Epic Mountain Bike Holidays | Spain | Basque Country | Pyrenees

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Trail > Trail Building and Finding News #4

The trail news is coming quick and fast at the moment, I’m on fire for trail finding just now and am riding 6 days a week so there’s lots to share. The last few days have been interesting; the weather has turned very cold, with temperatures┬áhovering a couple of degrees below zero. It’s good for riding though, just a few more layers required! I also picked up a new camera, a GF1, to replace my G9 which has some really bad scratches on the lens, so for a while the photos are going to be a bit hit and miss I think. I am also testing out the GF1’s videos, you can see the video above.

On Friday I decided to check out a trail I haven’t done since January 2010, “Rocky Hell Road”. Partly it was to check it out as a possible trail for visitors, partly to stretch my legs and partly to test out my new camera. The climb up is tough. For holidays I can uplift a bit to take the sting out of it but it’s still a hard climb. The main problem is that to get to the top the only way is to use the access road, and due to the nature of the summit this road is steep. It’s granny gear from 600m to the summit at 1000m, and although it’s possible to spin away for most of it, there are a couple of sections which are about 24%! For me it’s worth it though. From the bottom to the top took me 2hrs. The payback is a very technical descent with a lot of variety. The first section is like the really rocky lakes descents, but very, very technical. Then it opens up into buff singletrack which is interspersed with tricky rock sections. I stopped to take 2 photos on the descent, (it was too cold!) and it still took me 48minutes. With a group there is no way we would get down in under an hour.
The other new ride is a belter. One of the guys who was doing this ride mailed that night to say that it was possibly his favourite trail ever! He has been riding all over Spain, the Pyrenees and France for over 30 years so it was a big compliment for the trail. For me it was incredible too, only 32km long but with 29km of technical singletrack, in a really wild place where few people ever venture. Following lost trails, old canals and ancient paths through a forest that is straight out of Lord of the Rings, it took us about 6hours to complete. It is also possible to uplift the ride so that instead of ending at 32km like we did, you can end with a 750m, 8km descent.
The trail is always covered in leaves, and we surfed and slid about in them for miles, riding through what can only be described as leafy, bermy toboggan runs.
The technical, contour singletrack was a real treat. Total focus was required and by the end of the day my brain was about the tiredest muscle in my body.
This trail is a result of some exploring that Carlos and I did last year, and an astonishingly brave bout of exploring by Mikel, or the Hog as he is now known. He returned from finding one section, in the dark and covered in scratches and insect bites, but I can guarantee it was worth it!
It’s a tough route, purely due to the sheer quantity of technical singletrack. We also ride deep in the forest, where few people venture so it’s a ride with consequences. You definitely wouldn’t want to get badly injured out here.
We started riding around 11am and reached the cars at 5:30pm, just before it got dark in the woods. We had one proper stop, for lunch, in a heated bothy which was a total luxury!

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