The European Summer of SUP has been a blast so far, but most of my time has been spent on the media boat following the action rather than being part of it. It’s been a hell of a lotta fun, but I’ve also been itching to get out from behind the live stream camera and onto the water.
That all changes next week, because I just signed up for the Vuelta Ibiza – the five day, 125km stage race that’s basically a smaller, warmer version of the famed 11 City Tour.
Part-endurance race, part-mental challenge, and part-summer holiday in the Mediterranean, the Vuelta has been on my bucket list for years, so I’m stoked to be heading over there next week for a week of
Circumnavigating the Spanish island of the same name, the Vuelta Ibiza (literally the “Tour Around Ibiza”) has already been running for a few years, however this is the first edition organised by the same crew behind the 11 Cities, which sets up an enticing stage-race double header in June and September.
Because I’m such a big fan of the 220km 11 City Tour, and greatly inspired by Bart de Zwart’s 24 hour world record this week, I decided to sign up for both races today. That’s upwards of 345km or 214 miles of paddling in front of me over the next few months.
And rather symbolically, next week also marks the 100 day countdown to the 11 Cities.
Apart from the fact it goes for almost a week (Wednesday-Sunday), the Vuelta is not your standard SUP race. Sure, some paddlers will be fighting hard for the top spots (Mistral is a headline sponsor and will send a bunch of their European team riders to the island), but just like the 11 Cities in September, I think most of us are doing this race purely for the spirit of adventure and the fun that comes along with it.
The Vuelta Ibiza feels more like a challenge than a race.
And while this sun-soaked little island is more famous for its rave parties and package holidays, there’s also a hidden side I’m keen to explore. Off the beaten track and away from the resort towns and dance floors, Ibiza has some of the most beautiful beaches and dramatic coastlines in Europe.
So as soon as the EuroTour festivities are finished in Thonon, I’m heading over to explore for a couple of days before tackling the first three stages of the five-day race.
– follow the Instagram Stories of @supracer and @wheresbossman to see how the adventure unfolds.
Alas, I won’t get an overall result on the five-day leaderboard (probably for the best given my current form), as I’m skipping out early and heading to Bilbao late Friday night for the next installment of our EuroTour live stream series (so my 345km is actually only 295km, though I’ll fulfill my quota in October with the 50k Chattajack race).
But right now I probably better go start training. It’s not too late for that, right..?
The Vuelta Ibiza starts Wednesday June 7th and runs til Sunday the 11th. If you want to join in the fun, there are a few spots left on the start line: head on over to the official site to register and get more info.