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Trail > August Exploring – Coast and Pyrenees

As I said in my last post we have been a bit quieter in August than we expected. We had enquiries for last minute holidays but that is very hard in August because people from all over Spain and France come here for their holidays so it is difficult to find space in our accomodation. It´s a pity because August is a great month for cycling here, with great temperatures, so if anybody wants to come next August then book early! (It´s worth noting that we´re fully booked for the first week in August 2010 already). So with a couple of weeks to fill we have been doing some exploring and tracking down some new trails for next year.
Last week Amaia and I took some time and drove down the Spanish side of the Pyrenees exploring. We didn´t take bikes but just explored some areas on foot with some great results. The idea is to offer some weeks away outwith our season in the Basque country, i.e. from November to February, where the south facing Spanish side of the Pyrenees keeps a good climate and there is lots of riding to be had. I know some local guys in an area here who run some really nice accommodation and we will look to offer holidays in this area for 2011. The area is very different to the Basque Country, but there is a lot of singletrack with big, technical descents and stunning views. If anyone is interested in more details on this then please get in touch. More information will start to go up on the website towards the end of the year.
Other than that we are continuing to develop our knowledge of the Basque mountains around here. That is a passion of mine! I spent a great afternoon last week riding a ridgeline that I thought we could link in with some existing trails we have. I climbed up to around 1100m and sat there enjoying the view (see the picture at the top of this post ) at around 7:30pm, about 15km from the van and about 1100m above it! It was so silent, only birds and insects, and I couldn´t see any roads or houses anywhere. Nobody was walking because they wouldn´t have time to get back to civilisation before dark. It was a great feeling, although I have to admit the solitude was in my mind when I was descending back and I definitely rode at about 60%! The descent was great, it´s not all downhill, you undulate along a ridge with some fantastic singletrack. The last 400m of vertical to the van is exceptional; fast, rocky, technical and flowing.
Another area that we were exploring this week is very different. It has about a 700m altitude difference from summit to van but the trails are very different to anything I have here already. Very slippy rocks, roots and contour singletrack. The woods are stunning, very mixed with Hazel, Ash, Oak, Beech and more that I couldn´t identify. I think we will just refer to this area as “The Jungle” for now! We put together a fantastic route with 1200m vertical and some cracking descents. We also rode into a bunch of vultures and saw them take off about 20m from us, stunning creatures, they are so big and powerfull.
We have been doing a lot more “small scale” exploring, just checking out the branches on our local trails that we haven´t seen before. It has yielded a few tweaks and options here and there but nothing major. Other than that all the bikes have been serviced and are ready for the next 5 weeks of guiding. As am I.

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