Jul 142012

6 months ago I started Mountain Bike riding, more for the pleasure of getting into the outdoors that surround us, than any serious desire to become a regular MTB’er,..
However, thanks to the firm but gentle, regular Mountain Bike Coaching that I have received from David Warrington, I have made progress that I could not have imaged and this has lead me to become a regular cyclist that just can’t wait to get our there and try something new each and every week. Over a period of months I have learnt how to extend my range (20km, 30km, 40km, 50km) and mountain climbing abilities (ascents of 400m, 600m, 900m), while all the time also learning new and safer off-road techniques.

About 3 month ago I was put through a Mountain Bike Skills Course also run by David Warrington of Mountain Biking Valencia. This course was based in La Drova and aimed at those new to mountain biking or to those who may have so far only ridden non-technical ground and wish to learn the correct core skills and techniques for off-road riding. In addition to riding skills, the course also involved a section on trail side bike repairs and effective preparation for off-road trips.

Thus equipped with new skills and fitness levels the past months have been a joy with regular weekly rides into remote mountain villages, over stunningly beautiful single track mountain passes, though pine forests, around lakes and reservoirs,… and all this, in what is starting to feel like my own back-yard, the La Safor Mountains.

This all culminated with a trip this week, to take on the the Benicadell Mountain pass (see pictures below). We started in the village of Beniatjar, and after a coffee in a local bar and a discussion about the day’s route, we set off. The first km was a gentle downhill, just enough to get the legs working before the first of the mornings ascents presented itself,… a long sweeping track that disappears up, up, up into the forest. Due to the temperature of the day, 28-32 degrees, we decided on a steady but constant pace,..one and a half hours later with 6 kilometres done (felt more like 16), we reached the first of our planned stops.

Re-hydrated and recharged we set off on the next section of the ride. More climbing, but this time a more gentle climb interspersed with steeper climbs and some even riding. A stunningly beautiful part of the route, and time to take in the scenery and surrounds.
By 2pm we reached our next stop, 50 meters from the highest point of the pass. We lunched in a lovely shady spot called Frida’s Font, with magnificent views across the Albaida Valley. Refuelled, rested and water-bottles refilled, we set off to the “summit” for a photo opportunity.

The next section, a one hour decent back down to the valley, was rocky and sandy track, that demanded due care and respect and a healthy dose of constant breaking. An very exhilarating downhill ride, after all the climbing of the morning.

Once back in the valley all that remained was the final 15km through villages and fruit orchards, back to the starting point. By 4pm we were back in the the village were we started five hours earlier.