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Photos from this Season’s Mountain Bike Holidays

BasqueMTB: 2011 Season's Photos and Guestbook.
We have just finished our 2011 mountain bike holidays here in Spain. I have put together a selection of photos and a quick round up of everyone who spent their holidays mountain biking in Spain with BasqueMTB. There are a lot of photos here so it might be a bit slow to load up for you but these are some of the best mountain bike holiday photos from 2011 so hopefully it is worth it. I have also encouraged everyone who holidayed with us to put a comment at the end of the post, so this will hopefully turn into a bit of a guestbook. I hope you enjoy and if you have visited us the please comment!
First up this season was a mountain biking stag party organised by Dave Turner. Sadly Angus fell on the first dowhill and broke his collar bone but he was x-rayed and sitting in his hotel with a beer within an hour!
Next we were visited by three friends on holiday from Denmark, Jonas, Jon and Iain. The guys were fit beyond belief and Jonas’s bike, a carbon fiber Santa Cruz tallboy bling machine, was a thing of beauty! This certainly woke my legs up for the season.
Tony and “one more hill” Barbara from Calderdale were next to visit this part of Spain on holiday. They were used to test out my Mendaur loop, a monster that I would then drag many (happy) bikers round through the season. Tony and Barbara also stand as the one couple who finished Etch-a-Sketch and opted to do the extra loop!
John, Fergal, Mark, Ray and John were a bunch of Irish mountain bikers from all over the place. As is always the case with my Celtic cousins the banter was fantastic and the van smelt of booze every morning!Robert was a retired jet pilot and you could sort of tell that with the way he rode his bike… fast and skilled!
The next holiday was Stu, Alzy and Jamie, friends from Scotland. Stu has visited every year since I’ve been open… he genuinely likes it and I don’t twist his arm! Sadly Alzy got food poisoning in Stanstead so missed a few days. Jamie had the biggest mountain bike fall I have ever seen on what has come to be known as “Jamie’s Canal”; if you’ve ridden it with me then you know where Jamie fell!
John and Andy visited us last year and this time round they brought James with them. James is a great rider, fit as a butchers dog, and has worked in a bike shop for ages. He is still the only guest to bring me a set of bike tyres… thank you once more James. Sadly James missed the last days holiday because he banged his knee in an unlucky little fall.
Al and Kirsten Gilmore were due to visit with Jamie, however Jamie sustained a nasty knee injury riding in another part of Spain, with Switchbacks, so couldn’t make it. Al is an instructor at Glenmore lodge and a very good bike rider. Kirsten was improving her skills although her fitness was good, (more on that with their second visit later in this post).
Gordy, Euan, Dave and Chris from Fyrish. These guys broke me. They climb like domestiques and descend like downhillers. Normally I get a rest on the downs if I need it but not with these guys! Fantastic week and really kicked me into shape (after I recovered). The guys had visted Spain before but not the Pyrenees or Basque Country and they were impressed with the area.
I was looking forward to this week. Dave R, Dave H, Mini and Lor had a holiday withus last year, (and Dave R came the year before that). The change in the guys riding this year was scary. They have gone from being competent downhill to being very fast and smooth. Sadly Mini broke his collar bone on the penultimate day, he was riding so well. He’s all healed now and booked up for another holiday in 2012!
Marc Greaves called me to organise another mountain biking stag party for 17. Phew! Any fears were unfounded; great guys and a very fun day!Bill and Craig visited us for a wet week in July, it didn’t seem to dampen their spirits though. Also a funny coincidence when we found out that Craig went to the same school as me. Both Bill and Craig made a big impression on the owners of our accommodation and will be welcomed back with open arms!
Tim called asking about a normal holiday with one ‘touring-style’ trip including an overnight stop. We organised a ride into Pamplona using some singletrack I know and the Camino de Santiago and the guys spend that night in Pamplona. The guys were fit but after that trip we did a couple of days with a lot of uplift to rest Tim, Peter, Peter and Rocky’s legs, it is a holiday after all! Good times.
This week another Tim, this time visiting from Belgium. Tim and Ben must be about the hardest core riders in Belgium and were well up for the techydescents! Tim also gave me loads of website advice which was fantastic. They both knew this region of Spain, having spent holidays here before but not mountain biking so it was great to show them the mountains here.
The Great Rock Skills Adventure. A great week with skills tuition from Ed. The feedback from Danny, Tim, Dom, Tomas, Frank and Tore confirmed that everyone had a great holiday.  
Kirsten and Jasper were my second group of Belgians. We did some skills work through the week and the change in the guys biking was brilliant to see. Riding down the steps into San Sebastian at the end of the holiday with Kirsten was one of the highlights of my year.
   
