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Trail > May Holidays – The BasqueMTB Guiding Report

Well May went by quickly didn’t it. We have had people every week and have been fitting in extra days for people as well. Apart from one week we have been filled with returning customers, or customers who have already booked another biking holiday with us this year, which has been fantastic. The trails have been riding very well, with a few days when it’s been a bit too dry and dusty but towards the end of the month we got some overnight rains which left our trails riding perfectly. We have continued to test out new routes on people, further into the Pyrenees and south into Spain, and without exception we have met with great feedback. Read on to hear our holiday news from May.

(For the pictures in the strips below, you can click on one and it will expand and offer you arrows at the side to read through the gallery, it’s the same throughout the site)

Week 1: Stu, Alzy and Jamie from Glasgow.

Stu and Alzy visited us for the first week in May. This will be Stu’s third biking holiday with us and Alzy’s second. This year they brought Jamie with them for 4 days. Unfortunately Alzy ate a dodgy sandwich in Stanstead and was ill for the the first few days so missed some great biking (sorry Alzy!) We did a new route we are code naming “Slagg Valley” which you can read about here. It’s a tough, big mountain route and everyone enjoyed it a lot, in fact we were giggling like Japanees schoolgirls by the time we reached the end.

Stu, Alzy and Jamie were also the second group I took on my epic route, code named “The Thorn” which you can read about here. Jamie fullfilled my worst nightmare and fell on the canal section, just at the most exposed part. The canal section is short, and fairly easy, but has big exposure to the right and I always tell people that if they’re not sure to just walk it. Jamie fell around 3 metres but, luckily, survived with just a very bad bruise…it could have been a lot worse. In other trail news, we rode a new area of trails which lie further south in Spain, near to Pamplona. The terrain is very different from our area, loose, rocky and loamy and the main vegitation is a short bush called Bog. It all adds up for some really nice riding on twisty singletrack with plenty of natural berms and drops, very similar to our South Pyrenees trails. This week we also finally recieved some of our BasqueMTB tops, they’re not all here but we’re slowly getting there with our order.

Week 2: John, Andy and James from England and France were joined by Kirsten and Al from Scotland.

Next up we had a couple of guys, John and Andy, who had visited us last year and were returning for their second BasqueMTB holiday. This time they brought their friend James to check out our singletrack. Andy, John and James were joined by Jamie, Al and Kirsten, a trio of bikers from Aviemore. Jamie, Al and Kirsten had been riding in the south of Spain and were joining us for the second week of their holiday however Jamie had unfortunately injured his knee on the first day so he had to call off. We had some great days out; another loop of The Thorn epic; a trip to our new trails near Pamplona; a new way of linking trails including The Blue Pill and The Hives and of course a return to Cheeky Larrun and Nutcracker for John and Andy! John managed to clear all the switchbacks on The Hives which is no mean feat. It was also great to see the improvement in Kirsten’s riding through the week; she picked up the whole “pumping the trail” thing and was flying at the end of her stay.

The great news for me is that Al and Kirsten are returning in September, with Jamie this time and also a few more mates! That’s the first time we’ve had people returning in the same year so we are delighted that they enjoyed their holiday so much.

Week 3: Gordy, Dave, Euan and Chris from Fyrish Bikes.

I know the Gordy and Euan from riding in the north of Scotland and they have been talking about visiting for a while but this year was the year! These guys have ridden all over Europe but had never been to the Pyrenees or the Basque region of Spain. I knew it would be a tough week, these guys are fit and just as quick downhill, but I also knew that we’d be riding all the trails I like most. We had some rain on the first day but managed to find good trails to ride. The rest of the week was beautiful and we rode a LOT. They were the second group I took to Slagg Valley and we tested out a new point-point route which uses 2 boats and a train, finishing in San Sebastain. They enjoyed that a lot and I had to practically drag them off the beach. Dave missed one day of biking with an old knee injury which flared up but other than that there weren’t any major falls or spills. The guys cleared so many unconquered sections of trail, The Impossible Corner is no longer impossible, and Euan onsighted the Rolf Harris Chute which is an impressive feat. You can read about their holiday on the FyrishBikes website, or a summary on the Velo Club Moulin ‘site.

Week 4: Dave, Dave, Martyn, Laurance from London

The Daves and the Hunnex Bro’s visited me last year. It was a terrible week of weather, people were killed by flooding in the Pyrenees and half of the south of Spain washed away! Undaunted they returned this year and Amaia and I have been praying that the weather would be kind to them. It was! It wasn’t the best weather we’ve ever had but it was very pleasant. Dave R was the original pioneer, he visited us back in 2009 for a holiday and enjoyed it a lot so dragged his friends here in 2010. It’s been a real privilage watching how their riding has developed in that time; when Dave R first visited I had to spend a lot of time convincing him to put his seat down on the descents! We do a bit of coaching through the week (hints and tips really) each year and the guys are searching out harder trails back home too. This year I was genuinely shocked at how fast and good they have got. I was planning using my hardtail this week to save my legs but that wasn’t possible; they were too fast!

We rode some trails that they would have all walked the length of last year, and they loved it. The Hive switchbacks were conquered. The Rolf Harris Chute was given a very good attempt and if we hadn’t been pushed for time I think all of them would have got it. Sadly Martyn (Mini) broke his collarbone on the second last day, it was a stupid little fall on an easy bit of trail and could have happened to anyone. He was riding amazingly and was conquering uphill challenges better than anyone. I was pretty impressed at how double hard he was though, not even a whimper and I don’t think he compained about the pain once. He’ll be back on the bike soon I think and will be flying by summer.

The last day of May was taken up with a Stag Party (Bachelor Party) with 17 guys with accommodation and biking. It was a great laugh but more of that in another post!

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