Technotrocity: Basque Mountain Biking Gets Technical
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