CRC Events Manager Grant Norris reports from a weekend of epic riding:
"They call the Quebrantahuesos the Bone Breaker and it's the largest road event in Spain. With a 22 year heritage, the ride has seen many changes over the years and this was the first year that Chain Reaction Cycles has supported the event. A perfect mix of commercialism and old school cycle event organisation is now in place, you could say to take it to the next level.
However after experiencing such a spectacle I do not believe that this level exists, because this ride is phenomenal. We arrived into the searing heat that you usually experience when getting off a plan in the Mediterranean and our 300km drive to the region of Aragón took in some of the most stunning scenery that Europe has to offer. On arrival there were groups of cyclists warming their legs for the event two days in advance. The region, because of this event, certainly comes to life with 11,500 lucky winners of the lottery that boasts 18,000 applicants arriving in full force with families in tow. The hotels, bars and supermarkets were all incredibly busy.
Friday came and it was all about the Expo and the sign on. At 3pm the doors opened and from that moment on the headquarters came alive with the excited riders picking up their timing chips, drinking beer and purchasing last minute must haves for the ride. As you know the CRC Events team get about and this particular Expo was incredibly busy with our Vitus range being fawned over and our other brands selling very well until gone 10pm. We eventually retired to the hotel with a 5am start only hours away.
It was easy getting up and driving the 40 minutes through the Pyrenees. Yes, due to the event this was the nearest hotel we could find and it was a good job that Carlos our bilingual Spanish worker was with us as we arrived to experience music festival style traffic and access issues at the event. He managed to blag/persuade/convince all officials we came across and eventually got us through to the parking. And not a moment too soon as I was whisked into the lead car for a five and a half hour experience that is the Quebrantahuesos.
And so it began, 9,000 cyclists left all in one massive start dead on 7.30am sharp and I have never experienced such a majestic start to a cycle ride. They stayed bunched together for the first 50km, thousands of them. Moving only within the main body of the peloton, It was a sight to behold. As we left Spain and entered France the local Harley Davidson club took control of the marshalling and this is the spirit of this ride, hundreds of volunteers from all walks of life coming together to make this one of the best rides anywhere in the world.
The top of the Portalet was a sight to behold as hundreds of families and friends cheered with support
The ride has four climbs and descents, the largest being the Portalet at 1795 metres and which at the top crosses back into Spain. This is a favoured place for family and friends to come and cheer on the riders, eat bread and cheese, drink wine and make a lot of noise. It is electric up there and you can see a renewed energy in the riders as they crossed back into Spain and onto the finish. Whilst I was away enjoying every second of the long route, the first group of finishers from the shorter route, the 90 km Treparriscos crossed the finish line to the whoops from the crowds in the grandstand that had steadily grown from the start of the ride and this is how it continued for the next five hours. Every rider coming home to cheers.
A group of volunteers cheer on the peloton, lifting spirits and pushing riders to the end of the course
You can see why groups of friends travel from as far away as Columbia to ride in the Bone Breaker. It is truly an iconic happening that will live long in the memory of anyone who rides or experiences the event.
The climbs of the QH – the Col du Somport (1,640mt), Col du Marie Blanque, Col du Portalet and Hoz
The climbs on the route of the of the Quebrantahuesos – in chocolate! Easier to eat than to ride…
Here are some facts and figures from this year's ride:
• Quickest female youngster: Judith Avaro Lopez
• Biggest club attendance: Goierri Kirol Elkartea with 31 participants
• Quickest male: David Jariod Le Blanca
• Quickest female: Lourdes Cayetano Puertas
• Quickest male: Angel Vazques Iglesias
• Furthest club: Guepardos – Mexico
• Quickest male over 65: Pablo Murcia Mazon
• Quickest KQ tandem: Raul Rubio Badia and Francisco Gonzalez Montanez