The Pyrenees - Road Riding, Mountain Biking & Enduro Riding…… and more!

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Yesterday we spent the day in Binefar (a town nearby) attending a First Aid course presented by the Red Cross.

It's a 20hr course spread over three Saturdays and covers all the usual stuff. We've both done first aid courses before, but some things have changed a bit and you need to have an up to date certificate for your MTB guiding license to be valid.

It's all in Spanish but we speak enough Spanish (and remember enough from previous courses) to follow it without any problems. The course instructor speaks a bit of English too, so anything important or new that we don't get, we can check with him.
 
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Some time ago I explained how "Zona Zero", the 1000 odd kilometre network of MTB Trails that we live in the middle of, came into being. . . .

A group of local business owners, working in conjunction with local councillors & authorities, realised that they needed to do something pro-active if they were to prevent their towns and villages from following the existing downward trend of declining business and de-population. . . .

Their ideas have worked. The town of Ainsa and its surrounding villages all benefit from the income generated by visitors to Zona Zero. Roads & services to remote long-abandoned villages are being installed/re-installed and properties are being renovated & repaired. It's a big job and it's going to take some time to finish, but it is happening and we are a part of it!

This article is in Spanish, but the high-lights are that it addresses the problems faced by people who live in remote areas of Aragon (the region we live in), suggests some methods of making life easier for those people and gives Zona Zero as a good example of what can be achieved.

Great news for us all - and a testament to the hard work and devotion of the people who had the vision to come up with this and make their ideas a reality.

https://www.heraldo.es/noticias/aragon/2019/02/05/francisco-boya-los-pueblos-montana-hay-que-ponerles-las-cosas-mas-faciles-1290926-300.html?fbclid=IwAR3QROKMJ7tdmrU9_aCuLiO_EIZQX7Fk7s1HcIYL7eoHehMGjnX8kBB4hN8
 
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There are several Zona Zero routes out of Ainsa - this one heads south up a trail that passes the Vultures Dining Room, heads up to the Partara viewing point and then down the Partara Express!.

People rarely stop and look over their shoulders when they climb this trail, so they miss this view. Part of my job as a guide is to tell people when to stop and look behind them :-)

#lovemyjob!

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In December I had the chance to ride with a young French rider who has some sponsorship and is turning Pro.

He had arranged with Pedro, a local pro photographer in Ainsa, to do a photo-shoot for him and they asked me along. We used a bike shuttle to uplift to some nice locations and spent a couple of hours riding and "posing"!

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After several weeks without my MTB, which is down in Madrid being looked at by "Specialized Spain" after Angel, my mate and LBS spotted a crack in the carbon frame, it sounds like I should be getting it back soon.

Once it's back safe and sound I will post on what happened, what I had to do about it and how long it took. . . . .
 
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My replacement bike frame arrived last week - it's beautiful!

My original bike was a Specialized Epic Comp Carbon 2014 model in White and it had an Ali rear triangle. I loved it and we rode many many miles together.
The replacement, which is a 2018 model complete with new shock and modern version of the "Brain" is Black and all carbon. It weighs in at 2kgs!

I've had to buy a few new bits for it - I needed a Boost rear wheel and the frame has no facility to take a front mech - so I had to go 1x10 with a new crankset (wanted to keep the old rear mech and shifter to keep the cost down) We also replaced the BB and the Headset bearings while we were at it . . . . I have ended up with what is essentially a "brand new bike" :-)

I'm happy to have it back . . . I've missed it :-(

The Original . . . .

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The New Frame . . .

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The New One - in progress

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The New One - Finished and ready to roll . . . .

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I've been out on the bike a few times over the last week.

The first ride felt a bit strange - I haven't been on an MTB for a month! Had to make a couple of small adjustments but now it feels good.

Yesterday I went out twice. A long ride in the morning and then in the evening I put on my "racing kit" and went back out to put the bike through its paces. Happy to say that this bike is FAST!

Here's a pic from earlier in the week - a ride along the river with the Pena Montenesa mountain in the background . . . .

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An Easter week that has had more than its fair share of "heavy showers" (Easter lasts a week here in Spain and it's called "Semana Santa") has meant I've left the MTB at home and hit the roads for some nice road riding.

The roads where we live are in good condition and the drivers are considerate - so road riding is a pleasure. There are some routes I can choose that, whilst not exactly flat, are less "hilly" than others - so every ride doesn't have to be a mission :-)
 
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This morning the Zona Zero Cycling Club held a Skills Session for the youngsters before heading out for a ride. . . .

Great to see so many volunteers ready to promote safe cycling
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On Saturday morning after the youngsters "Skills Training", I joined Rafa, Ramon & Tito and help accompany a group of the Zona Zero Cycling Club Juniors on an MTB / Enduro Ride.

We started in Ainsa at the sports center and rode some of Route ZZ-006 "The Trilogy of San Vicente". The route was clean & dry and the sun was shining - it was a really nice ride.

The youngsters had climbed around 400m by the time we'd finished. They were strong on the climbs and fearless of the descents! They made us adults work hard!

Rafa took several opportunities to stop and explain to the youngsters "what was coming next" and how best to tackle it whenever something a bit tricky came along. He's a great teacher.

It was a pleasure joining in and helping out and I look forward to the next ride.

Well done to everyone who took part!

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Last weekend I had the pleasure of guiding Francisco from Brazil around some of our Zona Zero trails.

We did a bit of everything, technical climbing, singletrack descending and some Enduro trails, and all the while he was asking me lots of questions about how we came to be here in the Pyrenees and what we think of it.

He had a great ride, wants to come back again (everyone does) and showered at our place afterwards because he was traveling straight to Barcelona to meet his daughter.

I generally have a very friendly relationship with people I guide. Where possible, I adapt the riding to suit each person and we are always happy to try and provide any extra little service people need.

Francisco was on an e-bike while I was on a normal bike . . . . but that's for a separate post!

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