For thou­sands of years, Span­ish farm­ers moved their live­stock from val­ley farms to graze in the high Pyre­nees Moun­tains for the sum­mer months. This move­ment cre­at­ed hun­dreds of incred­i­ble live­stock trails, now redis­cov­ered and uplift­ed by local moun­tain bik­ers in search of adven­ture. This unique his­to­ry of Spain has helped cre­ate a vibrant moun­tain bike scene you need to experience.

The trails criss­cross over mil­lion-year-old sea beds, across wine-rich regions, through aban­doned mid­dle-age vil­lages and along rocky foothills, before meet­ing the rugged Pyre­nees moun­tains — the nat­ur­al bor­der between Spain and France. The ter­rain offers up the per­fect ingre­di­ents for an awe-inspir­ing moun­tain bike trip. Heli-drops, shut­tle runs and tech­ni­cal sin­gle­track rid­ing in the heart of the Pyre­nees is topped off with mouth-water­ing Span­ish cui­sine (‘tapas’ includ­ed), local wine pair­ings and fas­ci­nat­ing, rich cul­tur­al expe­ri­ences. Descend 4,000 ver­ti­cal metres in one day,  ped­al by 1,000-year-old cas­tles and take count­less pho­tographs — the mem­o­ries you’ll cre­ate on this ride will not be forgotten.

Is This Ride For You?

You are a skilled moun­tain bik­er who loves a good chal­lenge, long descents and a fair amount of ped­alling to keep you in shape! You’re fine break­ing a sweat if it means incred­i­ble views and get­ting off-the-beat­en-track where the chances of see­ing anoth­er moun­tain bik­er are slim. You thrive off epic descents with the help of a shut­tle van or heli­copter. YES! We said heli­copter! You’re com­fort­able rid­ing rocky ter­rain, includ­ing rock slabs, loose rocks, grip­py rock, slip­pery rocks — rock on! You’re com­fort­able rid­ing for up to 6 hours a day, for mul­ti­ple days. You have a sol­id, well-main­tained do-it-all trail bike (with rough­ly 130–160mm of trav­el, drop­per post and beefy tires. Rentals are also avail­able). You love eat­ing like roy­al­ty, try­ing new foods and learn­ing about the local cul­ture and his­to­ry of the des­ti­na­tion you’re visiting.

Itinerary

Day 1. Wel­come to Spain!

We’ll pick you up from our part­ner hotel in down­town Barcelona at 11:00 am or from the Barcelona air­port (BCN) at 12:00 pm.

Enjoy a 3‑hour scenic dri­ve from the bustling beach-side city of Barcelona to the small, his­toric town of Aín­sa, on the edge of the Pyre­nees moun­tains. We’ll pro­vide snacks and lunch for the road trip.

The small vil­lage of Aín­sa was the cap­i­tal of the old King­dom of Sobrarbe and was lat­er incor­po­rat­ed into the King­dom of Aragon in the 11th cen­tu­ry. The now mod­ern and vibrant tourist town con­sti­tutes a mag­nif­i­cent exam­ple of medieval archi­tec­ture. The his­toric quar­ter was declared a His­toric-Artis­tic Site in Spain and you will under­stand why when you’re dropped off in the beau­ti­ful town square. The hous­es are har­mo­nious­ly packed togeth­er with the back­drop of bell tow­er, cas­tle and church. The walls that sur­round­ed the town cen­turies ago remain almost intact today and the streets are filled with mon­u­ments that will trans­port you back to the Mid­dle Ages.

Upon arriv­ing in Aín­sa, you’ll meet your guides, review the week’s itin­er­ary, build your bikes and enjoy your first Span­ish din­ner together.

There will be an option to go for a quick ride close to town to get your legs spin­ning and warmed-up for the incred­i­ble week ahead!

Day 2.  Explor­ing Aínsa

Rise and shine!

Enjoy break­fast at the hotel, take an ear­ly morn­ing stroll through the his­toric medieval town of Aín­sa and then suit up to ride!

The vil­lage of Ain­sa dates back to the 11th Cen­tu­ry, and the trails that sur­round it are old trad­ing routes, care­ful­ly brought back to life by the local moun­tain bike community.

In 2015 and 2018, Aín­sa host­ed the Enduro World Series and you’re about to find out why — it’s home to incred­i­ble moun­tain bike trails and ter­rain. From the ‘bad­lands’ north of town to the rolling rocky hills south of town, you’re sure to fin­ish this day with a smile on your face. You’ll get your fair share of ped­alling today, but with the help of a cou­ple of shut­tle runs, you’ll be reward­ed for the climbs.

This morn­ing, we’ll shut­tle to the small town of San­ta Maria de Buil, a small vil­lage out­side of Aín­sa, home to only a hand­ful of peo­ple and an amaz­ing array of medieval archi­tec­ture. It’s a short grav­el road ride before we meet sin­gle­track. Loosen up your legs and take a deep breath, the trail will take us along a ridge above town, grant­i­ng us incred­i­ble views of the 12th cen­tu­ry San­ta Maria church and fort of Aín­sa in the distance. 

