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This Week’s Trail Finding

BasqueMTB Mountain Bike Holidays Spain
Route finding for our 2013 mountain bike holidays in Spain.
Christmas is over and 2013 is definitely here, all of a sudden our mountain bike holiday season seems very close. We will start offering our Backcountry Pyrenees mountain bike tours in March and then our Basque Coast mountain bike holidays start in April so until then it is time for maintaining the trails we have and discovering new routes for this season. Read on to see what BasqueMTB were up to this week.  

Monday: Teaching Dave the routes for our 2013 mountain bike holidays

We have a new mountain bike guide for 2013, a Scottish guy called Dave who has lived in Pamplona for a few years. We will introduce you to him shortly but this week we have started to spend time on the trails showing him the ropes. This way when you come on your mountain bike holiday Dave will already know all the trails and be able to show you the best of this part of Spain. On Monday we spend the day riding “Celtic Flo”, “The Joshua Tree”, “Stinky Goat” and “Cross the Streams”. The photos above are of Dave and I crossing the streams!  

Tuesday: Mountain biking with Bas, a journalist from Holland

Bas is a mountain biker from Holland whose partner is from the Basque Country and he contacted BasqueMTB to see about a guided day on the Basque coast. After a few emails it turns out that Bas also writes for a Dutch mountain bike magazine called Up/Down so look out for some words about BasqueMTB up there sometime. We did “All Along The Watchtowers” and finished on the beach in San Sebastian, a great day out with perfect winter weather. If you click any photo below you can scroll through all the photos in this article.

Thursday: A Definite Route for Our 2013 Mountain Bike Holidays

After a day in the office on Wednesday I met up with friend and fellow mountain bike guide Antonio, who some of you will know from our holidays. Antonio was showing me one of his classic routes near Pamplona which he thought I might like to include in our mountain bike holidays for 2013. We met up in a little village below an imposing rocky ridge which was going to be the final descent of the day apparently. It had rained a little the night before and, although the skies were bright and full of the promise of spring, the first fireroad climb was a bit messy. I still have excesses of Christmas in my legs and felt the pain as we wound up the not-too-steep trail. Soon we left the fireroad and picked up some wooded singletrack and we enjoyed several kms of the most perfect climb I have done in a long time. The climb continued, first though a featureless rocky field that tested lungs and legs and then on more perfect singletrack before we reached the summit. The views down the ridge, with a lot of air to the right, were incredible with the snowy Pyrenees mountains standing proud above the flat plains of Navarra which surround Pamplona. The descent was amazing. It made me swear never to ride Hutchison tyres again as they squirmed and slithered on the damp rocks, threatening to throw me off the cliff that was ever present in my right field of vision. The singletrack alternated between very technical and exposed and super fast and flowy. It took us almost an hour, with very few photo stops, to reach the village below. The fun didn’t stop there though, Antonio took me to a restaurant built on stilts which jutted out over the local vineyards and we enjoyed a beer. We also managed to negotiate a special price for a menu with local wine which we will offer at the end of the day to our holiday guests. Great times!

Friday: A stunning mountain bike route that didn’t quite make the grade

Today Dave and I set out together again and we were treated to another perfect Basque winter day, with a blue skies framed with white clouds. The trail today was one I have done a long time ago but never returned to and today’s objective was to test it out and see if it was good enough to be a regular feature on our 2013 mountain bike holidays. It is always hard to judge whether to include a trail or not; some trails might be perfect for one holiday and purgatory for another. The elements of this trail were all there: big views, almost 1000m uplift, and some amazing sections of sublime singletrack but somehow it just didn’t fit together perfectly. Despite the big uplift it didn’t feel like there was all that much downhill and the 25km took us almost 5 hours including a lunch stop! There were some incredibly technical sections and some sections that were just flat out blasts and, in the end, we agreed that the best way of describing the day was as a journey and adventure rather than as a trail or a descent. It was like an old school techy XC day with a 1000m of uplift. The area is amazing though and we will be going back there to search out some other options. We will still offer this day to people but maybe only returning guests who are sure that they know what they want.
What do you think of our adventure on Friday, does it sound like something you would like to do on your mountain bike holiday or would you prefer something less “out there”? Let us know. For now, it’s a weekend off for Dave, Antonio and I and then the adventure starts again next week. Keep posted for more BasqueMTB mountain bike news.

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