A Freeride Trip to the Desert
With vivid images of Red Bull Rampage still in our minds, Nick Pescetto, Jonny Livorti and I (Luis Biscaldi) decided to go on a road trip to Spain in search of a real Freeride Adventure.
The first stop would be Teruel as suggested by local rider and friend Alvaro Penades who had spotted the potential of that area during previous riding missions.
Teruel is Spain's smallest provincial capital, with just 35,000 inhabitants. The landscape surrounding the city is very unique, something out of a western movie. It also reminded us a lot of some of Utah's iconic landscapes, just on a much smaller scale.
Arriving at night at the exact GPS location provided by Alvaro meant that we were in for a big surprise the following morning. Did we just wake up in a Freeride paradise?!
We spent the first morning wandering around the area by feet getting a feeling for the terrain, the dirt, the steepness and the scale of it. Contrary to what it seemed at first, the dirt was pretty much ideal to build lips and shape landings. A slightly harder crust of dirt and stones covered a more sandy yet gripping layer of dirt underneath. We couldn't have been more happy to have brought tools with us!
The warm up line for the day was one previously ridden by Alvaro. He called it the "Red line" as it was an intermediate line between a more difficulty one (or more sketchy, as he kept saying) and easier ones nearby our camp site. We hiked the line and rode it multiple times.
All along we felt like being in a big Freeride playground, having the whole place for ourselves with nobody to be seen at the horizon.
At sunset we all hiked back up and Nick decided he was going to fly the drone to wrap up the first day in the desert!
We spent the morning building a tiny canyon gap spotted by Nick on the first morning. We were not sure whether it was going to work or not but we were motivated to take advantage of the very deep gully underneath the gap which provided for some creative photo opportunities!
Hector Saura (founder of Bicycle Nightmares) and local MX rider Carlos Dìaz both came to help with the digging! The wild sage bushes did not represent a challenge and after a morning of digging we watered the freshly built take-off and we were ready to hit it.
Alvaro Penades, extra motivated as always, was the first one to go for it. Worked perfect, now the session began!
We rode the jump until it got dark and as soon as we got back to our campsite we spotted a bright spot behind a ridge in the distance. A full moon was rising!! Nick instantly grabbed his camera gear and we rushed to a ridge to try our luck on some moon shots. Nick had been wanting to shoot bikes and a full moon for a while and the occasion turned out to be perfect, although completely improvised. Fortune favours the brave!
After two days camping on the same location we moved to a new spot which Alvaro described as "perfect for a couple of Partyride laps". We packed all our gear and drove 15 minutes before parking roadside on top of a hill. After a quick pedal on the ridge of a stunning canyon we came to the most scenic spot of our trip yet.
A whole valley opened up before our eyes and we could see a gully which dropped on one end (reminded me of something you could ski down, except it was covered in red dirt). We approached the line which turned out to be much wider and a bit more flat than it appeared from afar. We decided to drop in all together!
The Partyride line was the grand finale of our days in the desert! The energy was at an all time high as we loaded the van for the next destination: Bikepark Fenasosa.
La Fenasosa is no regular Bikepark. Located in the national park of Serra Mariola, it is a private estate which features world class trails, extraordinary people and all the airtime you could ever dream of. La Fenasosa has been a popular destination for riders from all over the world for the last decade, now, with new upgrades to it's trails it has become a must-go-to Bikepark for many more years to come.
In the morning we were joined by local rider Gustavo Alcojor and Barcelona's Bienvenido Aguado. The two knew the park well and their enthusiasm contributed to a mind blowing day at La Fenasosa.
The "tree jump" pictured above is one of many Nico Vink's creations. The most impressive one was perhaps the "Foxy Line", something out of a video game. The line is quite long and at times demanding (depending on the speed you want to carry) but the final section is guaranteed to make you stoked. A long series of big tabletops, supercross style, with room for different lines every time you go back! Best enjoyed with your riding buddies!!
We woke up to an unexpected rain in La Fenasosa. After a slow morning we opted for a 5 hours drive to a place we had never been before: 4Riders Bikepark.
Located in Berga (approximately 1:20 h north of Barcelona) it is a privately owned bikepark which has become a popular destination for the Barcelona riding community.
The following day we were joined once again by Bienvenido Aguado as well as Barcelona locals Sergi "Topo" Valenzuela and Jose "Tibu" Sanchez. After a few laps we realised we were in the right place for some air time! No wonder why so many talents come out of this area..
Written by Luis Biscaldi.
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