Towards the end of last year we wanted to soak in as much of the Sun as we could before the poor weather set in. So, we escaped to Murcia, here’s what happened.
Murcia Trip 2017
The temperature has dropped and loathe to settle for the poor weather we decided to make for the Sunshine…. hello Spain…… hello Andy and Lorna of ALS Cycling.
Bags packed…… jerseys, shorts, shoes, helmets, spares…. you name it, chuck it in. Our brand new Ridley X-Trails on the other hand, packed slowly and carefully, funny that! So, where about in Spain were we off too? Mallorca?…. Gran Canaria?… No, we were headed to a remote villa near Blanca in Murcia. Not your typical cycling destination but we were excited nonetheless. Hawk eyeing the weather forecast during the lead up to our adventure, we were extremely happy to see temperatures of 27c +. Bring on the sunshine // See you later England!
So it begins…..
We arrived at Murcia airport fairly late at night, pitch black outside but you could definitely notice a temperature difference. We collected the van and met with Andy (the A of ALS cycling) then set off to the villa, and what a beauty it was. A long private dirt track with olive trees either side lead us to the entrance where we were greeted by a sign which read ” Welcome to Tranquility ” This was going to be good!
We were up early, the temperature was perfect but the sky didn’t look promising…. this didn’t bother us though. Lorna (the L of ALS cycling) had prepared a stunning banquet for us to feast upon awakening, it must have taken hours to prepare….. Freshly squeezed juice, coffee, bread, meat, cheese, honey, jams, fruit, cereal, pastries you name it – we had it. All produced by ALS or one of the locals. HMMMMM juicy Tomatoes on freshly baked bread, topped with a splash of homegrown olive oil – Just perfection. Thanks, Andy and Lorna!
After we greedily filled ourselves to the brim, we got down to business, models Lucy and Sam prepped themselves and their bikes, Andy (SG Operations manager) scouted possible photo shoot locations, Rob (Content Manager) prepared all the photography equipment and filled the van with the All-New Spring Summer 18 kit AND never seen before prototype kit……….. Due to launch at the start of Feb. If you want sneak peaks and priority access, subscribe here!
Our first day consisted mostly of driving around, getting to know the area and scouting for possible photo shoot locations. The ALS villa was up high on the mountainside and there wasn’t much around apart from roads, olive, orange, lemon tree fields and few farmers houses, that was all. What a place for peace and quiet and, of course, a cycling holiday. There were two objectives to our cycling holiday, one, to take photos of the new kit and two, to get some epic rides in!
Driving through one of the local towns, it seemed quiet….. extremely quiet…… as if no one lived there. It was a strange feeling but we carried on until we stumbled upon a street market, what a sight! The market was heaving, the whole town was there, the street stalls were full of everything you could possibly imagine. Everything from food to leather handbags to clothing ….. there were all sorts. Naturally, a few things caught our eyes ;-) but we had to cut our shopping experience short because the weather took a turn for the worse. Strong winds and rain were upon us –
”To the coffee shop!”…… We’re all partial to a nice coffee but you should know that Andy and Sam even more so, they have a strong passion for the stuff.
A good coffee and a spot of lunch, the rain had just about passed over, so we ventured back to the van and drove off to one of the possible photoshoot locations we had found. This place was well away from the town and the viewpoint off the side of the road was immense!
We grabbed some shots then moved on. A few miles down the road we stumbled across another photoshoot location. We jumped out of the van and got set up. The location was nice, perfect for the look Rob wanted to create for our new Collection – Kuro // The Monochromatic range.
Once we arrived back at the villa we prepped our brand new Ridley X-trails and got ready to go for a ride. With no real sense of where we were going, we eventually found ourselves cycling along a fairly dried up river bed. The fast, tight descents on loose terrain was a little un-nerving especially as we didn’t want to scratch our new bikes, but the Ridleys handled brilliantly, plenty of grip, they felt fast, easy to ride and the steering – just superb. Well done Ridley! You have made one amazing bike!
The smiles were big but it was beginning to get dark. Time to get back…. because we had no lights… but first, we had to get a photo of the Ridley and our insane HAM jersey. Not many left by the way – grab one here.
We made it back just in time for dinner and what a corker it was! ALS Andy had prepared the most beautiful grilled Salmon and veg dish, it went down a treat! What a great first day!
Up early to get a sunrise photo shoot in before breakfast. The weather was in our favour, the skies were clear, it was warm and the sun was just starting to peek up behind the mountain. Lucy and Sam both sat patiently while Rob did his thing. The shoot was ideal for our casual t-shirts, swapping them out, changing positions and locations regularly to make the most of the Sun.
After Breaky, we geared up and head off in the opposite direction to yesterday. Lucy and Sam were on their bikes while Rob was snapping from inside the van. The weather was looking good, a great temperature to be riding in, we were a little envious of them riding while we were stuck in the van.
We spent the whole day shooting on this road, great hill rep training for Lucy and Sam! They looked like they were having good fun though.
We ended the day with a handful of memory cards – full of photos. A great day shooting topped off by Andy and Lorna’s stunning cuisine and hosting.
Day 3 had the best weather of the 3 days so we wanted to make the most of it before flying back home later that night. We loaded the van and got underway scouting for other photoshoot locations. After half an hour of aimlessly driving around, we stumbled across a quiet, freshly tarmacked road. The location was great, the weather was great, the lighting was great…… It was all Go Go Go!
Although this was mainly a business trip we did manage to get a few great rides in, and they’re definitely up there amongst the best. The location of the ALS villa is not your typical, well known, first-choice destination like Mallorca, but it definitely should be! The scenery, the roads, the climbs, the routes, the variety, the remoteness and of course Andy and Lorna made this holiday very enjoyable and one we’ll never forget! The ideal setup for any training camp or cycling holiday. We’ll definitely be back but make sure you visit them too! Check out their website here if you want a cycling break and take a look at their stunning cycling jersey – it almost looks like it may have been designed by a goat-themed company with FLAIR and a taste for ADVENTURE. ;-)