• This topic has 959 replies, 44 voices, and was last updated 5 days ago by myti.
Viewing 40 posts - 921 through 960 (of 960 total)
  • Buying and renovating a rural property on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees
  • Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    20 minutes before the first riders arrived, the rain came in from the west and one of the team drivers I was talking to told me that the riders were already soaked!

    When the break passed us, not one of them took a bottle or a musset. When the bunch arrived it was a different story. Aside from me, there were only two other people watching the race at the feed point, so I managed to pick up a few goodies for myself . . . .

    18 Bottles and 6 Mussets, a dozen gels and assorted bits of food!

    I came away happy . . . .

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    In the last fortnight I’ve spent 50% of my waking time working, 30% of the time riding and 20% of the time either being at, or watching on TV, La Vuelta 2020!

    On Sunday I bumped into people on the road at La Vuelta who would be interested in staying with us and road riding the same roads that La Vuelta followed. Having coffee on the terrace at Hotel Sanchez on Wednesday morning I was approached by a lady from Holland who organises adventure holidays to this area and wants me too be her contact point for organising Kayaking, Canyoning and of course Mountain Bike Riding. Apparently Holland “has no mountains” so they would be interested in cross-country riding – which makes things easier for me. And then yesterday a local lady, who I worked with back in the summer, called me about English lessons for her son and reminded me that when we are up and running I said we would be running “Speak English Only” holiday clubs for local youngsters whose parents are at work……

    On top of that, Ainsa Council, which covers (amongst other things) the town of Ainsa, the Zona Zero MTB Trails and the village of Guaso, where our Project is, curently has a dozen improvement projects on the go.

    The future looks promising……….

    Premier Icon MrOvershoot
    Full Member

    spekkie

    The future looks promising……….

    Great to hear, got to keep this story going 🙂

    Premier Icon cvilla
    Free Member

    For reference which is the best bottle/bidon? Hopefully get over there one year for a tour and a watch, not sure which year…

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    “For reference which is the best bottle/bidon?”

    The Movistar, Ineos, Caja Rural, Bahrain and Trek Segafredo bottles are all the same “model” of bottle – “Elite 550ml/made in Italy”. Very light, but it’s because their walls are very thin. I guess these are “one-off use” bottles!

    NTT, Mitchelton Scott, Astana, Quick Step and Jumbo are all the same model and are much sturdier with easier to remove lids. Also 550ml and made by Tacx.

    The best IMO though are the Bora Hansgrohe bottles – 550ml and made by Specialized USA. I picked up three, they are tough and they have lid with a bit of a “grip” on them.

    The best bottle of the lot, also a Bora Hansgrohe bottle, is a slightly taller “insulated” bottle. 600ml and made by Specialized USA. Obvs it weighs that bit more and almost cetainly won’t fit on my MTB frame!

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    “MrOvershoot

    spekkie

    The future looks promising……….

    Great to hear, got to keep this story going”

    Cheers man! We’re trying to….

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    Having lived in the UK for so long, between stints in SA, I still can’t get over how good the “Northern Hemisphere” weather is here right through November and usually up until Christmas.

    From yesterday mornings ride and then yesterday afternoons walk……. the Pena Monenesa and the Rio Ara 🙂

    Premier Icon Rona
    Full Member

    Hello spekkie – saw you on another thread which reminded me to come by to say thanks for this thread – only joined in a few pages back and have really enjoyed it – will catch up when time allows. 🙂

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    Thanks Rona – glad you’re enjoying it. I’m enjoying writing it.

    Premier Icon markgraylish
    Free Member

    👍
    Me too…I had hoped to holiday in the Pyrenees this year. Obviously, that didn’t happen but maybe 2021 or 2022…

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    One day Mark!

    Premier Icon bob_summers
    Full Member

    I know that trail in the photos hehe! Was hoping for another jaunt up to Ainsa before the end of the year but latest restrictions have put the brakes on.

    You are very lucky having that on the doorstep Spekkie. Not sure about there but here in País Vasco we’re limited to doing exercise in ‘municipios colindantes’, in other words you can cross one municipal boundary but not two. Can’t drive to do sport either, nt that I tend to. So route planning now is quite the art, have got my old paper IGN maps out and highlighted the boundaries; can ride/run my favourite local mountain if I cross the harbour by boat, but not by road as it goes through another district!

