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Tibidabo Hill Climb vol. VIII: Where pain meets pleasure

With eight editions already behind them, the Tibidabo Hill Climb is definitely the oldest underground fixed gear race in the entire Iberian Peninsula. Once again, with a total of 131 participants reaching the top of Collserola, 44 of whom did so in fixed gear, the cycling gang PRBLMS organized the toughest time trial in Barcelona. Despite the suffering, everyone was able to enjoy the climb to Tibidabo in their own way, to later laugh and share what they had experienced, and finally enjoy a good party to celebrate.

The climb to hell

Unlike previous editions, and as already established in the seventh edition last year, the meeting point was the Joan Reventós park at eight in the morning. Even though it was November 25th, the weather was milder than it usually is at the end of autumn, in addition to some sun rays that were present throughout the day. However, the morning chill was still present, which could be easily tolerated with a good coffee from our friends from Coffee Union Place.

To avoid large groups of people, participants were summoned in groups of 15 riders so that they did not have to wait all morning. However, there were always those who showed up early to cheer on their friends at the starting line or wait for them at the top. This year, a nice detail coming from the organization was the presence of training rollers so that the riders could warm up in peace without having to mingle in the traffic.

After the signature control, the plan was simple: warm up a little, go to the starting line, and give it everything during the 5.2 km climb at an average of 6% and a total elevation gain of 310 meters. All in all, the first rider departed at 8:40, which marked a non-stop of cyclists who started every minute to reach their personal glory at the top, just below the Tibidabo amusement park.

Among the 131 participants, there were 44 in fixed gear (38 open and 6 WTNB) and 87 in freewheel (76 open and 11 WTNB). It is important to note that, as they already did at the Coast-to-Coast fixed-gear event, PRBLMS is trying to adopt policies of inclusion for all. Thus, their two categories were ‘open’ in which everyone could register, and ‘WTNB’ reserved for women, trans and non-binary people. In addition, the order of departure was completely random. Thus, while you were going up there was the possibility of running into someone from another category, which made it even more interesting and beautiful from a social point of view.

This year, as the PRBLMS organizers told us, the event gathered a lot of expectations. In turn, the participation in the fixed and in the WTNB categories was greater. They also had participants from all over the national territory, as well as from other places such as Italy. It is worth mentioning the participation of the GCN en Español presenter, Sebastián Haedo, who signed up to give it all in his fixed gear, and the already recurring Pau Moltó who is the rider with the highest number of participations.

Throughout the morning, photographers and video teams jumped on motorcycles scattered along the climb to capture every moment of the climb. From the nervous face at the start, the first happy pedal strokes at the beginning that turned into agony before reaching the communications tower, to the faces of suffering and satisfaction when crossing the finish line. There was a small refreshment station at the finish line to refuel and cheer on your teammates who were still climbing.

Before noon, and after all the riders had finished climbing, it was time to get back on the bike to go down, rest for a bit, and enjoy the rest of the day. However, the event was not over yet, as the results would be made public in the evening during the awards ceremony at the urban bicycle shop My Beautiful Parking.

Celebration and results

All riders were welcome to the after-party at MBP, to collect their exclusive event T-shirt designed by Momo and stamped by Laser Barcelona. With most of the participants, friends, and family, having arrived, it was time to grab a megaphone and announce the results.

The fastest in the free WTNB category was Laura Danzig (14m21s) while in the open it was Carlos Roy (13m58s). They received a magnificent wooden trophy with a 3D-printed relief map of the climb. The next to receive the prizes were those in the fixed category, which is the greatest exponent of the event and which makes the climb a true hell. In the WTNB fixed category, and to the surprise of everyone and with a margin of two seconds, it was Ana Gómez (16m54s) who took first place against Sanjhoy Beltrán and Maialen Zabala. Regarding the fixed open category, the victory went to Sebastián Haedo (13m20s), with Luís E. Brenes and Kevin Muller hot on his heels.

Among an increase of happiness, shouts of joy, applause, and whistles during the awards, the casual atmosphere in the shop turned into an absolute party when the organizers began with a raffle for gifts from the sponsoring brands. With contributions from Chrome, Met, PEdALED, Peak Design, and MBP, all those who, despite giving everything, were not the fastest, were able to try their luck and take home a nice prize.

After that, the party continued well into the early hours of the morning, as it was time to celebrate that the event had been a resounding success. Not only because of the participation, but because of the gratitude of the people, their reaction and enthusiasm, and the fact of keeping the spirit of fixed gear and all its synergies alive.

And one will wonder, what now? Well, PRBLMS has already announced to us that for the beginning of 2024, they are already designing the new route for the off-road alley cat Lost&Fotut, and surely some other tracklocross events will be announced very soon.