In late April, Ryan le Garrec rode his bike from Madrid to the start of the Border Bash Aragon, a gravel camp in the Aragon region of Spain. The event is not a race but simply a way for riders interested in camaraderie and sharing big days to meet in a beautiful place. Along with stories about a few characters he met at the bash, Ryan shares words from the organizer on the event’s intent, and Ryan’s own perspective on these “non-race” events.
FAIL 9 The Dull Bits: Finding Poetry While Cycling from Lisboa to Badajoz
You never know when life is going to take a dramatic turn. On the cusp of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, Ryan le Garrec set out to explore a route linking the Portuguese capital, Lisboa, to a border town in Spain, Badajoz. On his way, he found nothing much else than the blissful privilege of getting bored on a bike. In his FAIL 9 film, he reveals the poetry, the emptiness, and the loneliness the road can expose, yet completes the ride with a renewed sense of gratitude for the freedom to roam after learning of the irrevocable events being waged further east.
FAIL 12: Tomorrow Comes Too Soon at Gravel Birds Ultracycling Challenge
For FAIL 12 Ryan le Garrec raced the first edition of Gravel Birds, a 750km bikepacking race in Portugal’s largest region, Alentejo. For Ryan, it was initially more about the idea of fast touring a well-curated route than properly racing the course. The region is characterized by a beautiful mix of rough hills, coastlines and small deserts inland. Its arid section, down South and just over the more famous Algarve, is often ignored by tourism yet hosts some of the most incredible hidden gems of Portugal and probably its best gravel tracks too!
FAIL 11: Going South at Portugal’s “Heading Southwest” Bikepacking Race
FAIL 11 is the latest installment in Ryan Le Garrec’s multimedia “FAIL” series. Check out the related articles below for more of Ryan’s work.
Heading Southwest is a new bikepacking race in Portugal. It crosses the country with a set route of 1000 km and 15,000 meters of elevation gain. The route was designed to show the diversity of the country far from the clichés of coastal tourism and bigger towns. It showcases the country in a way only a local long-distance cyclist could provide. I have toured this beautiful place I call home for a while now, never have I had so much fun (and pain yeah) on the roads of this country. Massive thanks to David Cruz at finisterra.cc
FAIL 8: No Spain, No Gain
FAIL 8 is the latest installment in Ryan Le Garrec’s multimedia “Fail” series. Check out the related articles below for more of Ryan’s work.
Day 47 – Santo Isidoro, Portugal
My son told me the other day:
“Dad, the trees don’t use their roots only to drink, they also use them to communicate.”
When I saw these two trees, on the way back from Spain somewhere in Alentejo, I thought: “These two must have some kinda romance going on.”
FAIL 6 with Rui Pedro Tremoceiro
As am packing for FAIL 6, am looking at my notebook, it has an old map of Portugal’s front cover.
I traced my lines on that map, all the routes I made, I feel satisfied to see they go through most of the country already.
I have been in Portugal for about two years now. There is a lot to see and yet it is a tiny country, about the size of Indiana.
My map doesn’t show the extreme South of Portugal, so my pencil has to stop before the end of the next ride.
I don’t like that, am not a firm believer in signs but am a firm believer in signs.
For a minute there, I was tempted to change the route. Maybe I should just change the map…
FAIL 4: No Word for Stranger at the Migration Gravel Race
“Expect the Unexpected”
The MGR is a 650 km gravel route, 4 stages, about 8000 meters of elevation,
some like to call it a disguised mountain bike race with a bit of gravel,
some will argue that this is the spirit of gravel, a limitless exploration of where the bike can take you.
The Volta As Aldeias Historicas is a 450 km route in Portugal with 8000 meters of elevation.
It links up 12 medieval villages and their castles.
Our contributor Ryan Le Garrec went to tackle it for his “Fail” video series,
alongside friends Sjors Mahler and Tiago Cacao,
It seems Ryan got bored of castles and failed at reaching them all.
“Those things are nice but they’re all at the top of a village already perched up a hill,
and the road to each is ridiculously steep,
I love villages and I love Portugal
but somehow castles just make me think of Middle Age wars,
I don’t really dig that,
I skipped a few and the guys did too!”