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Photo and Video > 2009 In Photos

2009 has been a great year for biking but it’s also been a great year for taking photos! There’s something about the contrast of colours in this area of Spain, with the blue skies, turquoise seas and lush, green vegetation that means photos tend to turn out well. It’s a bit of a ritual for me to take my camera out with me, get home, shower, make myself a large coffee with Cola Cao and go through the photos I’ve taken. For this post I’ve gone through my favourite photos and videos and tired to give some background information on them for everyone. As always on this site click the photos to make them bigger! Please feel free to add any comments, it’d be great to get some other people’s opinions, suggestions of ideas to make “2010 in photos” better! This is one of the first photos I took this year. I was exploring, searching for a trail that I’d heard people talking about which wound along the coast from Lezo to Hondarribia. As it turns out the trail didn’t exist, although this section links in with another trail that I didn’t find until months afterwards. In the background the hill you can see is called Ulia, and there’s some great trails there too. This picture was a special one. It’s taken on a local mountain called Ernio, which is a 1100m high ridge. My friend Carlos had walked it and thought it might just be possible on bike. We cycled up, pushing in places and eventually reached the top and were rewarded with a really special view all the way to the sea. We didn’t find the best descents that time but have it all worked out now, giving us a hugely technical 10km descent for the fit and brave. That time we got lost and ended up riding for miles down a road in the fading daylight; trail finding, we do it so you don’t have to! I’m trying to keep things roughly in order here… This was an area I had explored previously, however I had no idea as to the number of possibilities here, indeed I’m still finding new trails in this area! This was the first day I had ridden down the entire ridge and it was fantastic. It’s such a photogenic trail with the singletrack down the ridge really visible and Aiako Harriak standing proud in the background.  The trail is called Carlos’s Ridge because Carlos totalled his brand new 819 rim on this trail! Well, another one of me! There is a hill called Jaizkibel, right on the coast which has been both the bane of my life and my greatest friend. The bane of my life because there’s so many trails that start of fantastically and then just stop, dumping you in the middle of nowhere.  It’s been my greatest friend because the quality of the trails here is simply stunning, it’s always throwing up little surprises, like this section! It’s a series of 5 sandy berms, miles from anywhere, that happen to sit on a lovely section of singletrack that I use. They’re great for practising on for a bit. Well, this is my most ‘interesting’ picture according to Flickr! People have called it beautiful, impressive and even emotional. Now I like it a lot, but it’s just a picture of a rider (Carlos again) riding through misty trees! It was a special ride to be honest, it was one Carlos showed me and when we met in the morning it was really misty but you could tell it was going to burn off. We climbed, mostly on fireroad at the start, then on rough paths and singletrack as we got higher. Stopping for a spot of food we were passed by a group of children on quad bikes and a huge acorn fell on Carlos’s head! After setting off again we found that one of the kids had driven their quad right off the side of the trail and they were trying to rescue them with ropes. Totally surreal climb. Then the descent… It was steep, rocky, rooty and massively rutted, Carlos was gutted because obviously moto crossers are using the trail, but for me it was a great descent, reminiscent of the downhill tracks back in Scotland. Afterwards we stopped in a Sidreria and I ate a large bit of barely cooked cow and drunk a lot of sidre. I was a happy chappy that day. Riding the singletrack that drops down into Zarautz on day 2 of my coastal tour week. I’m setting up a tour for 2010 or maybe 2011 which will run from Hondarribia on the French border all the way down the Basque coast to Bilbao. It’s going to be mainly singletrack and that singletrack is going to be interesting. Each night we’ll stop in a different coastal town and stay in accomodation there. I love the picture, I was just about to descent to Zarautz at the end of day 2 and have a beer watching the surfers. What no bikes?!? I’m afraid that even I have to admit that life’s about more than just biking. I took the day off with Amaia and went to Hossegor, about 20 minutes down the coast into France, and sat on the beach, watching the surfers watch the kite-surfers! It’s a beautiful place and the waves are truely impressive; I love going for a swim and battling against the big breakers before emerging salty and exhausted. This photo was taken at the end of Autumn, it was cold and windy but still sunny. This trail is one of my favourites, it is inland with a great view of the Pyrenees although you can still make out the sea. The trail is quite easy although it has a few hard bits in it as always on natural trails. It was just beautiful though, really reminded me of why I mountain bike. This picture gets a lot of comments. I didn’t actually take this one, Carlos did. The trail is called ‘the canal’ because what you’re actually riding on is an ancient aqueduct that clings to the side of this steep valley. It’s fantastic to ride on, and it’s normally pretty easy, however there are 2 places like this which sane people tend to walk! They’re just short sections so it’s no hardship and the rest of the trail is great, with fantastic views and an interesting surface.  Oh yeah, and it ends at a pub too which is always important! What is it with autumn that I love so much. Pretty much everything in this photo!
  • Drifty leaves? Yup!
  • Beautiful colours? Certainly!
  • Still warm but not hot? Absolutely!
This is a new trail for 2010, a bit inland but well worth it with lots of fantastic singletrack in a figure of eight shape which starts, finishes and ‘middles’ at a bar! The first half of the trails is really simple but the second half has some tricky sections to keep you on your toes; it’s one of my favourite trails. Shortly after this picture was taken I rode into a chain across the track doing 48kmph! No damage was done to either the bike or me, which was amazing.

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