We’ll ped­al up to a look-out for a snack break, before descend­ing into the val­ley and back to town for lunch.

After lunch, we’ll shut­tle to the oth­er side of town and ride trails from the Enduro World Series in what’s known as the ‘bad­lands’ of Aín­sa. Here, the ter­rain is var­ied — from forest­ed sin­gle­track to rocky descents that will take us back down to the riv­er (Rio Cin­ca) — any­one up for a refresh­ing swim?

We’ll head back to the hotel and get ready for a very spe­cial din­ner and an amaz­ing intro­duc­tion to Span­ish cui­sine. Bring your appetite!

Day 3. Vil­lages and Vino

Good morn­ing Aínsa!

After break­fast at the hotel, we’ll spend anoth­er day explor­ing the incred­i­ble trails around Aínsa.

In the morn­ing, we’ll take our time on a ‘ped­al­ly’ ride stop­ping along the way to learn about the nat­ur­al and cul­tur­al his­to­ry of the area. After all, you’re moun­tain bik­ing on an ancient sea bed and a cou­ple trail­side stops to search for fos­sils are a must! 

In the after­noon, it’s a 25-minute shut­tle to an old aban­doned fort for a trail­side lunch before ped­alling through native Span­ish forests. We’ll stop to explore aban­doned vil­lages along the way and enjoy a snack at an impres­sive look-out.

Hold on! It’s a tech­ni­cal switch­back descents before the ter­rain turns into a grad­ual descent into a small rur­al town. The shut­tle will meet us here and we’ll head out for anoth­er shut­tle run. 

After the ride, we’ll enjoy a cold post-ride bev­er­age and cheers to anoth­er day on the trails! After the ride, cool off with a swim before get­ting a pri­vate tour of a win­ery (wine tast­ing and tapas includ­ed, of course)!

We’ll head back to the hotel and get ready for din­ner in Aínsa.

Day 4. EWS Trails, Aín­sa Classics

Rise and Shine!

It’s a 40-minute dri­ve to the trail­head near the small town of Mor­cat where we’ll ride a famous trail from the 2015 Enduro World Series.

We’ll ride through aban­doned vil­lages and chal­lenge our­selves on the rocky ter­rain. It’s most like­ly that we won’t see anoth­er soul out on these trails — besides the local farm ani­mals that wan­der free. Time to enjoy a trail­side lunch (Span­ish pael­la, perhaps?).

The ride will fin­ish back in the town of Aín­sa where we can cool off with a swim before head­ing to the hotel.

Din­ner is on your own tonight and the guides can make rec­om­men­da­tions on the best restau­rants in Aín­sa. Explore on your own or join oth­er Riders.

Day 5. Heli-Drops and Long Descents

We’ll enjoy break­fast at the hotel and then head to the small moun­tain town of Biel­sa (1‑hour dri­ve), close to the French bor­der and the gate­way to the beau­ti­ful Pyre­nees mountains. 

When we reach Biel­sa, we’ll do two shut­tle runs with the van and then get ready for our first heli-drop! Watch our shut­tle arrive on our offi­cial heli-pad (a farm­ers field, then load up and head to the peak of Pun­ta Suelza (3,000 metres/9,842 feet). To start off, it’s a short walk (5 ‑min­utes) with our  bikes  to the top of the peak where the ride begins. The trail offers up a vari­ety of ter­rain, from high-moun­tain tech­ni­cal descents to long grassy mead­ows mixed in with a few climbs. 

Today, the total descent from all rides is approx­i­mate­ly 4000 metres (13,120 feet)! Chal­lenge your­self, as the ter­rain around Biel­sa in the high moun­tains is rocky and rooty, and the views are incred­i­ble! There will be many pho­to ops.

After a full day of rid­ing, we’ll dri­ve to the small town of Benasque — the main town of the Benasque Val­ley — and check into our hotel in the heart of the Pyre­nees moun­tains. Benasque is sur­round­ed by some of the high­est peaks in Spain. You’ll get an amaz­ing view of those peaks on Day 8 dur­ing our sec­ond heli-drop.

Rest up, the adven­ture con­tin­ues tomorrow. 

Day 6. Choose Your Own Adventure

Today is a ‘choose your own adven­ture’ day!

If you’re ready for more amaz­ing descents, we’ll be doing two shut­tle runs — you can choose to join one or join both! If you’d like a day to relax off the bike, you can vis­it the local spa, go for a short hike or enjoy an espres­so in town.

At the end of the day, the group will recon­vene and set off on an adven­ture you won’t forget!

We’ll pack a small overnight bag and trans­fer to the Span­ish bor­der to explore the French Pyre­nees where we’ll sleep in an alpine camp. It’s a short 1‑hour hike to the camp and we’ll have the help of mules to car­ry our bikes and gear.

Hot show­ers, deli­cious home­made food and wine (of course!) will be avail­able for your enjoy­ment. You’ll sleep well in the fresh moun­tain air, far away from the cityscape.

