Epic Mountain Bike Holidays | Spain | Basque Country | Pyrenees

Latest Posts

mountain bike holiday > Basque Coast and Backcountry Pyrenees

Basque Coast and Backcountry Pyrenees

Mountain Bike Holiday Report #1: Pyrenees and Basque Coast

Mountain Bike Holiday Season Kicks Off with a Bang!

The mountain bike holiday season has started early this year and we have already run two trips, one on the Basque Coast and the other in the Pyrenees. Read on to find out how our first two mountain bike holidays of 2013 have gone and for plenty of pictures!

Mountain Bike Holiday on the Coast for Carlos and Jorge from Madrid

Our first holiday guests this year were Jorge and Carlos from Madrid who joined us for a weekend on the Basque Coast. Leaving the snow in Madrid they greeted with warm temperatures and blue skies in the Basque Country. On our first day we biked along the coast from our accommodation to San Sebastian, a mellow ride with loads of singletrack and unbelievable views. I was joined by my friend Antonio who will be helping with our mountain bike holidays this year. Antonio has mountain biked in this area since the 1980´s so it was particularly rewarding for me to show him some trails he didn´t know! It´s sidreria season in San Sebastian, when this year´s cider is ready and people flock to the breweries, called sidrerias, to drink the new batch directly from the vats. We were lucky enough to bump into a friend on the trails who owns a sidreria and invited us for a tour. A perfect way to finish a long day on the bikes! The next day I drove the van and left the guys in the capable hands of Antonio to ride some more mountainous trails on the border with Spain and France. The feedback from our visitors from Madrid was fantastic and I´m sure we´ll be seeing them again!

A Backcountry Pyrenees Mountain Bike Holiday for Steve and Gav from Scotland

The second tour of the season was a mini version of our Backcountry Pyrenees mountain bike holiday. We were joined by Gav and Steve, two Scots, who had visited Gav´s house near Pau several times but had never crossed the border into the Spanish Pyrenees. They could only manage three days so we were showing them a minature version of our Backcountry Pyrenees mountain bike tour. We picked the guys up in Jaca on Friday morning and after a false start due to a forgotten wallet (*cough Steve*) and a detour for coffee and apple tarts, we finally got riding around midday. We had hoped to get a couple of descents in by this time so we had to cut this day a little bit shorter than we wanted. We started with a big uplift for a very mellow 700m descent to get everyone warmed up. Flowy switchbacks with small sections of exposure and after around half an hour of descending we were back at the van. The afternoon was a “gravity traverse“, I´m not actually sure if that is a type of mountain biking but it is a term that seems to suit what we offer; we ride a point to point but using the uplift for the climbs. Having said that, there was still a couple of hundred meters of climbing in the afternoon. That night we stayed in a beautiful hostel in a deserted village with huge views and roaring fires. Happy but tired.
The next day we enjoyed four big descents, on perfect mountain bike trails, making our way to the next destination. We used the van to sample some of the best descents in the Zona Zero bike park and then stayed in our friend´s appartment in the center of the beautiful medival town of Ainsa. The trails we rode today couldn’t have been more varied with baby heads, ridgelines, contour singletrack, tech, flow, switchbacks and above all just about every type of corner that has ever been invented. We descended for over 2000m with maybe 100m or 200m of climbing and finished just as the sun dropped below the mountains and turned the snow covered Pyrenees red. A quick trip to the bike wash, a couple of beers and a pile of olives and it it was time for a shower and food. Of course, no trip to Ainsa is complete without a visit to Abrevadero for the best Gin and Tonics in the world. (I stake my reputation on that claim). Like the say, we came for the mountain biking but we stayed for the gin.
It was hard to get everyone up and ready the next morning, with G&T and miles of descending making for heavy bodies. I knew it was going to be a special day but even still it was hard to get everyone going. Luckily Antonio is fantastic in the mornings and buzzed around making everyone coffee and food and finally we set off. We were met in the villiage square by a 4×4 to take us high into the Pyrenees where we hoped to reach a col before the snow stopped us. After around an hour of uplift the 4×4 was stopped by the snow however we were within 5 minutes ride of the top. We climbed easily on our bikes and padded up, ready for a whole day of descending. I love this descent, it starts off brilliantly but each section gets progressively better. I love watching as people become more and more amazed as each new section rolls into view. And there are plenty of sections as we will enjoy over 22km of descending through the day. There are some flat sections and some small climbs but the stats are something like 1600m down and 200m up.
After a couple of hours of biking we reached a village where we stopped for lunch. Antonio was rather excited to find calçots, a local speciality that are only available during a short season. They are like a cross between a leek and a spring onion and are cooked in the fire so that they are blackened and burnt. You peel them and eat the succulent insides and the flavour is amazing, especially when accompanied by local snails and some red wine! After lunch we set off on probably the most technical section of the day, I got it horribly wrong and ended up rubber-side up in the bushes. Blushes! We descended and laughed and whooped and searched for new supleratives all the way to the valley floor which we eventually reached just in time for a beer before the sun sank. I will let our guests add their own comments but I certainly felt that we had shown them something special. Something that exceeded their expectations and that they will hopefully remember for a long time. It is less important but Antonio and I also had a fantastic time, both the riding and the company were fantastic and filled us with enthusiasm for the long mountain bike holiday season ahead of us. Thanks a lot Gav and Steve! Finally, here are a selection of the iPhone photos I grabbed, some with Instagram filters and some without. You can keep up to date with the BasqueMTB adventure over on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, TWITTER.

Tags: ,

The comments are closed

© 2009 - Basque MTB, IRUN, BASQUE COUNTRY, SPAIN, Tel. +34 662 614 470
Mail. doug@basquemtb.com