Tempted by a women’s only riding holiday, but not sure what to expect? There are an ever increasing number of them to choose from, and they are a fantastic way to experience MTB riding abroad with a group of like-minded women, with all your needs and wants taken care of.
Lindsay Hanley jetted off to join the Diva Descent Malaga adventure, run in conjunction with Roost DH, for lots of riding and plenty of relaxing – what could be better? And to get a full sense of the fun, don't forget to scroll down and watch the video.
"Friday afternoon saw me leaving Port Talbot and traveling down to stay with my friend Ami who was also going. We knew that sleep was not on the cards especially when we had a 2am start, but mostly because we were so excited! A week of mountain biking, sunshine and fun in Malaga awaited us with the Diva Descent DH trip.
Neither of us had flown with bikes so didn’t know the procedure at the airport, but we needn’t have worried – 2 nice porters loaded our bags onto the conveyor belt, safe and sound. That left us free for a pre-flight coffee and the chance to meet up with another friend, Julie.
There’s always that familiar worry at the other end of the journey – will the bags be there? But much to our amazement and relief our bikes were going round on the conveyor as we arrived in baggage reclaim. We hoisted them off and headed through to arrivals to meet Seb and Adam, with their bright red Roost DH t-shirts.
Roost DH run what they call ‘no-fuss’ DH mountain biking holidays to Malaga. Why Malaga? It’s got the some of the warmest, driest weather conditions year round in Europe. Add to that uplifts, mechanics, brekkie and dinner provided and you’ve got a recipe for a pretty awesome MTB holiday!
So a short 20 minutes after leaving the airport and we were at the vial, and more strapping Roost lads appeared to off loaded our luggage. The bikes were taken straight to the workshop while we were shown round the spacious villa and left to choose our bedrooms. Julie being Julie stole the penthouse on the second floor while Ami and I knew our place and opted for the basement.
The rest of the girls arrived shortly afterwards and were keenly assembling their bikes in the fully equipped workshop. I opened my bike box and got all the bits out – but was a bit disappointed when it didn’t just build itself. At home I put a dirty and sometimes broken bike into the garage and when I go back to get it out it’s always fixed and clean. I did the best I could with the help of the other girls and the Roost guys were around to provide a helping hand. It was a learning curve!
A quick pre-dinner briefing by Mal (Roost boss man) advised us that they guys were on hand to check our bikes over the week to make sure all the bolts, spokes etc. were still tight. Then we got onto the essential information; the fridge full of wine and juices, a bar in the basement lounge with beer and soft drinks to help ourselves too, and tea, coffee and cake in the dining room.
Then it was dinnertime, a nice chicken curry, which like the food for the rest of the week was homemade and delicious. Roost are happy to cater for all diets. One of the girls in our group was a vegan and Mal took time to ensure she had a balanced meal not just a pile of vegetables. After dinner it was time to update face book statuses using the free Wi-Fi and chill in the hot tub before an early night ready for some DH biking fun Roost style.
The next morning saw us all very keen to get riding with bikes loaded to schedule. The first trail was only a short ride away and was chosen to assess our riding ability and to give the bikes a quick shake down to make sure we were happy with set up and problem free.
For the first run we followed the guide down, who would stop at any technical sections to avoid us having to ride these blind. After that that guide would sweep the rear again helping and encouraging any girls with sections they were struggling with or wanting to improve on.
A quick lunch stop at a local restaurant with a nice clean toilet (it’s a girl thing) and a good variety of snacks between 5-8 Euros and we were off biking again.
Moving on to a more advanced track in the afternoon this gave us something to get our teeth into, and although it was very technical it still suited all abilities with a variety of features. It was actually a lot like what you could find at home, just a little looser and the distinct lack of sloppy wet mud!
It was pointed out to us that we are very much in control of the day and we could ride the trails as many or few times as we wanted. If you wanted to sit one out to watch or rest then that was fine. The Roost guys also spent some time sessioning some of the difficult features with us to help us improve.
On Tuesday we headed to Caratracker, which in places was much more technical than the previous track, though again there were alternative lines to avoid the hard sections if you didn’t feel ready to do them. Again the roost guys were there to coach and help us down any sections we wanted help with. At lunch we decided that we liked that track so much that we wanted to spend the rest of the day there mastering it rather than head off to a new one.
Wednesday we had planned to have a rest day - after 3 days on the dry rocky trails our bodies were in need of some time to recuperate - but we just couldn’t do it! We were having too much fun to miss the chance to ride! We were a bit sensible though, and headed back to the first trail we did, which was easy, flowing and fun. It also had an amusing name; Sex Doll!
The afternoon we chilled, playing volleyball on the beach and taking a relaxing boat trip.
Thursday rolled around, and Monda was the first call of the day. This was like a mini dirt park with a collection of short trails around 30 seconds long all finishing at the same place. The uplift was so short it was hardly worth the effort of loading the bike onto the trailer, but as it was there it would have been rude not to use it.
After lunch we descended on a trail called Maddy. It was steep and rocky with a few drops (with chicken runs available) and this may have been difficult to us at the beginning of the week. By now though we were just taking it in our stride as we had all progressed as riders and grown in confidence.
Friday had come round all to quickly but talk about saving the best till last! The first track of the day, Sram, was longer than some of the previous trails and much harder on the body. Many of the girls were feeling the strain of 5 days riding, and decided to sit this track out and keep Alex company in the uplift bus. 3 of us went back to play and get a little filming done – you can see the result of that soon! There was time for some quite trips to revisit some of our fave trails from the week, then a quick group photo at the bottom of the trail and that was the end of a fab weeks riding.
Arriving back at the villa for the last time the bikes were offloaded and returned to the workshop. I was a little worried about dismantling the bike and packing it safely back in the box just as my bike fairy had done before the trip. I needn’t have worried - by the time I had bent down and emptied my bike box of all the padding, Seb and Andy had already stripped it down and were attaching the padding. All I had to do was tape the box – Sorted.
One last blast in the hot top and we headed into town together. Time to celebrate a truly awesome week, riding some of the best downhill trails on offer!
A huge thank you to Sarah Muir at Diva Descent and Mal Finnie at Roost for arranging a truly epic trip – and yes, book me for next year now please!
Fancy a holiday like this? The next Diva Descent holiday takes place on 5th to the 12th of July, and it’s your chance to get a taste of Alpine riding! Located in Chatel, France, you can expect a catered chalet, lift pass, transfers, coaching and of course the usual fun and welcoming Diva Descent spirit.
Check out the action for yourself, courtesy of this video by Emma Whitaker
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