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Sònia Colomo tells us about her adventure
6/21      PEDALMA       SÒNIA COLOMO

PEDALMA Madrid-Barcelona is an unassisted ultra-cycling event that runs 700km and 7000 meters of positive elevation gain from Madrid to Barcelona. The adventure started on Friday at 6pm, and I had 50 hours ahead of me to arrive within the established time.

This was the first time I did a race of this style, with a road bike and accompanied by another person, quite an experience.
For this adventure I could not choose any other bike than the Megamo Raise, a comfortable bike in which I could pedal many hours without any geometric eccentricity and with an absorbent frame, ideal for all kinds of roads. Also, perfect to carry all the necessary luggage for the weekend.

The forecast predicted wind, a lot of wind, and although it was something we knew, no one expected that the weather could twist as it did. Lightning bolts in the distance, light rain at the beginning, and suddenly a storm. We had been cycling for less than three hours, and we were already soaked from head to toe.

We arrived at CP1 in Cifuentes at night. The initial plan was to continue to CP2 and bivouac there, but the cold and rainy conditions that were going to stay for at least three more hours made us choose to sleep under the arcades of the main square until the rain abated. We knew that the stretch to CP2 was at 1300 meters altitude, and with the risk of hypothermia we could not play.

Around 3 am the rain stopped. We picked up the sleeping bags, put our wet clothes back on and got back on the bike. I'm very sleepy, my feet are freezing, and the climb is very hard. The day begins to clear up, we can see the sun between the clouds, and we arrive at the Mesa Valley. The walls rise around us, the sun begins to give us back a little heat, and we arrive at CP2 in Nuévalos for breakfast. Coffee, bread with butter and jam, and a couple of omelet sandwiches to take on the road.



I recover the energy lost during the night, and we start pedaling towards Belchite where CP3 is located. The wind is still blowing hard, and the temperature begins to rise. We arrive in Belchite after 365km to eat, hydrate, and get ready for what is going to be one of the hardest parts of the route.

The thermometer reads 37º, the windmills spin incessantly, and the roads become endless. The water in the drums burns and the heat of the Mequinenza area dries you inside and out. We go up, down, up again, it feels like we will never get there, and we have nothing to drink.

The sun starts to go down, and we only have a descent of 3km to reach CP4. We arrive just before they close, just in time to order water, juice, pizza, and ice cream. After dinner, we move on a bit to look for a place to bivouac and find a small monastery where we sleep for three hours before facing what will be the final part of the route.

The owls hoot around us, the alarm clock goes off, and we set off again. We leave at night to avoid the heat in the area of Lleida, we see how the landscape begins to change, we begin to recognize roads that are familiar to us, soon we will see Montserrat in the background, and we will know that we are getting closer. The trees stand on a beautiful pass that climbs up to CP5 in Santa Coloma de Queralt.



We have been 585km, it's time for another ice cream. We put on some sunscreen and continue to Gelida. We know the route there, some friends from the area come to see us, they encourage us, we are doing great but the heat starts to become unbearable. We get to Gelida, refill water and even though we could have gone home, we still have to get to Barcelona.



The stretch from Martorell to Barcelona was the hardest by far. The tranquility of the previous roads is replaced by traffic and traffic lights. It's midday rush hour, almost 40 degrees, and headwind. I just want to get to Barcelona and head back to Gelida again to eat, take a cold shower, and sleep. I ride past one of the places where I work; "tomorrow it's workday" I think. There is nothing left and less to get to Plaza España. We see the towers while we wait at a traffic light to cross.

Text: Sonia Colomo The organization and our friends are there. Applauses, whistles, lots of hugs. We have arrived in Barcelona after 44 hours total and 31 hours on my Megamo Raise.