Join us on an adventurous Pyrenean journey through time, along mountain trails past the ruins of Roman forts, through dense forests and across high passes in the footsteps of Hannibal and his elephants, with regular visits to ancient inns in the Catalonian villages. The character of this six-day journey changes constantly. During the first few days, we explore the area around the “Mouli del Riu” guesthouse, and the high summits on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. Halfway through the week everything changes: from the severe summits to sandy Mediterranean beaches, from pine forests to cork oaks, from soft forest floors to the raw crags of the coast.
Timetravel through the region’s history
Catalonia is widely known for its proindependence movement. On the French side, the large majority see themselves as French, albeit with strong Catalonian roots that they are keen to celebrate. But just a few kilometres away in Spain there is a popular campaign for independence. In many places the regional flag is flown, as well as yellow ribbons symbolising the demand for the release of political prisoners, which activists attach to lampposts, buildings and even cliffs.
Almost everywhere in the region, behind every mountain and in the many gorges and valleys, you’ll find ancient ruins and forts. The importance of the area was already recognised back in Roman times. Churches were built within sight of each other, in order to be able to pass on warnings of invaders and help protect property from pillage — like in Lord of the Rings. When you stand on the very pass that Hannibal crossed with his elephants, you’ll find your gaze roaming from one Roman ruin to another. Have you ever stood in ancient ruts created by Roman war chariots, or even ridden a bike along them? Everything is possible.
Dinosaurs and other animals
But if that’s still not far enough back into the past for your taste, you might like to take a moment before the next spectacular descent to put your hand into a fossilised dinosaur footprint. Welcome to the Pyrenees. But should you find yourself momentarily with nothing historic to discover, Ian, our guide from Altitude Adventure MTB will have something to amaze you from his encyclopaedic knowledge of the region. Although a pinch of caution is recommended, before accepting the veracity of each and every one of his stories. For example, there’s the tale of the Ewok droppings found in the area … (more on this in our blog)
In the evenings we sit with Ian and his wife Angela together at the table and enjoy the internationallythemed, homemade food. The accommodation is “chambres et table d’hôtes”: a classically French way of running a guesthouse, where the proprietors eat together with their guests each evening. And with these two, this process is always an adventure. The stories are spectacular, the way they are told is beyond vivid, and you can tell from every detail around the building that the two of them truly love what they have created here.
The whole valley is filled with hot springs. If you need to cool off, take a shower. But when you would prefer to relax in a hot spring with a cold beer, this week gives you the chance to do exactly that. Depending on the weather and how the week develops, we either go on a natural spa excursion with the minivan after a day’s ride or simply find ourselves rolling past a hot spring, dismounting and jumping in.
- Day 1: Transfer from Barcelona airport to the hotel, Mouli del Riu in St. Pierre del Forcats incl. coffee break, approx. 2:30 - 3 hours. Welcome and briefing about the upcoming week by your hosts, Angela and Ian. Bike setup and dinner.
- Day 2: Day ride starting from the hotel with several minibus uplifts to warum up.
- Day 3: High mountainess trail adventure at La Molina (2.560 m), with shuttle/lift support. Descent over 15 km and 2.000 m Singletrack.
- Day 4: Dinosaur trails in Spain. Three amazing singletracks and visiting the fossilised dinosaur footprints.
- Day 5: Start of „Summit to Sea“ trip from the hotel. Overnight stay in another hotel in Prades. Varying singletracks all day long - earthy, flowing, rocky and sometimes technical.
- Day 6: Second day of your trip to the sea including several shuttle uplifts. Amazing trails alongside a former railway from the mountains down to the valley. Overnight stay in Ceret, time to browse through the charming town with dinner in a typical local restaurant.
- Day 7: Singletracks to the sandy beaches. Several shuttle uplifts and one last coffee with great view back into the high mountains of the Pyrenees before descending to the beach, with pizza and beer already waiting for you. Transfer back to the Mouli.
- Day 8: Airport transfer with Coffee break.
Changes may be influenced by multiple factors such as group riding abilities, weather conditions or the condition of the trails.
- 5 nights accommodation including halfboard at Mouli del Riu in St. Pierre del Forcats
- 2 nights accommodation including in hotels along the route to the sea, including halfboard
- 6 lunch meals
- Qualified bike guide(s) from Altitude Adventure MTB for six days
- All shuttles services
- Airport transfer from/to Barcelona - please mind the information in "Getting there"
- Baggage transfer
- Lifttickets if necessary
- Personal travel to/from Barcelona airport
- Single supplement € 200,-
The trails couldn’t be more varied. High mountain terrain, flowing, earthy forest paths, slick exposed limestone… We’ll generally be riding at S2 level throughout the week, with occasional sections that are a little more challenging: tree roots and/or rocky sections with high steps, tight bends and loose surfaces. Solid riding skills are therefore a pre-requisite for fun and safety on these routes. You’ll need to have a taste for technically challenging descents, and no fear of steep sections. A lot of the bends are very tight — and although wheelup switchback turns are not absolutely necessary, you’ll need good balance and line-choosing ability to be able to ride here efficiently and not have to be frequently dismounting.
You can expect up to 1.200 metres of climb each day; the amount of descent will be significantly greater than this, thanks to the minivan. On some days it will be necessary to push or carry your bike for up to 30 minutes or so. The tempo, both uphill and downhill, will be moderate and adjusted to suit the group.
Arrival via Barcelona airport. Because it’s only possible to provide one transfer from Barcelona airport (the journey takes around three hours), your flight will need to be scheduled to land by at least 1pm. Similarly, on departure day we’ll be leaving at around 6am; you should ensure that your flight takes off no earlier than 11am. Please ensure that your travel plans fit with this. If you’ve got any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
- Wellmaintained mountainbike: Enduro/All-Mountain full suspension with at least 140 mm suspension travel
- MTBspecific protective clothing (helmet, eyewear, gloves, knee protectors, other body protectors if available)
- Waterproof gear and multiple changes of clothing
- Rucksack for day rides (drinks bottle, spare inner tube, pump, energy bars, lights for riding on the road, …)
- Appropriate and sufficient spare parts.
Our guide Ian has a lot of tools and spare parts in his own garage. There are also rental bikes available (Scott Genius), let us know if you travel with your own bike or not.
A detailed kit list will be provided after booking.
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Unless otherwise stated, all our trips need to be booked at least two weeks before the day of departure. At that point it will be ascertained whether the minimum number of participants has been reached and the trip is able to take place.