The Backcountry Pyrenees MTB Holiday is our second longest running mountain bike holiday. It is the original Spanish Pyrenees MTB holiday, offered long before mountain biking here was widely known internationally. We launched the trip the year after Zona Zero (in Ainsa) opened and long before they even dreamed of holding an Enduro World Series. Looking at how the areas we pioneered have grown and developed over the years I’m proud to say that this holiday has been a big positive influence for the Pyrenees mountain bike scene in general. It has also been widely popular with our guests and has really helped us establish ourselves. It hasn’t all been plain sailing, we have worked hard at this trip and, looking back, it was really started on a shoestring. Who was there on the trip where the van gearbox broke and we made it all the way back in 3rd gear? Now we have new vans and dedicated trailers and everything runs much more smoothly from our side. We have expanded the areas we guide in and two years ago, when we had too many trails we split the holiday into different trips forming the High Pyrenees and the Ainsa Enduro.
Over the last two years we have made some really big changes to the Backcountry Pyrenees holiday and this year we finished introducing those changes and we are really happy with the result. The idea was to change the trip so that we have a bit more uplift BUT spend less time in the van. We also wanted each day to really feel like an adventure rather than a series of shuttles. Read on for some more details plus lots of photos…
Last year we changed our Backcountry Pyrenees MTB holiday to spend more days in Guara, one of the wildest areas of the trip. This year we will continue to spend two nights here so that we can enjoy the super challenging, rocky mountain biking in this part of the Pyrenees. Afterwards we spend a couple of nights in Ainsa, (Zona Zero) which we use as a base for two big days of mountain biking. The first day we link a series of trails to allow us to ride from the Benasque Valley to Ainsa, racking up over 3000m of descending and riding right back to the apartment. The next day we enjoy some really massive uplifts and some big adventures as we mountain bike all the way to the hotel where we stay the next night. We can literally ride into that hotel and have a beer in the private bar there! By mountain biking into the towns where we spend the night we reduce the time in the van plus add more uplift, it works perfectly.
Spring in the mountains is an amazing time. The weather is definitely more prone to showers than autumn for example, however the days are longer and the backdrop of the snowy Pyrenees mountains is amazing. The trails are normally perfect for mountain biking, with a bit more moisture than later in the year.
One of the highlights on the Backcountry Pyrenees MTB holidays this year was one big ride we added which passes through an abandoned village which has been repopulated by hippies. I use that term with the highest respect possible. These are hard working people who are trying to live like people lived in the past, working the land and managing to eek a living from natures bounty. We were lucky to be invited to eat with them on our trips and it was an amazing experience, eating what they grew and raised themselves. And after lunch the 900m descent back to the van was also appreciated.
The basqueMTB guiding team are all delighted with the changes to the trip. Who cares what we think though? Here are some of the comments from our guests this year on their post-trip debrief. I’ve just taken the first bunch of comments at random rather than cherry picking them.
“Riding holidays can sometimes be daunting for solo female travellers, but the guides worked hard to bring the group together and make sure all guests were included and had fun. The guides, the hosts at the accommodation and the other riders were all very inclusive and welcomed and encouraged all of us.
I really appreciated Igor and Antonio taking me under their wing when they saw I was a bit nervous about particular trails. They both gave me some gentle coaching to build my confidence and showed me some great lines which I’d never have found.”Jac from the UK
“The entire experience was excellent and exceeded my expectations. Can’t wait to come back for more!”Jan from the USA (Thanks for teaching me the phrase “sweating balls”!
“Just a great week. We had bad luck with the weather, but everything else was so good that it didn’t matter – had six fantastic days on the bike, all different and all memorable, through snow, rain and sunshine. Roll on next year.”Ray from the UK
“This trip was a really fun exploration of the best, and I some cases most hidden trails that the pyrinees has to offer. The dedication of trail selection, and variation shows deep commitment in making this an unforgettable experience. This is my best biking holiday so far.”Erik from the Netherlands
“Best mountainbiking holiday ever. I want to go back since the very moment I stepped in the car back home.”Vincent from Belgium
“Awesome riding & guiding and experiencing the beauty food & hospitality of the rural Spanish Pyrenees.”Jonathan from the UK
“I (and Christina) enjoyed it very much staying and riding with you. I appreciated the great organisation and great trail choice. I guess it’s lot of work scouting the trails for finding the perfect combinations we were riding. It was a great mix of different styles of trails and the combination was perfectly selected. “Laura from Austria
“The trip was fantastic from start to end. The guiding and standards of trails, food and accommodation were all perfect and made the backcountry experience totally authentic. Riding through abandoned villages and the terraced trails was incredibly memorable. And the guides and other guests made it too for me.”Tim from Sheffield (UK)
“Third time with Basquemtb and the Backcountry Pyrenees trip and can’t see any reason why I wouldn’t be back soon again. As usual the whole operation went smooth and we could focus on the riding and the gin&tonics afterwards :)”Sverker from Sweden
Thanks to everyone from the whole team at basqueMTB. Its been an amazing season so far and we loved guiding you all on the Backcountry Pyrenees MTB Holidays!
Find out more