Algarve Bike Challenge is a three day mountain bike race based out of Tavira in a quiet village just 40 minutes from Faro airport. The Algarve Bike Challenge starts with a short city prologue at night and is followed by two long gravel marathons. The two marathon stages are mostly over country roads and rolling hills that never end!
As Lars and I wanted to get some easy long rides done before we started the mountain bike race, we made the decision to go to Tavira a few days earlier. This was also a good opportunity to test out my new Birk FIRST bike. This bike is perfect if you enjoy riding in all types of conditions, at the same time as it features all the new Sram Eagle. When it comes to the tyre I recommend a good volume tyre 2.2 with protection walls, as well as front wheel grip/side knobs. If you want to know more about my Bike and where I got i from click here.
When we arrived the destination I was amazed by the quiet atmosphere and the lack of tourism and rubbish. This place was perfect for biking! No noise, no traffic, just endless rolling hills and country roads with a sea view.
The Algarve Bike Challenge is a MTB stage race disputed by teams of two riders. Lars Granberg and I were on the same team against teams from 10 or more nations. There was no doubt that the competition from the other teams was strong, as some of the teams such as the Belgian team had won races such as the National Champions.
As we did not aim to win the race, we did not put much into it which resulted in me and Lars not having the greatest start. Nevertheless it was exciting sprinting in and around the streets in front of the onlooking locals. Additionally we had no technical problems, except a small tyre leak and rode consistent throughout the race, which made us reach a top 10 result in the end. I know we could have been faster and reached top five, but this require better race preparations. This was Lars’s first race of the year, as well as his first real training camp. In conclusion I would say we had a solid season start considering that most top UCI riders had been racing since January. We were satisfied with our result and are proud to say that no other Norwegian team has reached top 10 in a Uci stage race before!
As you understand stage racing takes a lot of investment and is a big challenge. Nevertheless this race left us with good racing practice as well as great memories. I enjoyed the compact event and I really recommend giving it a try as the terrain is not too hard, the length is no problem and it is easy to organise. However it is important to bear in mind that there are a few water crossings so I will suggest bringing a good chain oil. Additionally the event is located in a Small village surrounded by a nice hilly country side, cool temperature (18C) and ocean view. So if you like riding in landscapes featuring a quiet atmosphere I really recommend this place. This is the perfect winter get away.
To get more information about the race or how to register click here.