The 2013 mountain bike season has drawn to a close and now is the time for me to look over the season´s photos and comments from guests and hope that is enough to keep me warm over the cold winter season! Read the post »
We closed our mountain bike holiday season early this year to make way for a new arrival to the BasqueMTB family. Raising the next Basque-Scottish mountain biking champion takes priority! That meant that we only ran two Backcountry Pyrenees holidays this autumn, once again I´m really sorry for all the people who we turned away, normal service returns in April 2014 and the bookings are already stacking up. The last two holidays really made up for the slightly shorter season though, it really felt like all the hard work that we put into this trip has paid off and these weeks worked so well. Read the post »
Our mountain bike holiday season runs from March until October. During that time we guide five, six or sometimes seven days a week, racking up over 150 days of mountain biking. Not just “down to the shops” biking either, rather biking of the “up and down mountains” variety. Every now and then we get a rest day, either due to a cancellation or just because we don’t fill a week. Those days should really be spent tinkering with our bikes, resting our legs or catching up with all the paperwork that goes along with “living the dream”. Sometimes though you need to get out and ride; call a friend and turn a line on a map into a track in the dirt. Leave the office behind, ditch the computer and leave the phone on silent. On days like that I love to get to the mountains, something close to home but something which is really going to challenge and maybe even frighten me. So it was that today we chose “technotricity”, one of the hardest things I’ve ever ridden. It starts off mellow, fast and flowing through the rocky, grassy valley but slowly the valley walls rear up around you and take on a rockier, more menacing feel. The singletrack becomes extremely rocky, with big slabs of jagged bedrock and the exposure builds on your left to the point where a fall wouldn’t be a good idea. The last section takes us down an old track that would have linked the lower villages to the upper valley, here the trail passes through the trees and is a jumble of always-damp limestone, the speeds are high but it’s really difficult to stay on your bike. Imagine riding a hard, sharp eel. That’s about right. Finally we drop out, after an 1100m descent, with over 11km of uninterrupted singletrack and always our nerves are totally shot. All that remains is a little roll down a concrete road to a bar where you have to force your hands out of The Claw so you can wrap them around a cold, calming, refreshing beer.
On days like this you want your favourite kit, stuff you know you can trust. Both Carlos and I are using our Cove GSpots, these bikes are great; tough enough to not worry about the descents but they pedal well enough to climb wherever you want. My bike is fitted with the new Marzocchi 55 RC3 Ti Evo forks, they are simply stunning and the control is a level above other forks I have used. I´m wearing the fantastic Osprey Raptor pack, more than enough to carry all the food, equipment and camera stuff I needed and stay comfortable at the same time. Finally I´m lucky enough to have the full Mavic Notch range of clothes and helmet on, they look good for the camera, (I think), and keep you cool on warm days like this. You can read my reviews on some of these things by following the link below, I will also shortly be reviewing the Marzocchi forks and the Osprey pack.
Cove GSpot review, (with another video from the Basque coast included!)
Marzocchi 55 RC3 Ti forks review, (the previous model)
Mavic Notch Clothing and Helmet Review
This week we had Jason and Addie from Australia, Jodie from the UK, Teppo from Norway and Jack from Canada visiting Basque MTB for a week of mountain biking on the Spanish coast. It was fantastic to have so many countries all together talking in the van each morning and the chat out on the trails was really interesting. To show our visitors the most that we possibly could we tried to keep the trails as varied as possible, obviously tailoring them to the riders levels as we went, as good guides should do! We rode a couple of days on the Basque coast, riding into San Sebastian one day and doing another, new, point to point along the coast on the second day. The third day we did a fairly big mountain type of ride, climbing up to almost 1000m before enjoying a long, long descent. On our fourth day we rode the trail network around “Stinky Goat”, spending the day climbing and descending on the maze of singletrack there. Everyone had a good time, there were no big accidents and it was a really fun week for me.
Jack also said this about 4-Letter Word, which made me laugh:
You can see all the photos from the week and read some more stories after the break. Read the post »
Simon and Katie visited us in August for a week´s mountain bike holiday. They hadn´t ridden in this part of Spain before, however they knew the Pyrenees very well. Simon runs Nicolai UK so you can imagine how nice his and Katie´s bikes were… lots of bling, a Rolhoff and a Pinion.
The way it worked out that week we just had the two of them so we were able to tailor each day to them exactly and ride some fantastic trails. We also tried a couple of new trails out on them, just short sections on a couple of the days but it worked well. Sadly Katie had a little fall that cut her face, she´s a great rider and was riding really well but bad luck can strike any of us at any time. have a look at the photos below to get more of the stories from this week… Read the post »