How far away are they?

markblogAfter a day of mucho rainio and excellentio trailsio yesterday on the hills above Irun…….imagine technical, rocky Lakeland trails and you’ll have a good idea of the type of riding we were doing, we were glad to waken up to normal service of blue skies and rarely seen in Blighty big shiney disc in the sky. Today’s plan was to combine a photo shoot for the mag with a film shoot for the latest hotly anticipated film from Mark Huskisson (he of Home and Downhill Racer Guide fame) of Reset Films called Find. (We had suggested “Away” as a possible title in the vain hope of boosting sales as folk search for “special interest” DVDs featuring Isla Fisher and Kylie’s little sister but the look of withering disdain on Geordie Mark’s face said it all really.

Joining us for the day was Doug’s girlfriend Amaia who was chauffeur, producer and ¬†chef for our motley crew and Rowan Sorrell who was to give us a lesson in riding at warp speed. Driving to the top of a hill on the Spanish side of the border, we were treated to stunning views and some special trails. Doug’s months of route finding were once again paying big dividends as we made our way down one of his more downhill oriented trails. Rocky chutes with open views were quickly supplemented by super fast and flowing singletrack down fern lines trails bringing us onto leaf laden trails under a canopy of mature deciduous forest. If the trails were fast, our progress was slow as we stopped to take photos and watch in awe as Rowan jumped, pumped and generally flew down the trail at Mach 2. It took us the best part of two hours to reach the Ciderea conveniently situated at the bottom of the mountain for a very welcome bocaidillo and cidre break.

Post feed, Doug took us back to the trails where we had ridden yesterday and the views we had been promised came into sharp relief. A brief hike to the top of the mountain and a bit of patience resulted on some great photos and film of the rest of the days riding, the golden hour light showing Basque trails off at their finest. What they lacked in technicality, they made up for in speed and flow. The last two days had been terrific but today was a definite highlight. Riding lines repeatedly was anything but a chore, the warm evening breeze making for a welcome change from the vagaries of a summer of riding back home. ¬†With the sun almost setting, Mark, Rowan and I headed down one of Doug’s favourite trails – nine and a half days and the way of the pear. The initial rocky section was quickly supplemented by a twisting ribbon of singletrack interspersed with encroaching ferns and gorse bushes to keep us on our toes. It wasn’t until when we stopped after what felt like five minutes and looked back up the trail that we realised that we had dropped several kilometres and the best part of a thousand feet as Doug and Geordie Mark appeared as tiny specs high on the hillside above. As an end to the day, it was to prove to be a terrific ride made all the sweeter by the banquet which Amaia prepared for us when we got back to base. A truly exceptional day meaning tomorrow will have to go some way to beat it.