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mountain bike holiday > Pyrenees Mountain Bike Holiday Easter 2013

Pyrenees Mountain Bike Holiday Easter 2013

Pyrenees mountain bike holiday with a great group from all around the world.

Backcountry Pyrenees Mountain Bike Holiday with BasqueMTB

For the Easter week we ran our Backcountry Pyrenees tour with a mixture of Spanish, British and American visitors. This week was slightly different in that we concentrated our riding in a smaller area, missing out Spanish Utah but definitely not compromising the riding. We also ran a competition in MTBPro for people to join us for a couple of nights, in association with Zona Zero, the Pyrenees mountain bike park which we work with a lot. Read on to see how this week´s holiday worked out.

The first day of the holiday is always a pedal day!

For all of our Pyrenees holidays we try to include some pedalling on the first day; it helps work off that nervous energy everyone has and it lets us chat to everyone in a way that plunging downhill limits. On the Backcountry Pyrenees holidays this is usually Spanish Utah, however on this trip we used a different trail which started with a drive out to the edge of the Zona Zero area. The idea was we would start a distance away and spend the rest of the day traversing back to the base, almost entirely on singletrack. The trails were fantastic, there were a couple of hard climbs but the sun was shining and we took our time and enjoyed the views! There were miles and miles of grey-earth singletrack that always snaked towards our bed for the night, food and beer; it was all the incentive our legs needed to keep turning the pedals! For the day we were Carlos and Angel from Spain, Rick from the UK and Antonio from America. Angel turned up on a full carbon Scott Genius with full lycra kit and quickly showed us not to judge a book by its cover as he showed himself to be super quick downhill.

Day 2 of Our Mountain Bike Holiday: Big Uplift in the Pyrenees

This is a standard day on our Backcountry Pyrenees holiday, taking a 4×4 way, way up into the mountains and riding all the way back down to the valley floor below. It takes all day, has an amazing lunch stop and has 22km of singletrack. What more to say? Antonio was quick to admit that he´d never done this type of riding and was finding it hard, however it was pretty inspirational to watch as he dug deep and I could actually see his skills improving before my eyes. He went on that week to ride sections of trail that few other people have nailed and he did it all with style and a smile.

Van Assisted Shuttling in the Pre Pyrenees on Day 3.

This is another typical day for our Back-country Pyrenees holidays, we shuttle up and down a valley which has 3 big descents from the top. Each descent has a small amount of climbing, say 10 minutes, and then a descent that ranges from 5km to 10km from top to bottom. Generally we manage 4-5 descents in a day, racking up 3000-4000m of descending before the setting sun, or pumping arms, stop play. The 3 descents are all very different, the first is an open ridgeline with tight corners, the second is a contour blast through the woods and the last is a twisty, rocky riot through small bushes which Ed Oxley christened Muchas Rocas. Everyone has their own favourite but they are all world-class. That night we were all tired and some people were feeling the effects from all the technical descending so while we had a huge dinner we made plans for a more relaxing day the next day. Poor Rick today, he made the mistake of patting a dog at the top of the uplift and was followed for the next 10km! Rick´s an awesome rider but he just couldn´t shake the stinky hound from his back tyre 🙂

Revelations 13:1 “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns

OK, so that´s a little bit dramatic but give me a chance to explain. Tucked away in a little corner of the Pyrenees is a little road, and that road climbs around 1000m on tarmac, way up into the rocky tops of the mountains. From the top of that road there are 7 descents to the bottom, offering just less than 7000m of descending. The local challenge, which few can claim to have completed, is to ride all those descents in a day. Once a year the local bikers get together to attempt it, with those who aren´t taking part laying on food and handing out bike spares. The rules? Well, you have to finish by sunset and you are only allowed one bike, everything else goes. We are currently considering including this challenge as part of some special Backcountry Pyrenees weeks, we are just weighing up the safety of it. Today I was driving the van and Antonio was guiding and we rode the easiest of the 7 descents… it took two and a half hours and the smiles on everyone´s faces said it all at the end. Unfortunately Antonio left his camera in the van (tut tut) so we don´t have any photos of this amazing trail. After a good lunch Antonio guided the group along the river, on a lovely ribbon of singletrack which ran for 10km beside the snow-melt swollen river while I again took the van. All in all it wasn´t quite a rest day but it was definitely a lot easier than the previous days and the riders all said it was one of their favourites. Stay tuned for more information on the “7 Descents” Challenge!

Some Technical Mountain Biking in Guara for the Day 5 of the Holiday

The next morning we drove a short distance to the outskirts of the Guara National Park. You are not allowed to ride most places inside the park, however sticking to the outskirts and using trails that local rangers have shown us, we keep on the right side of the rules while enjoying some of the best trails around. These trails aren´t trails which flatter you, they are very tough, technical and unrelentingly rocky. Our guests this week really stepped up their game and their effort was rewarded with a big sense of satisfaction as they conquered lots of sections which would have left many riders walking. We did a couple of big uplifts, rode round a huge, water-filled canyon on a trail carved into the walls and finished it all with a well-earned beer by the roaring fire in the little hostel where we stayed that night. Happy days!

Last Day, Riding on the Basque Coast

For our last day we rode on the Basque Coast, enjoying some nice weather and familiar trails before taking the guys for food and drink in San Sebastian at the end of the day. Somehow we forgot to take photos, sorry about that guys! As always I´d like to thank Antonio, Rick, Angel and Carlos for making this a superb week. Antonio, I know the trails were a bit harder than you expected but you stepped right up and owned them. Rick, I´m sorry to hear that you broke yourself shortly after getting home but I´m glad it didn´t happen on my watch! Carlos y Angel, muchas gracias para todo, un placer para conoceros y espero que vamos a disfrutar las montañas juntos otra vez!

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