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The Pyrenees - Road, MTB & Enduro Riding, Trail Building, Iconic GT Climbs & Nearby Attractions....


Bonus
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Had some visitors from the UK earlier this week. 

 

Simon has been following our progress on-line pretty much since we started and wanted to catch up with us while he and some friends were riding the trails here at Zona Zero. 

 

We did a ride XC from Ainsa up to Guaso so that they could see our "Project". "Wendy" met us up there and we showed them around.

 

It's always reassuring when people tell us how much they love our location and our plans for the place. They've promised to come back and support us when we're done . . .  great stuff.

 

 

 

 

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About 6 months ago I started helping Dale, who lives in the Philippines, to plan a visit to Ainsa to ride the Zona Zero trails.

 

I helped him arrange car hire & accommodation, we became friends on FB and finally last Friday, after reading and commenting on my MTB posts for months, he and his two friends Anthony & Tweed arrived and I guided them for 5 days.

 

The Philippines only has two seasons - a dry season and a wet season (Monsoon) and averages 90% humidity every day - so the hot and dry weather we have here was very different for them.

 

They are used to riding on dirt (or in mud during the wet season) so the rocks here took some getting used to, but they all handled everything here very well.  

 

Some pics from day one - we did a warm up on the singletrack through the Badlands and then rode XC over to Guaso, via Boltana, to see our Build Project. . . .  . 

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Edited by Bonus
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On Day 1 we did Ainsa, Boltana, Margudued and Guaso.

 

On Day 2 Dale, Ants, Tweed & I did Ainsa, El Pueyo de Araguas, El Soto & Usana . . . .

 

It was another beautiful day with a picnic break up at the highest point of the ride :-)

 

 

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Day 3 with the guys from the Philippines and we drove out to Santa Maria de Buil to ride a variation of Zona Zero route 19. I start the route, which is circular, at the halfway point - so I do the second half first and then the first half last..... I think it rides better that way around!  

 

The first part of the ride is mostly nice flowy singletrack, then there's some climbing - fire road and technical singletrack. Stop for a quick sandwich at the Ermita de Santa Barbara and then through the trees and out onto "The Balcony" from where you get to see some amazing views of the Pyrenees.....

 

It was a great day out, as always. . . . .

 

 

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Day 4 was e-bike day!

 

A couple of the guys wanted to try out e-bikes while they were here. Dale and Ant were going to hire e-bikes while Tweed and I rode normal bikes . . . but then they talked Tweed into giving it a go, so they hired an e-bike each and one for me too! How cool is that!? 

 

My first time on an e-bike and also my first time on an Enduro style bike. I ride a Specialized Epic 29'er - which is more of a Cross Country Racing Mountain Bike - it handles pretty much everything I want to ride here, but I was interested to give the Enduro frame a go. 

 

We went out for 4 hrs and rode every steep technical climb I could find.... and we had a blast. All the climbs we did I've done before on my own bike - the two differences I found with the e-bike were that you climb much faster, naturally, but also - with it being an Enduro bike rather than a Cross Country bike, you don't have to watch where you're going.  When I climb on my bike I have to "pick my line", on the Enduro bike you just hit every rock, step or root head-on and you can get over it.

 

On the downside, the e-bike only helps you up to a certain speed - on these bikes the sweet spot was 26.4km/h. So on the flat I rode more slowly than I normally would. Anything above 26.4km/h and the motor stops helping you - then it gets real hard real quick!

 

One of us ran out of battery towards the end, but thankfully within a couple of km's from the end of the ride. Again, with a dead battery the bike becomes a really heavy piece of kit to keep moving....

 

Overall it was a great experience and I can see why people like them and if you want to, you can still get a good workout! 

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Edited by Bonus
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Day 5 was the last day for me to guide my visitors from the Philippines.

 

We split the day up into two rides. An hour and a half on a circuit around the abandoned village of Janovas - which has the Eastern Hemisphere/Western Hemisphere "Greenwich Mean Line" going through it, followed by a couple of hours between Boltana and Ainsa - finishing with us coming down a technical descent that we first did on Day 1.

 

The challenge was for them to "do it better" this time around - and they all did.

 

The weeks riding with them had been a pleasure and their trip here was rounded off with them inviting Andrea and I out to dinner at one of the best local restaurants, where they spoiled us.

 

:-)

 

 

 

 

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Had a visitor from Switzerland last week. Martin is doing a tour of Spain & Portugal in a VW Camper van.

 

He parked behind our flat and we got talking. Gave him some advice on where to ride and where to camp, and the next day we ended up riding together. Now I have another new friend . . .  that's how we roll! (as "Wendys" teenage son used to say!)

 

The weather was perfect and the views were beautiful, as always.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Last weekend I had the pleasure of MTB Guiding Jason & Lilly from Seattle in Washington State - they were here on their honeymoon.

 

It was a really nice day out - we rode in "The Badlands", did some climbing, rode some very nice descents and did some site seeing - a bit of everything. They even got to see our Project up in Guaso. Jason is a builder - so he was interested to see how it had originally been built.

 

From here they headed down to ride in the Sierra Nevada mountains before heading back to the states.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

There are 6 categories of Routes here at "Zona Zero" in Ainsa - totalling over 1000km of trails......

 

ZZ Routes - The standard Zona Zero routes that form the basis for the Trail Network here. New routes are being added all the time. 

 

ZL Routes - The "Light" Routes. There are 6 of them and they tend to be easier than the ZZ Routes. That's not always the case though - some of them are pretty "interesting" in places! 

 

ZE Routes - These are the "Special" Routes. Enduro riding, including the sections that made up the Enduro Series Stages that were held here in Ainsa-Sobrabe in 2015 and 2018. 

 

ZA Routes - These are the "Alpine" Routes. Up in the Alto Pyrenees, these routes offer some spectacular views and some great descents.

 

ZR Routes - A set of 13 "Road" Routes here and across the border in France.

 

EZ Routes - Coming soon! Routes prticularly suited to e-Bikes. 

 

 

Plenty to enjoy!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Zona Zero Route ZA-03 - "The Comodoto" - 22km long and climbs 1200m....

 

I rode this route for the first time a few weeks ago with two mates from the UK, one an old friend and the other a new friend. It was a great day out - spectacular views, steady climbing and some awesome descending. The final part of the climb is too steep to ride, so it's a case of pushing or carrying your bike - but we broke that section up with a little chocolate break half way up - just to sit and take in where we were. 

 

If you didn't want to climb to the very top, there is a way around..... maybe I'll try that next time and report back. But for the first time, I definitely wanted to do the whole thing. 

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After climbing on the fire road track you round the bend into a pasture hidden behind a low outcrop of rock. Then its a bit of walking/pushing/Hike n Bike before you get to where we stopped for a mini-picnic. The sun was warm and the views were amazing.

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A ride along the ridge, followed by a pretty tricky section of descending, before we got down to a more recogniseable path that leads pretty much all the way back down the otherside of the mountain. Finishing off in fields above the village of Espierba before cutting through the trees on a singletrack and heading along the road back to the car.

 

All in all - a great day out.

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  • 2 weeks later...

November was unusually wet and cold this year, but happliy this week the weather has been amazing - so hopefully December will be a good one.

 

Some pics from todays spin from Boltana over to Ainsa and on through the bottom of the Badlands, which were deserted! 

 

Autumn colours at Zona Zero . . . .

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