There's nothing better than riding stunning roads with locally-based riders and former pros who can share their passion and inside knowledge of the best routes. It's a great way to have a truly immersive, 'non-touristy' experience of an area's cycling culture.
This was a unique experience for me, not being an overly experienced cyclist, and the trip was truly life changing.
It was great to get to go to such beautiful and remote places with some of the villages we passed through not having met a non-native speaker for decades. We cycled along stretches of open roads not frequented by the regular tourists or indeed by any great numbers of locals. We were treated to mile upon mile of almost empty road, with suburb tarmac and surrounded by stunning scenery. The endless days of sunshine heading through the national parks and winding up and down the rolling hills made the journey seem effortless and we would cycle for hours without a single moment of boredom or wishing it would end.
With timely and comforting coffee breaks, lunch stops and the inevitable glass of wonderful local wine to keep us fuelled up, we just loved the journey as much as the destination. We could not have been wined, dined and rested in more style with world-class cuisine, sometimes from the most ordinary looking of hostelries. There was absolutely nothing that Mitch and Ash would not do to make the experience special, from the pre-tasting of the wine for dinner, to ensuring we had enough bread and ham for an impromptu snack en-route. Many say that the destination is the goal, but in this case it is truly the journey that will blow your mind.
I've ridden in Europe a lot and thought some of my trips would be hard to beat, but Vuelta managed it. The routes were fantastic, the roads felt off the beaten track and the views were spectacular. The team's knowledge of Spain, their attention to detail in planning and getting to know local cyclists really made this trip extra special.
There's nowhere better to ride than on Spain's perfectly smooth and completely empty roads through stunning scenery. The cycling is challenging at times through remote plains and steep mountain passes but the rewards are immense; after the best cycling you will have, you will arrive in your perfectly chosen town or village location, usually overflowing with Spanish culture and culinary delights to revive those weary legs - all well-deserved of course! Thank you Vuelta for the best weekend!