Kevin and his wife Jenny joined us as part of their honeymoon. A nice gentle ride ended with us watching the end of the Tour de France in a bar.Katrin and Johan joined us withtheirchildren Lisa and Martin. Martin was only 12 but rode every day and always refused help with his bike. What a star, and another lovely family to spend a week with.Paul and Gadi joined me for a days biking around the coast. Gadi turned up in flip flops which made the day harder for him!
What can I say about the Goldsmiths? They visited us last year for a week and called from the ferry home to book two weeks this time. They are a big family of six and there’s never a dull moment. Also they’re always late in the morning so I get to have a cup of coffee at their accommodation! I liked them so much I have asked Tom to guide for me next year and he will be a big asset to BasqueMTB.
David and Julia visited us from Canada at the start of August. They had a weeks holiday visitng other parts of Spain before they arrived in the Basque Country. We did a few of our ‘classic’ rides, like Etch-a-Sketch, and some routes that I don’t take many people on deep in the old woods.  David and Julia were slightly older but were very fit and had good mountain bike skills to match which meant we got to do a lot of biking together.
We had a few day trips around the second week in August. The first was Cliff a fellow Cove G-Spot owner for some uplifted runs. Then We had Stephen and Jenny, on holiday from Ireland. We recommended a restaurant for them and that evening Stephen proposed! Our first marriage. Finally we had Keith and Alistair join us for the third year running. Keith and Alistair’s riding has improved incredibly since their first holiday here and it was good to get to show them some of our more difficult trails. Alistair also did some filming with a remote control plane he built himself.
Ben and Iris, from London visited us for 10 days. We did a few days together and also some more extreme days just with Ben and I. There were two highlights for me. The first was a very mellow ride around some of the traditional Basque villages, linked using paths and singletrack. The other was taking Ben up Larun, a huge climb on the border withSpain and France with a very technical descent which we both got a real buzz from.
Jason, Andria, Paul, Sam and Dave were “The ColoRADans”. A hardcore group of bikers visiting Spain from Boulder, Colorado. Sadly Jason broke his knee mountain biking, just before coming (wear pads kids) so was confined to quarters. Ian, a race car driver, boat crash investigator, top guy and a damn good biker joined us as well. This week was fantastic! I hardly said a word all week, just listened to the banter and laughed!
Peter, Kika, Jenn and Danny joined us for the last days of The Coloradan’s holidays and for Ian’s second week. Peter and Kika had some of the nicest mountain bikes all year with an Intense Uzzi, Tracer and a Banshee hardtail. Jenn and Danny were on more XC rigs but they kept up no problems and again I saw a big improvement in their riding over the week. We rode some mellow trails and also some harder ones, trying to mix it up for everyone.
Al, Kirsten and Jamie joined us at the end of September for their second holiday to BasqueMTB(the first for Jamie) this year. We rodesome of the trails we’d done earlier in the year but we also rode a few new trails to keep things fresh. The highlight was riding our Mendaur Epic and climbing up into the cloud. It was stunning.
  
Tony organised the 4th mountain biking Stag Party we have had this year. The guys were pretty rough in the morning but a cycle and lunch sorted them out, ready for the next night’s drinking!Erik and his Dad joined us for a single days riding. We ended up doing a big loop on the coast, starting early in the morning. The temperature quickly climbed to around 30degC, very hot for October, and rehydration was the order of the day! 

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