Have you heard about Guad al Xenil Gran Fondo? No? Me neither, 😊, until I was told by locals about it. After a 2 day recon, I just raced it last weekend and I highly suggest this Spanish Gran Fondo for your 2018 racing calendar. Now you might wonder, why you should race exactly this cycling challenge next year…. Here is why:

Because of the weather.

While it is still snowing in the Northern Europe (currently April), Southern Spain (Andalusia) has had great weather since….ahem….always. There is never really bad weather here and I have not been wearing arm or leg warmers since beginning of April and a pretty sharp tan line is emerging.

Guad al Xenil is here in sunny, warm Southern Spain. For this year’s race, there was a chance of rain. But in contrary to other parts of the world, I think the weather forecaster is just bored with predicting sun every day so once in a while he throws in chances of something. Rain never came. Although it started off cold because the race starts in the mountains, it became a beautiful day and I was way too overdressed.

Because of its time of the year.

Although Europe definitely is full of gran fondos, beginning of the year is still a bit sparse, especially when you have done all the famous ones already. So if you like to try out something new and want to leave your winter jacket at home, Guad al Xenil is a great season starter.

Because of its toughness.

It is a great season starter but don’t get me wrong, this is a tough race! 161km of racing with 3700m of climbing will definitely bring your fitness to the next level. So for those who are not discouraged by it, I would strongly recommend going for it!

Because of its atmosphere.

I haven’t been to many cycling challenges where I received so much encouragement! At first, I didn’t even know how to handle it when literally every cyclist who passed me or I passed had some “animo” (go,go,go!)  left in him or her. It was incredible. And the Spaniards know how to create an amazing atmosphere! Literally, the sound waves of the four ladies at the 17% ramp at the end carried me to the finish line.

Because of its size.

With 360 starters this race is big enough to have plenty of competition but small enough not run each other over. After a 40km neutralization phase, the race starts with a steep climb and that was the end to the peloton. Every man for himself!

What I especially liked?

Hands down, the atmosphere made my race! The encouragement from anyone really got to me and made this race very special for me. I also loved the course. It is tough, tough, tough! The climbs are serious! The scenery is stunning if you have the time to enjoy it!

So mark your calendar for mid April 2018: http://www.guadalxenil.org/

To help with your trip planning:

Book your Flights to Granada, Spain with Expedia here.

There are plenty little towns to stay in. Lanjaron is a very scenic town I would suggest to stay at:

Booking.com

If you have any questions, I am looking forward to your comments.