coffees– – We do. – That have little sayings
on them in Spanish, which is rather cool although actually this is an English saying that has been translated into Spanish. See if you can guess what it means. – Yeah, I’m gonna give it my
best shot, my best Spanish. Se tu mismo los demas puestos
ya estan ocupados, okay. – Which means, “be yourself,
the others are already taken.” – And that’s Oscar Wilde
or Oscarus Wieldes. – Pretty good saying actually. – Yeah thank you. – And then my one, it doesn’t
say who made up my saying, I think it’s just folklore which is Valora a quien te dedica su tiempo, te esta dando algo que nunca
recuperara, which means– – Value your time,
dedicate some to yourself, and it’ll be okay for recuperating. – (laughs) It means “value those– “those who you value, you
should dedicate your time to, “because you’re giving them something “you can never get back”
which is quite true as well. Spend time with people
you care about, basically. – [Matt] What a ride so far. – [Emma] It’s been pretty awesome. – And it’s still kind of really warm. It’s about quarter past
four in the afternoon. I reckon two and a half
hours to go, roughly? Somewhere along those lines
if we press on a little bit? – Yeah I reckon it might
be three, actually. – I reckon two hours 41. – Decent amount of climbing
if you put coffee on it. Bet you an ice cream it’s three hours.
– Alright then. – I bet you an ice
cream it’s two hours 42. – Alright , there’s an ice cream in it. – Well how many coffees is that? That’s three coffee stops, isn’t it? But I think it’s the way to go. – That’s fairly restrained, actually. – It is pretty restrained. – I’m not ruling out another one. – No, I’m not ruling
out another one as well. Let’s try to get another hour in, then maybe a cheeky one before we descent. (upbeat flamenco music) – [Emma] Andalusia is a very
special region of Spain. It was actually the last
part of the Iberian Peninsula to remain part of the
Al-Andalus Islamic Caliphate before the Reconquista
took Grenada in 1492. As a result of this rich cultural history, the settlements and architecture are fascinating and beautiful. And actually, many of the traditions that we think of as traditionally Spanish are actually Andalusian:
flamenco, bull fighting, paella. – It’s, yeah, great descending. Really smooth surface as well. That was a lot of fun. (flamenco music) We think this is nearly the top of the penultimate climb from our Wahoo. And we drop down for a
bit and then we’ve got one last pretty big climb before the run in back to
Estepona and I must admit, my legs are starting to
feel it actually, Emma. (rock music) We are now on the final climb. – 1/6th of the way up it. 100 metres of climb. – Just over 100 metres up
it in terms of height gain. Really steep at the bottom. Mercifully this is more of
a slightly flatter section. – Quite enjoying the
shade as well, actually because it’s getting warm. – It’s still really warm
considering the time of day. We’re well into the evening. (rock music) – I am feeling rather
interesting right now. – Friends don’t let
friends get hypoglycemic. – Sugar. Flippin’ heck,
what a ride though. I think I’m hallucinating. Oh really. Ooh. Uncle. Can’t actually press any harder than this. I’m knackered! It’s great! – Estepona! An epic view. – It’s a million dollar view, innit? – Nearly at the end of an epic ride. Boom!
– Bosh! – Thank you for your moral support, Emma. – S’alright. Thank you
for your moral support. – No, it’s been a pleasure. And now we’ve got that lovely
plummet down to the lines, I’m gonna have another handful of– – 15 k all downhill, woohoo! – Sugar and chemicals. – 7:26 p.m. at night. – Yeah 7:26 p.m. – That is quite late to
not have finished the ride but that’s okay. – And we were kind of in Estepona about half past nine this
morning, quarter past nine. But we’ve had a few stops,
we’ve just enjoyed the day. – We have had a few stops. – We’ve packed a lot in today. – A lot of coffee in. – And the last bit is gonna be a lovely plummet down, back
to the sea front in Estepona. – Yeah I think one of the
great things about this ride, apart from Matt’s snotty nose, – Sorry it’s typical. – But the last 15 k is all downhill. So we’re both a little bit tired. But we don’t have to
really pedal that much. – We can just let the bike and
let gravity do all the work. – Vamos a la playa. – Let’s go to the beach. – Spot on. (upbeat dance music) – Right we’ve made it. We’ve made it and I think it
might be time for an ice cream. – Yeah, it was a big ride. – That was a big ride. – Good work. – And I recognise that descent, it was used in the Vuelta
a couple of years back, when Leopold Konig won the stage. And actually in the Vuelta Andalusia the stage was won by Alejandro Valverde a couple of years ago,
an absolutely epic climb. – I learn a lot from
riding with you, Matt. I knew nothing about the Vuelta. Anyway, high five, that was a big ride. – That was a great ride. That was proper, proper old school, super enjoyable, some fantastic roads. – Lots of coffee. – Great company, lots of coffee. – Lots of corks. – Amazing countryside. – Anyway, we had a bit of a
bet about the time we’d finish. – Yeah I said 7:41
p.m., you said 8:00 p.m. And you are by far the nearest, by like three minutes,
I’m twenty minutes out. But I reckon you dictated the pace, I think you manipulated the speed. – What, you think I went slower? – No I think it was my legs
that caused you to go slower, actually on that part of the climb. – Let’s not argue on this one, Matt. I win, but that means I buy
you an ice cream, right? – That sounds great. Let’s do it. Let’s go and sit down and have one. Brilliant! Well Emma, what a ride. I think we are deservist of some treats. You’ve gone super healthy, I’ve
just gone– D’you know what? It’s about chocolate, carbs
and sweetness, so basically– – He’s double-waffling. – I’ve ordered the entire shop of muffins, sorry of waffles, and chocolate ice cream. – Yeah he’s double-waffled,
double-parked on the waffles. Anyway, it’s been– – Seriously burned some calories. – Absolutely gorgeous ride. Definitely recommend it, it’s super quick to get here from the UK. Straight to Malaga with EasyJet. Spot on, thanks EasyJet. And if you wanna check out
another one of these epic rides, try looking at Sy and Dan’s ride in Gran Canaria, which
you can see down here. – Or, if you want a slightly
looser version of this video, but the inside look at this ride, where you see me in
various states of fatigue, click down here.

