Wednesday 17th June 2009 by C. Freeman
Three teachers from Brooke Weston recently undertook a marathon cycling expedition in the Spanish region of Andalucia.
Mr Shorrock, Mr Clasper and Mr Cowley covered 400 miles during the four-day trip, the most gruelling part of which was cycling 14 kilometres uphill through the famous La Ragua mountain pass. In order to prepare for the race they had taken part in local cycle races at Naseby and Rutland covering distances of up to 110 miles in a day.
The trio began their expedition at Malaga, then planned a route north to Granada, through the Sierra Nevada mountain range and back down to Almeria in the south. On the first day they covered 90 mountainous miles to the medieval town of Antequara. After an overnight stop they rode 110 miles along a valley near Granada experiencing amazing scenery and seeing troglodyte dwellings.
From there the team tackled the gruelling 14km mountain pass ascent. It took one-and-a-half hours of constant pedalling (up gradients similar to Rockingham Hill) to reach the top. Mr Shorrock said: 'We went from probably close to 30 degrees at the bottom to snow at the top and the pass had an altitude of 2,000 metres. That was both the highlight but also the most challenging part of the trip.'
There followed a hazardous 25km descent to the valley where they reached speeds of up to 50mph, with Mr Shorrock almost having an accident due to the potholed road surface. The 90-mile challenge ended with an overnight stop at Berja from where they cycled 50 miles along the coast road to Almeria before catching the flight home.
Mr Cowley raised £450 for the Cruse Bereavement Care charity by being sponsored for the event.
Mr Shorrock said: 'It was a great experience and we will probably plan another similar trip. We were all glad to get out of the saddle at the end of day four. There's no amount of preparation you can do for 400 miles in four days. We were in the saddle pretty much for eight hours a day.'
Mr Clasper said: 'The weather was a very draining aspect of the trip with temperatures ranging from very cold at the top of the mountain passes to 33 degrees by the coast – it was a tough assault on the body. We had to consume around eight litres of water per day and tried to eat around 4,000 to 5,000 calories – so ordering a pudding after our evening meal was more about fuel than food! We're already looking for next year's challenge which will be a bit longer and a bit harder.'