The Trans-Nomad Experience is new this year. What is it all about? How extreme are the stages? Is it all adrenaline, or is there more adventure? Read on and find out.
This year basqueMTB and our friends at Trans-Nomad, are jointly organising a non-competitive adventure using many Trans-Nomad stages. We will use a similar format to the race but with more uplift to make it more of a holiday. We have been getting some questions about this trip and how it relates to our holidays, especially our High Pyrenees. The answer is that the Trans-Nomad Experience goes a bit higher, getting a little bit more adventurous and a bit tougher physically. The big difference is the groups and how we will be guiding this trip, which will be different to how we run our other holidays. So let’s try and explain all that for you.
Each day we will be riding together on the climbs. You can choose your own speed but we will regroup at regular points. On the descents it will be different. On some stages a guide will go ahead to mark the key junctions and difficult sections of the trail. On other stages the guiding team will be following, offering support and medical back-up. Each evening we will provide people a track of the route, and at the start of each “stage” you will get a briefing to allow you to ride the descent without stopping. At the bottom of each stage we will regroup and set off for the next trail.
In the spirit of the race format we will be offering feed stations using local produce on route. There will also be drinks and snacks at the end of certain stages and at the end of the day. This is part of what makes the race special and is an important part of this holiday.
Part of the fun of any enduro stage race is the bigger group and the atmosphere. We will offer up to 25 places and use the full basqueMTB guiding team of 5 guides plus extra staff to run the feed stations and drive the uplift trucks. It is a big group effort and the atmosphere should be a big part of this experience.
Today we cross from Benasque to Bielsa, riding two mythical Pyrenean descents, Ibon de Plan and Cruz de la Guardia. First we have to get there though, and that means a 600m climb, with a bit of hiking. From there we have 1300m of descending, on amazing singletrack, all the way down to the valley floor. The upper part of this trail is loose and will be freshly prepared for our group by us before you arrive! Lunch will be a big BBQ, followed by another big uplift and another 1200m of descending. Hopefully we will arrive in time for a late dinner.
We start today with another big uplift followed by a short but intense hike. From here we ride the mythical Comodoto, a long and technical descent which takes us all the way back down to the valley over 1500m below. The start is exposed and intense and the trail just gets more flowy as you get lower down. After a nice outdoors lunch we will ride several uplifts and fill the afternoon with 3 or 4 stages of just about the best singletrack you can imagine. This is a long day but less intense, to prepare us for tomorrow.
Today we uplift to the French-Spanish border, up at 2400m, where we will ride and hike to reach a high pass at almost 2700m. This is the group’s first taste of the amazing black Pyrenees mountains. Small, flat stones provide a perfect surface for sliding the bike around as we drop off this exposed peak. In the morning we only drop 1100m, with a short uplift in between, and we finish at the Sinner’s Bridge, where they used to hang criminals apparently! Another brilliant lunch with local produce followed by an afternoon of big uplifts and fun, flowing descents to reach Benasque again.
Today we leave the Benasque Valley and cross to France and then to Cataluña. The first climb is a 700m push which is very easy, with amazing views to Aneto, the highest mountain in the Pyrenees to the south. We reach an impossible stunning pass, at 2500m, looking down to Luchon and the crazy French mountains where we will stop to get our breaths back. From here we have a 1500m descent down to Val d´Aran where there will be some hot food and cold drinks waiting for us. The afternoon will be filled with shuttles to enjoy the world class enduro trails in this valley before a visit to a local beer maker to sample beer and local produce.
The last day is a big one. We will have a long uplift to a high mountain lake and from here we will have an 800m climb, mostly hiking and pushing, to reach a very high pass, just below 3000m. The views here are spectacular as you look out over to the south side of Aneto, which we saw yesterday from the north. From here we work our way along a high ridge, made up of tiny black stones which offer the perfect blend of grip and drift. Finally we drop into the main descent, dropping 2100m down to the valley below. There we will offer some more uplifts for those who are still capable, while the rest of the group enjoy a cold drink, ready for the party that evening.
For those of you who want to ride more uplifts we can ride the amazing Gallinero, Magic Line, Pianadona and many, many more perfect descents until you are ready to finish the day with a cold drink and a big gathering.
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