100 comments on “GCN’s Epic Rides | Ep.2 Andalucía, Spain

  1. Let us know where you think we should ride next! In the meantime, here's the GPX file for the ride if you fancy having ago yourself… let us know how you get on! http://gcn.eu/malagagpx

  2. impressive Spanish skills Emma! Thank you guys for so nicely showcasing the beauty of the region, you did your homework 🙂 PD: next time, let us know you're around. Would be nice to share some km with two British ex-champions 😛

  3. Emma is on alloy wheels and a 105 group. We definitely need a presenter bike vid featuring her Trek.

  4. What about a ride in the South of Germany near Munich around the lakes and towards the foot of the Alps? A stunning place and great roads!

  5. Emma, again, your Spanish is great! Just one commment… an "alcornocal" is a coark oak *forest*, the tree itself is the "alcornoque". It looks similar to the "encina" (holm oak) that gives "bellotas" (acorns) to feed Iberian pigs and create "jamón ibérico" 😉

  6. Matt, let me throw you to "4 Best Ways to Train for Long Climbs" 😀 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2nRVdI5DEE Seriously though, really good to see two great national champs riding together.

  7. Awesome ride! (10:38 quotes should be "Value those who give of their time to you, as they are giving you something they will never recuperate")

  8. "Amazing riding a short flight away." Still a long way for those of us outside Western Europe. Would love to see some of these "unlikely destinations" in the U.S., Asia, Africa. Your budget is significantly larger than mine, let me live vicariously though you.

  9. That looks amazing! Well deserving of bucket list status, the views, the roads, minimal traffic, the coffee!! Though I reckon I'm going to have to train hard to attempt it considering that it was a challenging ride for a British Champion and a World Champion!

  10. really enjoyed watching this, thank you!
    although, I would prefer to see more of the scenery and less of the small talk

  11. You forgot to explain one of the most important parts of cycling abroad: take a motorbiker on your trip to motor pace you up every climb 😉

  12. The Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail in Nebraska, USA would be a fine destination with some awesome scenery and history to be discovered. Here is a link for more information: https://www.traillink.com/trail/cowboy-recreation-and-nature-trail/

  13. Brilliantly inspiring! Emma has such a great "Presenter's" way of describing the scene and making
    you feel like you now know why this is such a great adventure. Matt always reminds me of the
    real story with his technical rider description of grade, roads …coffee.
    Thanks for such a great way to make GCN so much a part of my riding.
    Tom Byrne

  14. Well, well. I see that probably you don't know how is called a tyre or a stem or a seatpost in Spanish; but you perfectly know the difficult world of spanish coffee (when 5 spaniards get together for a coffee, none ask for the same kind of elaboration). With that knowledge you could be adopted for any Spanish group of riders (beer is also important, but more easy to decide, just the size and the number of them). Glad to see you riding here in Andalucía.

