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Trail > September and the Last Guide of the 2010 Holiday Season

Our last holiday makers left on the 1st of October and (barring any last minute bookings) we have officially ended our second Spanish (and occasionally French) mountain biking season, meaning no more guiding until 2011. What a season it has been! I wanted to take the time to write a summary of the season and thank everyone who made it such a great year. It’s also an excuse to put up some of the pictures I took during September.
Our first big step forward for 2010 was the purchase of the new BasqueMTB van, which swallows 9 people and 9 bikes and gives us a lot more flexibility for holidays. I returned back to Scotland for Christmas with my parents while Amaia sorted out the details on our van and I returned in January to my new ride! We have spent most of the season discussing how we are going to decorate the outside of the van, and by the time we finally decided we were too busy to put it into the garage to get the stickers done! Look out for a post early 2011 with the new van design.
Returning to Spain at the end of January was great after spending 4 weeks in a frozen (but beautiful) Scotland and it was great to be riding in short sleeves again! Winter is also prime trail finding season because there is less vegetation, meaning the trails are easier to spot, and we got right down to putting some new trails in the guiding bank. They came thick and fast, “The Blue Pill“, “The Hives“, “Rocky Hell Road“, “Etch-a-Sketch“, “Karrikas“, “Cross the Streams“, “Cassius Clay“, “Broken Bridges“, “The Canal Epic” etc etc. It’s hard to believe but I think we doubled our trail count in a few months. We have also added some new trails during September and thanks to everyone who I tested them out on and gave me feedback. We now have “Stinky Goat Track“, “The Joshua Tree“, “Las Minas” and a few more that we haven’t named yet!
So along came the 21st of March and our first holidays. We were kept ticking over in March, April and May but it was June before we were busy. June also saw our first return customers (a continuing theme), with Dave returning and bringing his friends. What a week we had, there were floods all over Spain and people were dying in the Pyrenees! It was so wet, and although we managed to search out dryer places to bike we had a couple of cold, wet days. What a pity. Guys, you didn’t see the best of the place and the offer still stands for a cut price week next season!
The next week we were back to normal Spanish service and the sun shone and the trails quickly dried out! We had a group out from Glasgow and it was all suntan cream and cold beers. The season really continued from there with July being fully booked, with some more returning customers and a great week with a family of six! They have already booked 2 weeks in 2011 which is fantastic and we are looking forward to it already. July also saw our first major injury. We have had a lot of cuts and bruises and even a sprained ankle but this was different with a broken leg. I have already written about it so won’t dwell on it apart from saying hoping that Lynne makes a full recovery and gets back on her bike soon. I also won’t share the pictures that I was sent of the scars after her operation!
August was a bit quieter, although we were kept ticking over. We had another unwanted first when we had to turn away a couple of very last minute bookings because it was impossible to find accommodation. The climate here is fantastic in August so a lot of people come from Spain and France for holidays, this year they came in record numbers meaning our accommodations booked up weeks in advance. If anyone is interested in an August holiday for 2011 please give us as much notice as possible so we can get you the best possible accommodation. We took the time in August to take a break together and did some exploring in the Pyrenees, more of that in a later blog…
So then we worked pretty solidly from the last part of August until the 1st of October, guiding for 5 weeks in a row. That was my longest continuous period of guiding and I worked out that I rode about 30,000m of vertical over that time and about 500km horizontally. That’s including me riding up to get the van at the end of the day (and sometimes at lunchtime too) so our guests did 30km of descending and around 20km of climbing over that time! The great news is that I am feeling pretty fresh, there wasn’t a day when it felt like chore to go riding, and indeed I plan to get out for some DH with some friends this evening!
Now it’s the end of the season. It’s a strange feeling. I’m a bit sad that I won’t be guiding until March 2011 but it will be nice to get out and do some riding with friends; people I haven’t had time to see over the last few months. I also intend to get to the local freeride spots with some local French guys, something that I haven’t had time to do and also I consider it a bit risky during the main season. There is also a big trip to the Spanish Pyrenees at the end of the month, exploring an area where we hope to offer some holidays from October – March. It’s a big area with lots of scope for technical big mountain days and is in the south facing Pyrenees so is warmer during winter, (although too hot in summer!). If anyone is interested in this then we will be offering holidays in early 2011 so give me a shout to register your interest.
All that remains is to say thanks to everyone who has made this season all that it was, most importantly that is everyone who has visited BasqueMTB, I’ve really enjoyed meeting all of you and showing you around our hills and towns. I’d also like to thank all the local people who have helped, shown me trails or kept me company while I explore. Also all the people who have helped me get the word out about BasqueMTB, lent a hand or offered advice. Very much appreciated, thanks!

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