Words and Photographs – Fooman
Intro – Cal Earnshaw
I could already envision multiple journeys up the M5 to meet up with Sam and Jordan to no doubt freeze our tits off and take refuge in overpriced coffee shops to avoid the wet British weather. Anybody knows filming a web edit through winter in the UK is tough, so getting off this wet miserable island seemed like a pretty good idea.
Harry MW got wind of the rest of his éclat buddies going away so naturally wanted a piece of the pie as well. So that was that, Harry was coming along for a jolly too. So now it was the ‘YOUNG BLOODS’ trips, 3 riders, 1 city, 1 week, mix of web videos. Which was rad, they all seemed pumped on the idea and also stoked that the small low-key UK éclat team was finally doing something.
End of the financial year naturally meant I had a pretty tight budget to work with so Spain seemed like the obvious answer. I took a long shot at Alicante, it’s cheap and it’s pretty much the sunniest place in Europe so nothing could go wrong, right??
Right! I don’t want to toot my organizational horn too much but the only drama we had was a hire van that liked to stall a lot (I assure you this wasn’t down to driver error) other than that, everything ran smoothly, maybe a little too smoothly?? Yeah, too smoothly, but that’s what you want in a trip isn’t it?
Cal Earnshaw (filmer)
Alicante, average temperature 18ºC (Summer 26 – winter 11.5) with an annual rainfall of 267mm. Good stats for a winter hike in search of fair weather and Spanish beer! I mean, yes – BMX stuff.
I remember the interviews with Mike Curley and Phil Demattia that graced the pages of The Albion, shot by Bancroft in the warm climates of Alicante. Will Evans was on hand to film that, so I thought I’d ask him about spots; his reply was not that great and apparently there wasn’t really anything about. After spending a week there we didn’t understand where that came from, there was an endless tally of spots catering for all. Even the most slippery skate park at the top of a mountain. Didn’t quite understand that one, but yeah, it was an all you can eat city of pretty much untouched spots.
Being asked if you would like to go on a trip with Harry Mills Wakely, Jordan Godwin and Sam Jones to escape the shit December weather is not a difficult decision, is it? I mean, a dialed “new” Eclat crew, mini “holiday” before Christmas, what more could you want. Alicante was our destination, the crew set with myself and filmer/driver/funny guy Cal Earnshaw to document what would unfold over the next 8 days!
This crew was actually unreal, the vibe that went about the whole week was literally one you just wish for on a trip. No drama what so ever, up early each day and ready to go and make the most of the time there and out late each night hitting the drinks and taking in the Spanish night life. This crew had either been really cleverly devised or someone came up top trumps with this selection of “Young Bloods”.
Day one was basically a throw away day – arriving, collecting the rental van and finding the apartment. Myself, Cal and Jordan flew from Bristol on the same flight and were the first to arrive in Alicante. Finding the apartment was hilarious for Jordan and I, as we got to enjoy watching Cal stall the van about 50 times going through the tightest back alleys, a low ceiling car park with an angry attendant and generally poorly made/designed Spanish roads that didn’t make any sense, well, at least not to us Brits and a Welshy. LADS LADS LADS!
Eventually we got the keys to the apartment and dropped our shit off. The apartment was so dope, a newly renovated 3rd floor apartment with a nice balcony view, which was situated right in the city. One road over was the party road, lined with clubs and all kinds of music. The road on the other side was all the shops and restaurants. Perfect location in all honesty.
We cruised about noting down spots we would pass on the way and just kicked it about getting our bearings before heading back to the airport to collect Sam. It’s dark, we see a massive Carrefour, (Spanish Tesco?) we have budget to spend so we stock up on all kinds of meats and breads, typical trip food I guess, and of course some crates of beer. Why is beer so cheap there?
Everything flowed so well from the get go, first spot we went to Sam and Jordan both put the pegs to work. Even though it was still supposed to be a chill day whilst we waited for Harry but not going to complain as the photos just started to pour in. Happy campers all round. We ventured up past the mountain that had the “Santa Barbra Castle” perched on top. This mountain was named “Our Mountain” part way through the trip as you could literally see it from everywhere and our apartment was tucked just into the sea facing side of it so it worked out as a perfect marker. We found a super slippery skatepark, quick jib and slide about then onto the stadiums the other side of the mountain.
We found bits and pieces but held back as we wanted Harry to be involved, Jordan still managed to crank arm a decent blue rail on the way back to the apartment. We had some beers, watched Spanish ice-skating (didn’t know that was a thing, but yep, it is). Jordan explained to us how he gets really stinky nervous farts before trying something scary, which we obviously found hilarious. Why are farts so funny? Then out for some street beers, this became a daily thing of course – Standard.
