Mountain Bike Holiday in North Spain With a Trip to the Pyrenees.
I have got a bit behind with the blogs from our mountain bike holidays. I had computer issues it’s taken ages to replace the computer and all the software. I’ll catch up! The first holiday in September was a special week for everyone at Basque MTB because Tim and his group from Bristol were returning for their second mountain bike holiday with Basque MTB. That isn’t too unusual but it was special for us because these guys have been to lots of other companies but this was the first time they have ever been to the same place twice.
Tim was keen to experience the mountain biking we offer on our South Pyrenees Mountain Bike Holidays but was also keen to repeat his stay on the Basque Coast. After discussing it we decided to do a normal Basque Coast mountain bike holiday, based in Hondarribia near San Sebastian, but take two nights away and travel through the Pyrenees. Read on to see how we got on.
First Day of the Holiday: Stinky Goat and Celtic Flo
|Mountain Bike Holiday Day 1: Sunshine in Spain and Cold Drinks are the Order of the Day.|
On the first day of the guy’s mountain bike holiday we decided to ride in the forests on the network of trails which include Stinky Goat, Celtic Flo, The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum. The trails here are really varied, with Celtic Flo’s deep rooty loam and steep turns, exposed hard packed singletrack on The Joshua Tree and Stinky Goat’s fast, rocky turns. Today doesn’t have any huge descents, Stinky Goat is around 250m and the biggest is Celtic Flo with around 400m drop. Of course, Celtic Flo can be linked straight into Cross the Streams to give around 700m drop but we didn’t take that option today. There is so much singletrack round here, perfect for mountain biking but hard for my guides to learn the routes and as Ian said to me, “it’s a maze!”
Mountain Biking on the Coast, Ending in Hondarribia
|A Shorter Mountain Bike Route on the Coast, Ending in Hondarribia.|
Today was a really nice temperature for mountain biking and the overcast sky was a relief after a warm day the day before. We used the uplift van to miss out one of the climbs and rode along the coast. Lunch was a very nice picnic right by the sea, followed by a climb up to the ridge and a long descent back into Hondarribia. I left the guys having a beer on the sea front in Hondarribia and rode back to get the van.
Pack Bikes, Leave the Basque Coast & Head to the Pyrenees Mountains
|This was how we left our accommodation in Hondarribia this morning.|
This morning we left the Basque coast and drove south into Spain. As I met the guys at the accommodation we took a long look at the view from the breakfast table. It really was hard to leave this part of Spain, even if I knew that the mountain biking we were going to do in the South Pyrenees was going to be incredible.
Mountain Biking in the South Pyrenees: The Rock
|Mountain Biking in the South Pyrenees, After Leaving the Basque Coast.|
We drove for around an hour and a half to a mountain bike trail I have taken a few holiday guests to this year. We call it The Rock. Usually we do a big figure of 8 loop but this was our third day in a row of mountain biking, with another 3 big days to go so I decided to make a shorter loop. We biked for around 3 hours, enjoying the perfect blue skies and fast and flowy singletrack. Everyone was buzzing when we finished day 3 of our mountain bike holiday and we loaded the bikes into the BasqueMTB van and drove to Jaca where we would spend the night. That night we enjoyed a few beers together and some really nice food in a little restaurant tucked away in a back street.
|Beers and Big Mountain Views of the Pyrenees.|
Day 4 of the Holiday: Big 4×4 Uplift in the Pyrenees Mountains
|Dropping down from the High Pyrenees and mountain biking in the BadLands.|
We woke up early on Wednesday morning to drive to our next mountain biking destination. Usually this would take me around 2 or 3 hours but friends promised me they had just finished making a new road and it saved around two hours. Forty five minutes later we rolled into our destination! We would be staying at my friend Jorge´s appartments that evening but in the meantime I had a great day of mountain biking lined up for us. I had organised a 4×4 uplift to take us high up into the Pyrenees mountains in the morning. We would spend the rest of the day winding our way back to the valley floor, almost 1400m below. The mountain biking was… amazing. Really nice singletrack all the way down, starting up in the high Pyrenees and traversing around beneath the rocky head of the mountain above. As we dropped lower the trail changed all the way down, leaving the exposed traverses in favour of flowy, loamy trails through the trees. Everywhere we looked the highest mountains of the Pyrenees towered above us.
|Big Uplifted Mountain Biking in the Pyrenees.|
Halfway down the trail we passed a remote mountain bar. How good is that! We stopped for a beer and I decided to supplement my sandwich with a big plate of sausage, eggs and chips, (the Spanish equivalent!). After lunch the mountain biking was even more varied with loose and dusty switchbacks, rocky chutes, the berms and jumps of The Badlands and finally flowy singletrack to take us down to the valley floor. We left the uplift bus around midday and it was now almost seven in the afternoon! What a day. That night we wasted no time in getting stuck into some big beers, had a beautiful dinner on a terrace with a stunning Spanish waitress brining us wine and finally slept very soundly indeed in Jorge´s comfortable beds.
Returning to the Basque Coast to continue our mountain bike holiday.
We set of the next morning for the Basque coast. It took us around two and a half hours, through some beautiful parts of Spain. Just before we reached the Basque Coast I dropped the guys off at the top of a hill on the border between France and Spain. I left them with a GPS loaded with a route to take them back to their accommodation in Hondarribia, I returned their bags and the guys spent the rest of the day riding back.
Mountain Biking into San Sebastian for Pintxos
|Final Day of Our Mountain Biking Holiday, San Sebastian and Pintxos.|
We only had one day left on the guy’s mountain biking holiday in Spain and everyone, including me, wanted to ride along the coast into San Sebastian. We were joined today by a friend from Pamplona called Dave who was hoping to join Basque MTB as a guide for 2013. We rode one of our regular routes which follows singletrack all the way along the coast to San Sebastian. At the end of the ride we enjoy a beer on one of San Sebastian’s great beaches and some tapas in a little bar where we can stand outside and get the pintxos passed out through the window. It is always a great end to everyone’s mountain biking holiday!
Thanks to Tim, Peter, Peter and Richard for visiting and for choosing to come back to BasqueMTB again and for taking more people with you this time. As I told you on the holiday it means a lot to us that we are the only mountain bike holiday you have chosen to return to! Hopefully see you again in the future.
Tags: Mountain Bike Holidays