Geocentrum IV: The ultimate gravel sufferfest

Two days before this hellish event, we were able to piece together a four-man team comprised of Nacho, Simonet, Sami, and our very own Hugo. We felt both blessed and cursed to participate in the infamous Geocentrum. This Barcelona-based event has made quite the reputation for itself with its ridiculously steep ramps and treacherous trails. The Geocentrum: a grand gravel adventure that requires grit and a solid sense of humor.

 This year the homies at Volata and Ride Barcelona prepared a rad route entailing 130 kms and 2,300 meters of climbing—90% of which took place on “gravel” roads. The few, short-lived asphalt breaks let our legs recover. Naively, we took breaths of relief then sharply turned off the highway to encounter an endless 30% grade hill that lead us to a steeper, rockier incline and finally to the Volata checkpoint. As the sun sprinkled between the trees, we worked in teams to complete cycling trivia--shouting out answers while stuffing our faces with Nutella sandwiches and oranges. Our sticky, orange juice coated hands gripped the brake levers as we carefully descended an eroded dirt road trail that fed into a rocky river bed.

The last couple of kilometers leading up to our final checkpoint at Cafe de Finca drag--we take turns yelling “How much longer?” They advertised the last 20 km as chill. They could’ve been kind kilometers had we not just crawled through Barcelona’s countryside to be met with a harsh head wind ending in the final climb. At the top of Tibido, we get off our bikes. It’s over. We smile in relief as they take individual polaroids. It’s time to drink beer.

Photos thanks to the lovely Sami Sauri