Luis Ángel Maté just rode over 3,000 km at the Vuelta a España, but he still has quite a journey ahead of him. After completing his 16th Grand Tour this past weekend, the 37-year-old Spaniard decided to head home to Marbella – on his bike.
The trek from Santiago de Compostela, where the Vuelta finished in northwestern Spain’s Galicia region, to Marbella in Andalusia on the Mediterranean coast covers nearly 1,000 kilometers.
In a story for Volata, Maté explained that the trip would be “a period of decompression” after a challenging Grand Tour. He said that he started thinking about doing it as soon as he saw that this year’s race was ending in Santiago de Compostela, and that he took inspiration from the Camino de Santiago, the historic pilgrimage to the Santiago Cathedral.
“It seemed like a unique opportunity to be able to enjoy the bike in a different way from the competition, the stress, the slamming on the brakes, the crashes, thinking about watts,” he said. “I simply wanted to take my bike and leave for home without using a car or a plane, by my own means, to be in harmony with myself and my surroundings.”
After heading south from Santiago on Monday and crossing into Portugal on Tuesday, Maté is passing through central Portugal as of Wednesday. On Thursday, he will head southeast and cross back into Spain, passing through Badajoz in the Extremadura region. He will continue on into Andalusia on Friday, arriving at home in Marbella on Saturday.