The third day was the day we took the van up the mountain instead of pushing the bikes up. Google “Alicante Santa Barbra castle” and you’ll see the size of the mountain. We parked the van up and set off into the stadium area again in search of more wonders. We found the same rail that Phil had pulled the pegs hard-way 180 crankflip up, which was seriously the sickest rail, Jordan ice hard way, crispy clean no problem. Notice how I said “was” the sickest rail too? Yeah, Sam almost impaled himself on said rail when going up it. Close call that’s for sure, I’m sure you’ll have seen it. After that setback, we called it a day and went to collect the third “Blood” from the airport. Of course we passed the Carrefour again so loaded up with more beers. Got back to the apartment and yes, the beers flowed. Sam found his calling in life as well – Hand Ball, the TV had this shit on every night without fail and Sam was more than obsessed with it. It was funny to watch how involved Sam became between each game, and starting to pick his favourite players as if he was playing Handball manager 2009 or something. Everyone, minus Harry (yawwwwn), had downloaded the “Clash Of The Clans” app for the trip, so this took up a lot of our evenings, tactical war talk over some beers – yep, rock and roll.
The next day began with filmer dweeb and taxi man Cal making us all breakfast, what a treat. Today was forecast to rain but as we were up early we could make the most of the sun before the rain came over in the afternoon. One thing I found really dope on the trip was how everyone was up and ready to go by 10 easily each day, even after twattin the beers down and clannin’ out each night. KEEN! We didn’t really have too many problems with the five-o but on this day for some reason we were hassled almost non-stop. The crew still managed to bag the clips and have a laugh before the rain hit us so it was all good.
Our apartment came with a bottle of champagne, so now the whole crew was here it made sense to pop the bottle and drink the rainy day away. I’ve just realised how we just seem to be alcoholics. The plan whilst it was still raining was to go out and look for more spots to hit up the next day, me and Sam decided to use the lift/elevator, cans in hand and ready to roll. We thought it would be a good idea to jump in sync whilst in the lift, I’ve never had a problem doing this before but this time we managed to break the lift and get ourselves stuck in there for an hour and fifteen – it felt like a lifetime. This lift was tiny too and I would not wish being stuck in a lift on my worst enemy. That’s a lie actually; I hope you rot in a lift you scum. No signal in the lift to call the others, we were well and truly stuck. Luckily, some American lady was on hand to call the operator and get us out but obviously the rest of the crew had long gone.
Woke up to a slightly damp Alicante the next day but still headed out regardless. The trip played host to more than enough punctures, mainly from the Welsh connection that is Jordan. I’m not sure if its because he runs about 10psi in his tyres or if its just a bit of bad luck, I’m going to say it’s the psi situation though. We hit up some ghetto that was a short drive out of town, it did look rough as fuck too, we were stopped by the police as we were pulling up and they basically told us straight “GUNS, GUNS, GUNS! No good here, you go” So on that note, we fucked right off. Saw the most ghetto game of darts happening at the side of the road on the way out, it was amazing, the board was just drawn onto a sheet of ply and the “dartboard” looked like it had been drawn by a very intoxicated potato or some shit. All oval and not looking like a dartboard at all. Cal thoroughly enjoyed this and forgot he was actually driving through a ghetto and stopped to have a laugh. Suite yourself, but I didn’t fancy being shot. We managed to session the red nipple spot before the rain came in again though, which was a treat. Then it was back to the apartment and off to the cocktail bar. I can’t remember a great deal after this and I’m writing this all from notes I jotted on my phone whilst away and cant make sense of what I have written. It was a good night though, that’s for sure.
Surprisingly, we were up by 9:30 and ready to roll, even after the cocktails the night before. Everything got heavy pretty much from the get go, Sam did a huge pegs hard-way, Jordan got a puncture – no surprises there. Harry was just hittin’ everything, think he was playing catch up today, it was non-stop. Sam baffled the crew with the sickest tyre’s to bar along some kinked rail set up, managed to miss time the bar too (sorry Sam), perfect. I managed to have a mini breakdown, which is always good. Flashes, you give me such headache!
The following day was what I felt to be the most productive of the trip. We went back to the stadiums now that we had Harry with us and everyone ticked off what they said they would do. Sam did a real dope ledge ride, Jordan 360’d Alicante (BLOODY FERK) and Harry fired out a big ass wall ride. This was all within 100ft of each other and before lunch. The rest of the day went equally well. Harry finished it all off with a real good manual drop into some weird ledge set up, which obviously meant we could buy more champagne and beers on the way home.
The last day was by far the hottest. To be fair, we had been blessed with glorious weather since our arrival other than an odd patch of rain. But yeah, the last day was a scorcher. Typical last day vibes went down on the trip, soaking in the rays, chatting shit and waiting to party the night away before getting stupid early flights. The Spanish sure know how to party, that’s for sure. Found Sam asleep in the hallway on our 5am return, two hours sleep and off to the airport we went.
All in all, the trip was a huge success, no one got hurt, everyone was non-
stop jokes, got to ride the sickest spots and enjoy some glorious sunshine in December. The Young Bloods are a crew I am 100% looking forward to going away with again, not one bit of drama the whole week. It’s what I’d call “the perfect trip”.