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Yesterday was another great day of riding. For the first time, we took Vanoise Express cable car to la Plagne located in the other side of the valley. The day was characterised by numerous switchbacks, great scenery and fantastic weather. Today we enjoyed a day off from the riding, gathering strength for the rest of the week. 


Photos: Vanoise Express from Peisey-Vallandy to la Plagne runs 1800 meters some 400 meters above the valley. 

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Another great day of riding behind with 7 hours spent on our bikes for a total vertical descent of some 5500m. We are stunned about the great variety of trails that Les Arcs has to offer. In Les Arcs, if you find a trail you are allowed to ride it, i.e. there are no trails dedicated only for hikers. Unfortunately, not all hikers are aware of this despite signs at trail heads which at times is a recipe for some angry faces from hikers. 

Photo: A view from a stunning new single track that a local farmer had just finished. And by the way, the farmer doesn't ride himself!

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After a thunderstorm at night, it had ceased to rain by our 9am departure for the first uplift oh the day. And what a day it was! Great riding, great company, fantastic views and a better than expected weather! 

Photo: While clouds were still covering the mountain tops, we didn't get any rain during the day. In fact, it was a quite optimal riding weather during the afternoon. 

Photo: A cable car from 800m to 1600m followed by a chairlift took us to the highest point of today's riding at 2160m, the inception of the DH track. 

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We arrived this afternoon at Les Arcs where we will be riding over the coming week. We have heard many good things about riding here and our expectations are very high. Too bad the weather turned very unstable with rain pouring down most of today since we left the Geneva airport. According to forecasts we better be prepared for some more rain during the coming days. 

Photo: A view from our chalet at an altitude of around 1500m just before the rain started to pour again.
 
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While we love two wheels sometimes four is quite ok as well.


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This is part 2 / 5 of our travel report to Malaga, Spain on June 5-9, 2013.
[Part 1]

Day 1
We finished mounting our bikes just in time for the real English breakfast which, buy the way, was included in Sierra Cycling's 70 euros / day package. Included in the daily fee are naturally also accommodation, guiding and van transportats to trails, and even free beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks at the house. Not bad at all.

After packing bikes into two mini-buses we headed to the Mijas mountain for the first time. The mountain is located just a few kilometres from the beach with peaks (in Malaga area at least) reaching about 1000m above the sea level.

The transport to the mountain top to the place where tele masts are located took us through a narrow and twisty road with some beautiful views to the white hillside town of Mijas and Fuengirola, where Sierra Cycling’s beach house is located. It was about the time for the first descent if the day.

The first uplift: Telecom Tower
Our descent started just below the telecom towers at an altitude of 915m. The first part of the descent was 3.3km and took us to 555m above the sea level. The first part was quite rocky with lot of loose stones and many switchbacks. It took a while to get accustomed to these conditions that were so different from what we typically encounter in Scandinavia. It undoubtedly was a challenge for several less experienced riders of the group as witnessed by some bleeding faces of fellow riders at our first stop.

Mijas_1
Photo: Our first stop at 555m above the sea. Telecom towers up on the left. Fuengirola in the middle down in the valley.

After some first aid we continued with a minor climb on an asphalt road back to an altitude of 600m. From there we continued descending on the second part of the route. It took us to 390m with a distance of 3km of this second leg. Looking at happy faces everybody were really enjoying and so were we. Up until this point, our group of around ten bikes had suffered two flat tires, indicating how sharp edged rocks the Mijas mountain had in offer. From here on it was smooth and easy descending to 120m before cruising back to the beach house on asphalt roads.

When back at the beach house, we had recorded a total distance of 19km of which the last 7km was on the asphalt.

The second uplift
After a tasty lunch on a beach restaurant it was time for the uplift of the day. With some riders willing to chill out the afternoon, we packed only one minibus and headed back to the mountain, this time to an altitude on 465m. Our second descent was 8km of undulating single track to 35m above the sea level and thereafter cruising back to the house where we arrived at 2pm. Total distance of the second ride was 17km including the asphalt section.



Back at the house it was time to share experiences and feelings of the day with a cold beer or two. While everybody were happy with the riding day, some less experienced fellow riders told that they found the first descent (telecom tower) from the mountain top within their limits but just with a narrow margin. Those staying with Sierra Cycling for the whole week usually arrive on Saturdays. Our guide told us that the telecom tower descent is saved for the mid week (we did it on Thursday) to give riders time to get accustomed with the conditions which for the most participants are quite different from what they usually experience back home.
In total, our first day of riding yielded following stats:

Distance 36km
Ascent 290m
Descent 1655m

Note: All route statistics are based in measurements done by Suunto Ambit and refer to on the bike ascent and descent.

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This is part 1 / 5 of our travel report to Malaga, Spain on June 5-9, 2013.

Arrival

We initially planned a long weekend in Malaga in mid-May but for several reasons had to postpone it until early-June. There is of course nothing wrong with this timing, other than that that we had another trip booked for the following week. It is always nicer to have more that just two or three days between the trips to sort out bikes and other gear.

There are several well established organisers of guided MTB trips in Malaga. This time we seeked single track and enduro style of riding, rather than pure DH. We contacted Alan at Sierra Cycling around one and a half months before our trip and booked four days of riding with accommodation at Sierra Cycling's house just 100m from the beach.

Our flight landed at Malaga late Wednesday night on June 5 at around midnight. As soon as we got our gear from our arrivals hall we headed to Terminal 3 departure hall where we liaised with Sierra Cycling's representative who greeted us happily despite our less than convenient arrival time. After loading bags to Sierra’s car we headed to the beach house with very convenient location of no more than some quarter of an hour from the airport. Alan welcomed us, showed facilities, guided us to our room in the third floor and told us that the breakfast will be served from half past eight in the morning. We were alone at the house, with other guests still enjoying Malaga by night. We had no difficulties catching sleep despite thoughts already in the coming day.

HelsinkiAirport

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