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Trail > July´s Guiding and Riding and Surfing

It´s been ages since I´ve written anything. Sorry about that but we have been incredibly busy; in a good way! We have been guiding flat out in July which has been fantastic and not as tiring as I was worried about; all those miles over winter have obviously paid off. I have had a few mornings with tired legs but after a few minutes of spinning they have woken up and I´ve been feeling stronger and stronger through the month. The other thing that worried me was that I would loose my enthusiasm for the bike, that was something that would be a big issue for me. No such thing though. There hasn´t been one single day when I haven´t been excited to get out riding; when it hasn´t been a pleasure. So, if you´re interested then read on for a brief summary of this month and some photos from our adventures.
Firstly we had our first real low since starting BasqueMTB. Lynne and Alister visited from the UK for two weeks and were, in their own words, desperately in need of a holiday. Sadly, a few days into that holiday Lynne had an innocuous fall on a trail that was fairly easy compared to what we had been riding that day, and sadly broke her leg.. . We are all totally gutted for Lynne, she is a lovely girl and an awesome rider and we just wish her the absolute best for her healing. Unfortunately the accident happened under dense tree cover and we were unable to request a helicopter, meaning a painful wait and a carry out in a stretcher, however Lynne showed exceptional fortitude and bravery throughout her ordeal. . From a personal point of view, it was the start of a lot of introspection. Our procedures worked very well and we got Lynne off the mountain as quickly and safely as possible so that was very important to us. There are things that we will change and improve, but they are details and not big things. I also have to apologiseif I was a bit “overprotective” with any of the guests that came afterwards! I also spent a lot of time thinking about what we do as a hobby, the dangers and risks we take, and how the risks that I take every time I hit the trails could impact upon the people I ride with and the people waiting for me at home. We put a lot of trust in the people we ride with, both to take as much care of themselves as possible and to help us if we are hurt, and sometimes I think it is worth actually stopping to discuss that with your riding partners. I know that I have done exactly that. . So happy healing Lynne, I hope that you recover well and get back on your bike soon.
Other than that we have had groups from South Africa, Jersey and the UK. We have had a couple of lovely families come out with us and it was fantastic to spend days on the trails with them. It´s great having a family out and seeing them interacting and I love the way that you show younger people something once and you can instantly see their riding improve. One of the families was visiting for the second year running and I really enjoyed that, they had got so much fitter and improved so much technically that it was just fantastic to see. The other family was larger with 3 boys and a girl, and it was great fun to get out on the bikes with all 6 of them. The younger two had agreed with their parents that they only had to bike one day and could spend the rest of the days on the beach, however we were able to tempt them out onto the trails for more than half of their holiday which was superb! . We have also had a group come for a combined surfing and biking holiday and that was fantastic, there´s something great about riding deep in the mountains during the day and then watching people surf in the evening and especially so on the last day when we rode for about 6 hours and they hit the beach (fuelled by red bull ice creams) and surfed until the sun went down. . We have tested out some new trails over the last month, something that is always worrying  because what I think is fantastic might not appeal to other riders. There are two main trail areas that we have been testing out, Etch-a-Sketch and Karrikas. .  Etch-a-Sketchstarts is a very traditional old village, built up around an ancient church, and climbs up, following an old river, to reach a ridge. We follow the ridge for a few kilometers, on some awesome rocky singletrack, before dropping down a long singletrack climb. It´s a physical route but not an overly technical one and is proving to be a real favourite. A lot of the route is in an ancient, protected beech forest and it´s a special place to ride in.
The other route we call Karrikas. It follows the general direction of some very well known route for the XC riders around here. We actually rode very close to this route on one of the very first trail finding expedition to this area but now we have managed to work out a route that is more interesting for our typical riders with lots of singletrack and technical descending. The climb is one of my favourites, totally technical and absorbing in places and just plain beautiful in others, and once we have reached the top there are several options to either extend the route to epic proportions or just descend back to a beer! We can descend on the technical “Los Locos“, or the more mellow “Cassius Clay” or extend the route with “The Hives” and “The Blue Pill”. There is even an option to extend the route further but that will take some exploring, something I hope to do in August…
Tomorrow we start August. We have been very sorry to turn away a few customers in August due to our accommodation being totally booked out. The reason for this is that the temperatures here are very pleasant throughout August and generally a lot of people from France and Spain travel here for their holidays. This year, due to the financial crisis, record numbers of people are choosing to holiday within their own country so all the accommodation here is exceptionally busy. Obviously we use the best accommodation we can find so unfortunately that books up first. If anyone is interested in a holiday in August next year then please give us lots of notice and we will be happy to sort it out for you. The weather here in August is fantastic for cycling, and certainly not as hot as it gets inland or in the south….
So, this blog has been brought to you from my neighbours´garden, with cerveza, sun and pizza. In my defence it is my day off!!

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