Hear all about our Njinga Challenge Ride IV to the beautiful island of Rhodes, Greece.
After a COVID-induced gap of 3 years, Njinga finally had the chance to embark on the latest challenge ride in our series and it was certainly worth the wait!
Our destination was the historic island of Rhodes, known for its 300 days of sunshine a year and it certainly did not disappoint.
With temperatures reaching a scorching 30 degrees each day, our riders faced an extra challenge as they took on the hilly island terrain. Yet despite the heat, we were treated to spectacular views over five days of riding.
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What is our Challenge Series?
Firstly for those of you who are not familiar with our Challenge Series, it is our signature cycling trip carefully crafted to provide a unique blend of challenge, exploration and relaxation.
At their core, our trips feature one extraordinary day, specifically designed to test our riders and push their boundaries.
However, this epic day in the saddle is followed by a few more leisurely days, where we take the time to explore the rest of the area through picturesque landscapes and enjoy coffee and lunch stops along the way.
Afternoons are reserved for relaxing by the pool or at the beach and the evenings give us the opportunity to enjoy some local cuisine.
It's a great way to discover new places and that’s precisely what we did for our Challenge Ride IV.
Challenge Ride IV - Rhodes
Our 4th challenge ride took us to the undiscovered cycling destination of Rhodes, a special place for head coach Togo.
We had the privilege of staying in the village where his family are from. With Togo’s local knowledge, our riders were treated to some epic cycling to all the best places, delicious cuisine at local tavernas, quiet roads with spectacular scenery and of course some special Greek touches.
It was also great to welcome a number of new faces on an Njinga trip as well as some familiar faces including Malcolm Lockhart and John Sawyer who have joined us for all four of our Challenge Rides in the series so far.
Day 1 - Arrival As we eagerly awaited the arrival of our riders, we spent the morning preparing and putting the finishing touches to the self-contained villas we were staying in. With access to our own private pool area and breathtaking views, we lucked out with our accommodation this year.
Once our riders arrived and enjoyed their lunch it was time to assemble the bikes and head out on a short 40km ride to Kattavia.
It was the perfect opportunity for our riders to test out their bikes, give their legs a spin and get a taste of just some of what the island had to offer.
Day 2 - Challenge Ride Day
Anticipating a tough day in the saddle with temperatures over 30 degrees expected, we set the alarms early, fuelled up with a nutritious breakfast and headed out on the 115km route.
The route took us inland on quiet, less-travelled roads. We climbed up to the highest villages on the island passing famous monasteries, national pine forests and olive groves.
The scenery was truly spectacular and provided a welcome distraction from the constant rolling terrain and challenging climbs as we racked up over 2000m of climbing.
The day's highlight was the 9.5km climb through the forest, followed by a technical descent down the other side.
Day 2 - Challenge Ride Day Continued
The rolling roads continued throughout the ride and just when we thought the main challenge was behind us, we faced one final sting in the tail. A 1.6km climb loomed at the 100km mark, averaging 7% with multiple sections with gradients in excess of 10%.
Despite the added challenge of tackling this ascent at the hottest part of the day with limited respite from the sun, our riders dug in and made it to the top. The reward? A thrilling downhill all the way to the finish at the beach where we were greeted with a delicious Njinga recovery smoothie.
Despite the tough ride and challenging conditions, the team showed great determination and grit and absolutely smashed it, with everyone earning their well-deserved official challenge stripe.
Day 3 - Lindos
Day 3 gave us the opportunity to visit the most beautiful town on the island – Lindos. We rolled out along the east coast, passing some stunning beaches and picturesque bays along the way, with some of the group also taking on the bonus climb, Alpe d’Rodos.
Once we reached Lindos we had a quick explore of its quaint streets and many shops. We couldn’t resist a stop at a great rooftop restaurant where we were treated to views of the ancient acropolis.
Afterwards, we tracked our route back along the coast for a delicious lunch at a local taverna. The icing on the cake? A refreshing swim in the crystal-clear sea to cap off a great day.
Day 4 - Mountains and Coast
Day 4 saw our climbing legs put to the test again as we started climbing from the off. Today’s route saw us head back inland as we climbed up to the charming mountainous villages of Profilias and Istrios before descending along the beautiful west coast.
But that’s not all - As a bonus we took on the extra climb and KMs to visit the breathtaking Prasonisi beach, a haven at the end of the island for kiteboarders.
After a quick lunch in the stunning location, we readied ourselves for the climb back up. With the wind behind us, we flew home in the peloton, before finishing the ride with a well-deserved cocktail on the beach.
Day 5 - Saying Farewell
For those fancying a final ride on the island before reluctantly having to pack their bikes up and leave, we headed out along the coast and then back inland for one final climb. The 40km route had us climbing gradually for around 10km but we were rewarded with one of the best descents of the trip.
It was a great conclusion to a great cycling trip on this stunning island.
A massive congratulations to all of our incredible riders who joined us on the trip. Rhodes definitely tested our legs but in return, it gifted us some spectacular cycling and best of all amazing memories, endless laughs and a sense of accomplishment that will stay with us for a long time.
Are you up for Challenge Ride V?
We already have some great options in mind for our next challenge ride in 2024. Are you up for the challenge and fancy joining us? Register your interest to be the first to hear.
Whilst we are finalising plans for our new cycling destination, check out some more photos below from our latest challenge ride in the series.