We started relatively high in the hills of the Aiako Harria National Park, at one point up to about 410m before dropping down over the course of the next 9 miles to finish for lunch in Ugaldetxo at just 20m above sea level. In the afternoon, the BasqueMTB crew took us back up to about 500m and once again we returned close to sea level, this time near Irun.
The terrain around the northern end of the Spanish/French border was steeper, rockier and rootier than the first couple of days. The risk of coming off onto boulders or big lumps of rock is too high a jeopardy for me (for good reasons well known to the Moles) and so today I was slower and more cautious and pushed down the more ‘challenging’ sections.
For me, today was not as much fun, but still good to push yourself out of the comfort zone and enough good riding for a positive day overall.
One sketchy section saw the Prof tackle it with bravado and limited control with Brian keeping it neat – Elliot and I thought we were taking the safer option but the climb down was probably just as sketchy as the Profs descent (OK, not that sketchy).
Comedy was provided by Eñaut’s descriptions of the trail ahead as he has not really fully grasped left and right in English and so we learnt to follow where he pointed rather than what he said.
Trail descriptions could also be a little misleading as he assured Karl (who was leading out the next section) that there was nothing tricky and no ‘elements’ to worry about, only for us to pass a few big gap jumps on the way down.
Similarly, his descriptions of ‘all downhill and flowy’ was correct, except for the rocky, rooty and uphill bits. I think Eñaut is just such a good rider that these don’t count as tricky sections to him – he was unbelievably good, so light he seemed to barely touch the trail at all.