When I first saw the announcement for the Sant Mateu Freeride in Spain, I couldn’t believe my eyes. A freeride at the end of November? How good is that? If I described the weather in that period here in Frankfurt, then you would know the strange feeling I had when I signed up. I had to go. There was no way I wouldn’t.
The event was being organised by The RidersFly Crew from Castellano,with the help of the Valencian Longboard Community and some sponsors. It took place 160 km north of Valencia.
I was sitting 2000 km away and had no clue how to get there from Valencia. Bus? Train? Fly? So I decided to ask the Valencia Longboard Crew for some help, I was blown away by their support. I had nothing to worry about! Thanks a lot for that.
The first thing I saw after leaving the security area at the airport were two Longboards leaning on a glass wall. The LongFamily Crew took care of me right from the beginning! It was so good to meet Fabian and Xandre (Brines). I knew I was in safe hands.
We drove to the campsite the evening I arrived, so we wouldn’t have to leave too early the next morning. It was already dark when we got there, but the silhouettes of the mountains around gave hints of the fun for next morning.
I met a lot of Javis and Rafas that night and Sergio, Maria, Javier, Irene and Pablo! Great guys and girls who were responsible for this meeting. More and more cars arrived and finally we ended up in a Taverna nearby. It was great to see the Downhill Community come together.
The next morning, we all gathered at the foot of the mountain. Riders from Castellon, Valencia, Barcelona, Madrid and even Frankfurt. Male, female, groms and seniors, luges and boards. The scenery was breathtaking. At the top you could see the church of ”mare de deu dels angels“. The sun began to appear behind the hill, it was warm. The finish zone was an alley surrounded by trees, everything was quite calm. Boards and riders everywhere, by now I was overwhelmed.
The registration went quickly, and soon more than 70 Riders were ready for the shuttle. It was a small bus, so it took two trips to get everyone up. Maybe you can slightly imagine my continuous feeling of surreal happiness as I was standing on top of the hill, a 360 degree view of valleys and mountains around me, blue sky and the sun burning on my face, having a longboard under my feet – in November!
And now DOWNHILL!
The adrenaline was rushing fast as I pushed the first 20 metres. The track was absolutely perfect. A long section for Top Speed at the beginning, two left turns in longer distance, four hairpins in close distance and a fast section at the end. It was so much fun. I felt quite a lot during the weekend but hell, that road was exciting to ride down. It can get you real fast. The curves down to the end were phenomenal. We were starting in groups of four that day which was fair for the small size of the road. The riders were just amazing.
A group of Luges around Mikel Echegaray, swinging their arms. Tyler, Rafa and Pablo Quiles always on the first runs, Agro on a Longboard, Skateboard and a Buttboard, Christina Mandarina, Barbara from Austria and some other girls shredding the asphalt, guys from Volatile Longboards, a lot of leather suited Gladiators from all over the country.
Such a great weekend. So much joy and entertainment. Driving up, skating down. Again and again. Two days of laughter and passion. It was a free ride. There was no rush, no hurry. We all enjoyed our way down. Happy people everywhere. Sometimes exhausted, dirty and worn out by the road, but happy. I was surprised to see some guys I met at La Noche en negro in Madrid. It was very much Spanish style.
The organisation was brilliant! Nothing was missing. The campsite was illuminated and close to the event, the guards did great work, the lunch was a perfect break, water for free. We even had a movie premiere in the town hall after the first day. We sat on old benches, with wooden town emblems around and we absorbed the images.
I had a Paella moment the second day, (how Brines and I are calling it), when I was taking a break with Xandre at the second corner. It was at the curve after the fastest part of the track and boy,what a great moment that was. Silence, sun, some jokes with Brines. Beautiful view down, and suddenly: here they come! Wheels screamed from the ground, Riders drifted through the curve, my head went from side to side as if I was watching Tennis. The next group passed by. Standups, smoking-luge-soles. All that happened within seconds and after they were gone behind the next turn silence followed them again. I had everything, the right feeling at the right place with the right people and as if that was not enough this Downhill cinema was happening right in front of my eye. Magical.
The special moments at this weekend didn’t really stop. I guess all of us who have been there have hundreds of memories. The good thing with memory is that something has to be done to make them.
I thank Fabian and Xandre for their hearts and homes. Sergio and the Crew for the splendid job and all other people who shared these moments with me.
Gracias Downhill Family.