  15. Great video and nice kit too! GCN kit in Hong Kong would be nice. I realize you guys have support cars, what would you usually recommend for cassettes, gearing and tires for trips like this which involves steep climbs and descents?

  16. Portugal! Go to Portugal! So much better than Spain! Lovely country, good roads! Specialy in the south! Go there and enjoy! 🇵🇹🇵🇹🇵🇹

  17. How about RAGBRAI in State of Iowa in the USA. One week of flat, beautiful country with music, food, beer all week long.

  18. Love you guys! Thanks you very much indeed for everything you did for me! You opened me the world, the world of cycling! Matt God Luck in your commentary, you are a dedicated professional! Watching Tours with your voice is something special! See you in Grand Tours!

  19. Did the first 50km of this route today. The first 10k turns into a gravel road so just be aware of that or find an alternative route on to the MA-8300. Otherwise it’s an incredible route with some great views, quiet roads and plenty of hill towns for stops. 👍👍

  20. love the music in all their videos kudos to the editorial team and everyone else involved with gcn

  21. Mat`s accents is pretty good in Spanish, for not knowing what he is saying. (I'm a native speaker just in case)

  22. Matt always reminds me of Stan, from Oliver and Hardy. Hapless to the core. Charmingly disarming. or maybe it's just cos i always fuck up when i try clipping in too…. ha ha. Great show. Emma is a treat.

  23. Did this ride yesterday – Epic! Nearly did a Matt running out of food and drink on the last climb… The section through the national park is stunning but has rough, pot-holed roads – not easy on a hire bike running 23mm at 120psi. Had to do the ride solo and with a pub meeting to make in the early afternoon, I couldn't stop for coffees (but should have). Rode from where I was staying, so joined the ride at the start of the first climb.

    The GPX file has a few odd turns, presumably for cafes? And just what where you doing in Estepona, a crit circuit?

    My ride on Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1830105538

  24. Love these bike travel logs. This particular one certainly brings back childhood memories: my aunt and uncle lived in Estepona for many, many years. Thanks!

  25. To ride with Matt Stevens must be one of the best things ever, but by golly isn't Emma an absolute delight . Two super lovely people inspiring a fabulous adventure ! Thanks Guys , Steve .

  26. Great video from GCN and the weather is really sunny and for cycling. Thanks for that and also for coffee theme – it`s truth 🙂

  27. Thanks GCN, We just finished this epic ride and it was truly epic!! By the way we also had lots of "cheeky ones" 😉

  28. Hi there. I'm about to go do that Andaluz route y'all did. Downloaded the GPX file, and it's… crazy! No wonder it took all day! I'm not sure it's … right. Has anyone else tried to follow it? I'm off to do it tomorrow, but may get totally lost if I follow that file. I'll let you know!

  29. Great video! Small comment…while it is true about flamenco (being from Andalucia and not the whole os Spain), however Paella is from Valencia definitely not Andalucia.

  30. Just done this ride yesterday. Omg GCN the state of the road in the Forest section is absolutely lethal ,so bad on descents we were glad when it went up again. That's not a gravel section as described it is an off road mtb track at best. Loving GCN but please make people aware of this

  31. Enma !!!vaya paliza que le has dado¡¡¡ Por cierto la paella es de Valencia..y los toros de todo el pais mas bien. Gracias, por que se nota que aprecias España.

  32. 3:11 that elevation graph looks lit af! thak you for an amazing content, hope I'll get to ride this rout some day 😉

  33. And a month after this video went up, the presenter who blew up announced they were leaving. Hmmm…blowing up at a world champion then announcing you're leaving…I am not sure that leave was entirely voluntary.

  34. Bit late to this one (and more than a few others)… I went on the GCN You Tube Page and noticed a (in my opinion) GLARING mistake… There is no 'Epic/Bucket List' ride video collection.
    I point this out because I am a 'very old' cyclist, that did a few interesting competitive rides in my youth, but was never a 'pro' level pedal pusher… the grandest thing I ever did was to hang with the Russian Olympic Cycling team when I was 16 years old.
    However, in today's modern era, I am more about epic and 'I would love to ride that route…' videos.
    I can't be the only one. Just an innocent comment.
    Edit: on top of the "Russian Team" thing, I also have done a few rides in the US from Duluth Minnesota, around the great lakes… so US and Canada. Amazing views, nice rides and impressive logistics. (for me anyway)… Thoughts?

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