    Premier Icon pistonbroke
    Free Member

    Same restrictions here in Cataluña, we live about 15km inland so we can get to the beach without breaking the 2 termes rule as well as riding the 80km mountain loop that I put together when training for the Badlands race. Bet no-one thought we’d be back to poring over maps working out village boundaries in 2020 when they were initially drawn up years ago.

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    Hey Bob!

    Currently we have no restrictions here as far as I know. The only restriction today is that it’s pouring down with rain. My Scottish friends tell me it’s just as well I don’t live where they live or I’d never go out!

    There’s no need for and real route planning here – as you say, there are just so many routes on our doorstep. I’d make myself aware of the municipal boundaries if it came to it, but for the moment it’s business as usual.

    One of these days you’ll make it over this way and we’ll grab a beer and a ride.

    Premier Icon i_like_food
    Full Member

    This thread is great, perfect “dream fertilizer”! Thanks @spekkie.

    Premier Icon bob_summers
    Full Member

    Aye @spekkie hopefully not long and I’ll see you in L’abrevedero!

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    You’re welcome @i_like. Glad you’re enjoying it!

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    Yesterday I did part of Zona Zero Route 15 (ZZ-015) which is five minutes down the road from Boltaña town.

    A 40 minute climb on a really nice gravel track followed by a 12 minute descent on a combination of farm trail / jeep track / goodness knows what.

    The trail goes up to the village of Silves, which actually consists of two parts – the upper and the lower village (Silves Alto and Silves Bajo). The village is semi-inhabited. The houses will all have been “in the family” for ever and I’m not certain but I believe that the houses that are occupied are actually holiday places and the families actually live elsewhere. The village sits at about 900m and the views are, as usual, stunning.

    It’s surprising how quickly you find youself way up above the road you were just on!

    Getting some altitude now . . . . .

    Plenty signs . . . .

    And some abandoned houses . . . . .

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    This little loop will be my go-to ride during the dry winter months. A nice workout but never too far from home.

    Premier Icon mogrim
    Full Member

    Typical Spanish – there’s a signpost to the bar 😀

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    A sunny Autumn afternoon riding through the Castle grounds up in Ainsa Old Town.

    Normally there would have been loads of people enjoying the day 🙁

    #Covid19 #2020

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    There was heavy rain up in the mountains for 24 hours over the weekend…..

    It’s difficult to imagine this is one of our swimming spots in the Summer time!

    Thankfully the sun came back the next day and normal service was resumed 🙂

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    On Tuesday we did a little walk with some friends who live locally up to the “Samitier Castle” – a castle ruin perched on the edge of a rather long drop!

    Nearly there . . . . .

    The views from the top are stunning and it’s not a difficult place to get to. I’d recommend it to visitors.

    You can just see the tower of the church in the middle of the dam. The village of Mediano was lost when they flooded the valley. In dry season you can walk out to that church, in wet season only the top 2 meters of the tower are showing!

    The river that joins the Mediano and El Grado Dams….

    Some new XC trail to add to my existing routes . . . .

    It’s a great little trip, 20 mins from home to the village of Samitier and not nearly as hard to get up to the castle as you’d think. The views and the colours are stunning. We enjoyed it!

    Premier Icon myti
    Free Member

    Loving seeing these pics. My favourite memories of the area are swimming and sunbathing in the various river gorges when it was scourching hot.

    Premier Icon Rona
    Full Member

    Gorgeous pics! 😃

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    @myti – we do it all the time. The rivers are clean and basically anywhere where you can “get to the water” you can swim. It’s fantastic.

    @Rona – thanks. Lots of photo ops here!

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    When I left SA to come to Spain, I came here via the UK. Flew to London, stayed in the UK for a couple of weeks and then drove down through France to northern Spain.

    We didn’t have a car lined up when I got to the UK but my son had been thinking about changing his car at the time, so I bought his car from him and he got himself a replacment.

    It was a great car. Comfortable and spacious – I was able to fill his/my car with some of the stuff I had stored in the UK and drive it down here without any issues.

    Inevitably “the paperwork” became a problem.

    Rules & Regs regarding MOT’ing/Taxing/Insuring the car became prohibative

    To make the car fully road-legal here in Spain would have been expensive – and in the end the steering wheel would still have been on the wrong side of the car! We opted to get ourselves a cheap Spanish car and use the UK car, without papers, to continue driving around on Ramon the freindly farmers farm. It was perfect for that – it handled the dirt tracks fine, you could fill it with tools and stuff. Perfect.

