Epic Mountain Bike Holidays | Spain | Basque Country | Pyrenees

Latest Posts

mountain bike holiday > Pyrenees Mountain Biking With Skills by Great Rock

Pyrenees Mountain Biking With Skills by Great Rock

Pyrenees Mountain Bike Holiday
Pyrenees mountain bike holiday with Great Rock.
Last week we ran a mountain bike holiday in the Pyrenees with Ed Oxley from Great Rock offering skills training through the week. This year we had Phil, (on his 3rd mountain bike holiday with us), Andy, (who is on his 4th), Jason, (on his first but he tells us not his last!), and Michel who is French and runs press for Mavic and was the best dressed and warmest guy on the mountain all week. We were also joined by the Gary Fisher of Spanish mountain biking, my guide Antonio who has been biking in the Pyrenees since the early 80’s! The weather seems to have gone crazy this year and, as you can probably tell from the photo above, and there was some rather unseasonable snow to contend with. We had to change around some trails but everything went well, with some ace snow riding and a couple of trudges through knee-deep snow to reach the summits! In summary we were 7 people in total, rode for 6 days with around 10,000m descending and probably around 1500m climbing, over indulged on both local drinks and food, broke my van, learned some new skills and rode some of the best mountain bike trails you can ride. Read on for the Mountain Bike Holiday Report from our Great Rock Skills Week.
First Day of the Mountain Bike Holiday
To start our holiday we had a bit of a long drive, around 3 hours, to take us down to a little area we call Spanish Utah. Spanish Utah is a mountain bike paradise, hardly known but offering incredible biking in a desert environment which is shaped by the winds. It rains here around five times each year and in summer it’s too hot for us to enjoy but it should be perfect at this time of the year. We were met at our hotel by a local rider and friend, Pepe, to take us to eat in his favourite restaurant. And eat we did. We ate an entire farm in fact; rabbit, lamb, snails, beef, pig, sausages and lots more all washed down by a lovely local wine. Of course the local wine needed washing down as well so we ended up dancing (ahem.. Ed!) until late in the night, fueled by G&T’s. The next morning the skies looked threatening and we had some unusual rain predicted. The ground on our usual trail is impassable in the wet and we have an alternative trail in case of rain but we decided it was unlikely and pressed on. The trails are amazing but after around a couple of hours we saw the rain coming and decided to turn around. We watched as the dry, dusty singletrack literally melted in front of our eyes and we only just made it back to the van before the trails became impossible to ride on! What a pity but we got away with it.

Mountain Biking Day 2: More Snow and Some Technical Trails!

Snow? Seriously? Yeah, the Spanish weather gods really dropped a huge turd on us today in the shape of around 10cm of unwanted, white, snow. OK, maybe I am over reacting a bit but it was really frustrating to have to change our plans again. We had planned a morning of fast and flowy uplift on some stunning 800m descents but a quick check of the uplift road told us that wouldn’t be possible. We had to make a change of plans and luckily between Antonio and myself we have hundreds of options. We ran today with four uplifts in the van, a couple of climbs on the bike, and a few big descents. The big thing about today was the variety of the trails, ranging from fast and flowy, to really fast and flowy with some really techy stuff thrown in between. At the end of the day we arrived at a little hostel we use, in a half abandoned village in the middle of nowhere. Some of the guys chose to stay there for beers while Ed, Michel, Antonio and I opted for one more descent on one of the more technical trails we have. It was superb! That night we spend in front of the fire, drinking beer and wine and eating some superb “post ride” food! The guys who rebuilt our hostal have lived here since the 70’s, with 20 years without a road and any sort of communication or mod cons. They live from the land and run horse tours all around the world. It is always fascinating sitting talking to them in front of the fire and is one of my favourite parts of any trip.

Mountain Biking Day 3: Uplifted Trails and A Lack of Snow!

After a typically great breakfast in our accommodation we drove for around an hour to the top of the mountain which stands above our next destination, where there are several big descents to the village below. We spend the day shuttling these descents until we ran out of light. The trails we chose to ride are all very different. The first trail is a sinuous ribbon of switchbacks running down a ridge with big views of the Pyrenees. The second is a contour singletrack running through the trees and the third is a twisty, rocky blast through old villages which Ed christened “Muchas Rocas”. Each descent is between 600m and 800m in height and between 5km and 10km in length and it was really telling that each person had their own favourite. I think we manage 4 runs, giving just under 3000m of drop, over 20km of pure downhill, and left everyone tired and ready for a beer that night! The accommodation isn’t shabby where we stay, with big views out the windows and surrounded by a lovely medieval town. That night we took a short walk down to the lower, newer town where we ate meat roasted before our eyes on an open fire, washed down with a local red wine.

Mountain Biking Day 4: Riding from Winter into Summer!

Today we took a big 4×4 uplift up into the snow. Right up into the snow as it happened, to the point where the bus would go no further! We started off riding stunning contour singletrack in the snow and through the day descended until we were riding in a beautiful summer evening. There was over 22km of perfect singletrack, a huge meal of snails, roast leeks/spring onions (a local speciality), lamb, rabbit, wine, longaniza (a local sausage) and many more things which my over full brain failed to record. Nobody crashed but I came close to dying, over turning on a hip jump and landing facing straight into a canyon! A great day. I think that the sequence of pictures tell the story of today best!

Mountain Bike Holiday Day 5: A Short Uplifted Day!

Today we had to drive back to the coast and everyone was a little bit tired so we decided to do a shorter day of uplifted riding and then head back. We did a couple of runs of a fantastic trail, with about 750m of dropping, starting fast and a bit techy in the woods but soon exploding out of the tree cover onto an open, loose contour trail with good exposure and switchbacks. The last section was like a green run at a UK trail center but a bit faster, with big banked corners and Endor-fast straights through the trees. We also sneaked in a shorter, 250m descent which is one of my personal favourite trails ever; super flowy with the most perfect corners nature has ever produced. We finished riding around 2pm and started heading back to the coast. After we had narrowly avoided death-by-Phil’s-flip-flops we noticed a bit of a funny noise coming from the van in 1st gear… it sounded like something slipping and we just assumed it was a belt. As we arrived at the coast we noticed the noise a lot more strongly, and then in 2nd gear too. We dropped the guests off and headed straight to the garage, by which time the van was barely moving and making a horrible noise in 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears. The verdict: gearbox screwed and the van wasn’t going anywhere for a few weeks. Big sad face. Time to start searching for another van.

Last Day of Our Mountain Bike Holiday: San Sebastian and Pintxos.

Today I left Ed and my guide Antonio to do the guiding duties while I drove around trying to borrow or rent a van for the next week’s holiday. I succeeded, and even ended up buying another van, just in case! Ed rode the guys along the coast, with a bit of uplft, and into San Sebastian where they pigged out on the local pintxos and wine. I was gutted to miss it.
Thanks to everyone for making this week a lot of fun. I’m sure my liver will recover eventually! As I said to you already I’m very sorry about my van and I hope it in no way impacted on your holiday. I know you said it didn’t but if, after further thought, you feel that it did then we will make it up to you on a future trip.

Tags: ,

The comments are closed

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