Mtb’s movers and shakers select their favourite places to ride
The most outspoken man in mountain biking, Chris despaired at the conservative geometry and sizing from mainstream bike brands… so, he founded his own one, GeoMetron. He also runs suspension experts Mojo Rising, and migrates to sunny Spain to see out each winter.
My best trail
In a 30-year riding career there have been many trail highlights share with many people. I chatted motorbikes and got race tips in a ski lift with Sean Palmer at Mt St Anne, I’ve ridden events with Nico Vouilloz, Fabien Barel, Jérôme Clementz, Mark Weir, and more. All big characters and all great rides. I was lucky enough to ride a few early EWS races when we could spend a lot more time with the pros and when the trails and liaisons were actually fun too. I’ve ridden all over the world with a lot of really class riders and I have had a lot of ‘My Best Trails’ etched into my memory.
But year after year I keep coming back to Spain and to the Pyrenees and for My Best Trail I could choose any one of three or four corkers we rode every single day on a trip with Doug from Basque MTB on his Back Country Pyrenees trip. We had a great bunch of punters and mates on the trip, but me and Sandy Plenty from the Trailhead bike shop in Shrewsbury shared the whole trip banging bars and talking crap.
It was a ‘complete’ trip, from the road trip down through France in the Toyota Hilux spotting Brexit voters, to Sandy’s first night in San Sebastián (messy, though it needed to be to settle down into the last bed available in the whole city, snuggled up together). But the highlight was the sheer number and size, speed, flow and quality of the trails and our bar-banging-banter on every single one of them. Skandi Sandy getting the big old Hightower loose on every turn and looking boxfresh with his riding threads every day. The pace built trail-by-trail and we swapped KOMs backwards and forwards between us.
But one of the highlights was the most surreal. On a beautiful ow trail starting on an escarpment near the Guara, we warmed up in woodland loam, chasing wild boar piglets down a deer track and waiting for momma to come and sideswipe us! The trail turned steeper and rockier and the speed and commitment got quite hairy. We turned across the mountain and owed in beautiful ups and downs at a natural trail speed, which allowed us to corner without brakes and keep a really eye- watering speed up without pedalling.
Halfway down, the trail turned a corner into a rocky ravine and all of a sudden we’re riding a bench-cut rocky ledge with steep, loose turns and Provence-style switchbacks; an amazingly varied trail ending in a rougher, less steep path with a walking rhythm over stones and well-worn steps. We followed this trail until it turned round a ridge into a new ravine and we were confronted with what seemed like the whole Spanish army snaking one-by-one for miles in front of us! We dodged in and out of the army snake for what seemed like ages, waiting for the rest of the riding group, until we reached the last section of woodland where we rode a picture- perfect, natural trail.
A small pedal up the valley brought us to a crest where we freewheeled through the outskirts of a village and into our stop for the night where the sun was setting, casting into shadow a view of the hill we had just descended and a line of head torches flickering as they headed up the trail we’d just ridden. Thousands of people on the trail that day, but me and Sandy enjoyed it more than every one of them I reckon! Still beat you to the bottom Sandy! 😉