Epic 5th Pirinexus Challenge Adventure comes to an end17-06-2019
Sant Antoni de Calonge hosted this latest edition as part of Gravel Union for the first time
Held at the weekend, the 5th PIRINEXUS 360 CHALLENGE offered riders two routes to choose from: the 345-kilometre Pirinexus Non-Stop Challenge or the 103-kilometre Half Pirinexus.
The event kicked off on Friday afternoon as riders collected their numbers and the jerseys designed especially for the occasion by Bioracer.
A total of 96 riders headed off from near Passeig de Sant Antoni de Calonge, just opposite the beach, at 06:15 (just as the sun began to rise). Of the 58 riders registered for the longer route, 55 actually took part and 50 of them managed to finish, with only 25 of the finishers crossing the line before sunset (at 21:30).
Jordi Riera Valls was the first to cross the finish line on the long route, with a time of 13 hours and 50 minutes.
Of the 38 riders taking part in the short route, 37 managed to finish.
This group also rode north from the beach in Sant Antoni de Calonge towards L’Empordá as the day got going.
The two routes went their separate ways near the town of Ullà, the longer heading off towards l’Escala while the shorter turned back towards Sant Antoni de Calonge via Les Gavarres.
The first refreshment zone for the longer event was set up in La Jonquera.
After regaining their strength, the riders crossed the French border at Coll de Panissars via the Vallespir cycle track to reach the base of Coll d’Ares, a highly demanding mountain pass. Despite the pleasant temperature (not too hot for cycling), this steep climb took its toll on all the riders.
Once back across the border in Spain, the riders passed three more refreshment zones in Camprodon, Sant Esteve d’en Bas and Girona before reaching the Camping Internacional de Calonge and the finish line.
The various surfaces included in the route, ranging from dirt tracks to asphalt roads and urban sections, allowed for huge bike diversity: cyclocross, mountain and gravel bikes were all present.
Shimano provided all the mechanical servicing needed throughout the event to repair any damage caused by accident or mishap so that nothing would prevent the riders from crossing the finish line in Sant Antoni de Calonge.
The organisers had set a maximum of 18 hours to complete the event but everyone taking part had already finished by then with support from the Greenways Consortium (Consorci de les Vies Verdes), which had gathered cyclists from all over Europe.
All the riders agreed the route was very tough but they showed that, with good training and effective stamina management, the event can be finished without too much difficulty. In fact, everyone highlighted the beautiful landscapes and contrasts they enjoyed along the way above all else, adding they are already planning to take part in the 6th edition next year without a doubt.