    It turns out that you are not alowed to drive a vehicle here without valid documentation – not even on your own private ground. We decided to leave the car out of the way of everyone in the corner of the field/yard where Ramon keeps his trailers and tractor attachments. He was happy with that and the car sat there for a few months with me using it just to keep tools inside but then we found out that you are not allowed to have an old car sitting on your private land doing nothing without valid documentation!

    I thought people were joking when they first told me this, but apparently it’s true. And if you look around here you will see that no one anywhere, not in the villages and not in the towns, has an old scrap car rotting away in their garden or on their land.

    We couldn’t tow an undocumented car to the scrap yard – but the local scrapyard came and fetched it from us . . . . it was a bit sad seeing a perfectly good car that had served us so well be taken away but there you go.

    Premier Icon MrOvershoot
    Full Member

    I’m assuming that’s a 626 Estate?

    Shame to scrap it but local rules are rules.
    I have a whole load of pictures from Ainsa & Boltana in 1977 while I was my fathers geological mapping assistant, I probably said before but I would love to visit the area again and help you in your endeavour.

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    @MrO – yeah – a 626. Lovely car. Smooth as anything and big inside.

    I’d love to see your old pics sometime.

    Plymouth Uni send a group of 70 odd geology students here every year (not this year obvs) to study the Geology of the area. It is very impressive and very easy to access.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    That castle on the cliff – stunning!

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    @matt….. It is – and really easy to get to. 🙂

    Premier Icon MrOvershoot
    Full Member

    spekkie
    Free Member

    @MrO – yeah – a 626. Lovely car. Smooth as anything and big inside.

    I’d love to see your old pics sometime.

    Plymouth Uni send a group of 70 odd geology students here every year (not this year obvs) to study the Geology of the area. It is very impressive and very easy to access.

    That is partially down to my father as I went with him on the first year he took a small group of students from Bristol Uni. During the 80’s one of his PhD students was Iain Stewart yes him that was on the TV. He is now Professor of Geology at Plymouth Uni and continues to use the area as a good place for studies.

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    I know they’ve been coming here for nearly 30 years . . . so it all sounds right.

    They moved this Septembers trip back to next May. Let’s see if it happens. If it does, I’ll look out for Iain and let you know!

    Premier Icon Naranjada
    Free Member

    Hi Spekkie,

    Hope you don’t mind a couple of questions. I was in L’Ainsa Sept-Oct 2018 just before the EWS race, camped down at Camping Pena Montanesa and rode many of the excellent ZZ trails,

    I really want to return for a couple of weeks or so, perhaps as early as Feb-Mar next year. I know I can get weather averages for that time of year online in various places, but I was wondering if some local knowledge might be more useful. I can see that Feb isn’t a wet month by north west UK standards so that seems good, and it’s not too cold either, but is there any snow lying around at an altitude likely to affect the trails much? And what about the trails that cross or follow riverbeds, are they a problem at that time of year?

    I appreciate that you might not know, but I thought I’d ask anyway.

    Cheers,
    Iain

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    Hi Iain – happy to help if I can.

    This year back in Feb the weather was amazing. I was riding in summer kit plus a sleeveless vest all month. The first two weeks of March got a bit colder and then as we went into lockdown the weather turned wet and stayed that way all the way through April. May was better and summer was hot.

    Re the snow – looking at some of my photos there was snow down to maybe 1500m in Feb/Mar – so some of the alpine trails will have snow. Nothing down at town level though. Of course it can still snow in March or April so anything is possible…..

    Premier Icon Tracey
    Full Member

    We did an amazing days ride when the EWS was on whilst Abigale was practicing. I remember riding along a cliff top and a techy DH down the side of a castle in the morning just before we got a bit lost. Had a big climb after lunch to get to some of the EWS stuff before some great singletrack back to the river.
    Can’t wait to get back

    Premier Icon Naranjada
    Free Member

    Great, thanks for the reply. Sounds like the weather has a fair chance of being kind, hopefully Covid will be more under control by then and we’ll all have a bit more freedom.

    Premier Icon spekkie
    Free Member

    @Tracey – You were on ZZ Route 4. The views from the top ridge are stunning!

    @Naranjada – fingers crossed! I’ll let you know what’s happening this side as we go….

    Premier Icon Tracey
    Full Member

    All the views were stunning and the trails were top class. The intention was to come back out in September next year but not sure what we will be able to do.

    Premier Icon myti
    Free Member

    We did that trail this summer @Tracey. It’s a belter and I have a photo in that same spot! Found the techy climbs the hardest part of the route. Can’t wait to get back and ride some more of those trails.

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