Day 7. Drop­pin’ Into France and Heli-Drop Back Into Spain

Today, you’ll awake to amaz­ing views of snow-capped moun­tains and alpine lakes. After a hearty break­fast, we’ll pack up and hit the trails. Today, we’re drop­pin’ into France!

After an amaz­ing ride that fin­ish­es in Luchon, France where we’ll say a quick “Bon­jour” and “Bon Appetite” while enjoy­ing French cui­sine for lunch with a pic­turesque view of the Pyre­nees. After lunch, you will get true VIP ser­vice. Our heli­copter will pick us up near the restau­rant and trans­fer us to the Span­ish peak of Sier­ra Negra at 2,850 metres (9,678 feet). 

We’ll stop for pho­to ops and a trail­side snack before start­ing our sec­ond heli-drop descent. The trail starts off with impres­sive moun­tain views of the Pyre­nees, then drops into the for­est. We’ll end close to town and ped­al along the riv­er back to Benasque.

We’ll check  into our hotel in Benasque, enjoy a final din­ner togeth­er, share sto­ries and say “Salud”  to an amaz­ing adventure!

Day 8. Adios España

After break­fast, we offer a com­pli­men­ta­ry shut­tle back to Barcelona at 8:00 am. We will drop Rid­ers off at the Barcelona air­port (BCN) by 1:00 pm or pro­vide a drop-off to our part­ner hotel in Barcelona in the late afternoon.

Picture Yourself Here…

Book The Pyrenees and Beyond Now

Dates chosen: Sep. 10, 2020—Sep. 17, 2020
Skill Rating: Black Diamond
Fitness Rating: Black Diamond
Exit Booking
Skill Levels
Green Circle

Typically, green Rides are safe for beginners. Green Rides may have both avoidable and unavoidable obstacles. Trails are generally low grade, wide, consistent surface texture and have minimal features. You are likely to come across unavoidable obstacles 2-inches or shorter, which is small enough for mountain bike tires to simply roll over. More challenging than tarmac, but in general, a wonderful Ride for those riders new to mountain biking or looking for a casual experience.

Blue Square

In general, Blue trails are narrower than green trails, encounter unavoidable obstacles such as roots, rocks, and drops that are up to 8-inches tall. You will want to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of mountain biking including body positions, powerful braking, cornering, riding on varied terrain, steep sections and experience riding trails that requires line choice. Airtime is not mandatory, but you will find yourself on trails with alternate lines giving you the option.

Black Diamond

The Black Diamond Rides are  suitable for riders looking for that edge. Maybe it’s the edge of a drop, the edge of a cliff, or singletrack requiring focus and fast reactions developed from extensive experience riding “the edge”. You will find yourself on steep trails of varied surfaces. In the Pacific North West that could be slick roots and loam, in Nepal you will find exposed granite in the Mustang Valley and in Guatemala it maybe narrow stairways through cliffside villages. While airtime is rarely required, the ability to find the backside or clean a tabletop should be comfortable or in a state of progress. Obstacles on Black rides are likely to be outside the range of your bikes ability to cover your goofs with its awesome suspension and grip.

Double Black Diamond

A Double Black ride is for those that already know they are looking for a Double Black. It’s going to be very hard and require advanced bike handling skills. You will find yourself on trails with sections most non-riders would look at and say, “that’s totally nuts!”. You will know how to look at a line and contemplate where it will work and where it won’t. Drops of a couple feet should be comfortable and getting your bike off the ground should feel predictable and fun.

Fitness Levels
Green Circle

You should be ready to spend 2-4 hours per day on the bike. Mileage may be up to 30km/20 miles and elevation gain will be under 500m/1500feet. On e-MTB tours, numbers will be higher, however the approximate effort would be considered similar to a standard Green Circle ride. If you get on your bike once a week, you will be just fine. However, when preparing for a Ride, you will benefit from more rides and time in the saddle.

Blue Square

Blue should be considered a good deal more effort than our Green Rides.  You should be able to handle 3 to 5 hours in the saddle covering up to 45km/30miles and be able to pull off a big day of 1000m/3000feet of elevation gain. Managing fuel is important as well.  You should have a good understanding how your body responds to multiple days on the bike. We will help with positive coaching, a manageable pace and plenty of trailside snacks.

Black Diamond

A Black Fitness ride will test you. Aside from needing to be able to manage up to 6 hours on the bike, day after day, including distance up to 50km/30miles and elevation gains up to 1750m/5000feet of climbing, you will be adding extra challenges along the route like periods of hike-a-bike and the extra effort required by the whole body to safely dance with your bike over technical terrain. Generally, riders who are up for a Black Fitness ride, likely spend time on the bike a couple times each week.

Double Black Diamond

A Double Black will be for those with the strength and endurance to get to the top of anything they want and understand the term “turning the screw”. Distance could be quite high on some routes and elevation gain numbers could hit 2000m/6000 feet+ in a day. You are likely riding multiple days a week during the dry periods and have a trainer or belong to a gym for the rest of the year.