Singletrack Magazine Issue 118: No Mercy In The Mountains

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Backcountry Tour of the Pyrenees?  You can’t handle the backcountry tour of the Pyrenees! Words & Photography CHIPPS It took less than a hundred metres of gravity-assisted descending for my brand new rear tyre to die, to give up its air as it gushed sealant over my head and quickly sat the rim ungraciously down on the ground. It was the first morning of the first day of my ‘end of the season’ holiday in the mountains and I was already beginning to suspect that I was in for a hard week. The slash to my tyre, ironically next to the ‘Reinforced’ logo on it, was unpluggable, so I banged a tube in, while marvelling at how viciously sharp the rocks were on this mountain top. And we’d not even started our descent. I had simply ridden over a smooth meadow, dotted with small rocks. If this was a taste of the week to come, then I was in trouble.  In theory, this trip had all the ingredients of the perfect week off. By mid-October, you’d hope to be in great shape, having spent the summer riding bikes, honing your trail skills, becoming one with your bike and fully dialled into the shock and tyre pressures that work for you.  As it was, the three of us arrived at Barcelona Airport worn out from a year of ‘too much going on’. Even the first morning hit us hard, as an overnight water stoppage at our hotel had turned the tap...

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