Today, I had the pleasure of introducing Mark, the owner of a local country hotel to the joys of mountain biking. Although he´s an active sportsman, and a keen runner, he´s never been out on a mountain bike. He admitted to having been keen to give mountain biking a try for a while, so a day of guided mountain biking from La Drova, our home base, proved to be a great introduction.
He was provided with a helmet and fully equipped Trek mountain bike. Following some initial instruction on bike set-up, efficient braking, pedaling and gear changing we set off along a wide unsurfaced track.
Mark took to the bike quickly, and after a few minor adjustments to the seat height, soon began to feel comfortable and in control. We practiced riding over some rougher ground, and focused on technique for some gentle descents before we took to the rural lanes that lead us up and out of the valley.
We followed the lanes and generally made our way to the Barxeta Valley, a rural farming area specialising in oranges and olives. We enjoyed quite a long descent down a rough track, at the bottom of which there was a short, shallow river crossing before we headed for the village of Barxeta where we sat in the square and enjoyed a coffee in the warming winter sun.
After our break and a brief check of the bikes, we set off again, climbing out of the village, and up through some of the higher olive groves. The trails that we chose for the return leg were generally unsurfaced with some quite steep descents, and a few short sharp ascents, perfect for developing weight distribution and braking techniques.
We stopped for lunch in the quiet mountain village of Pla de Corrals, where we once again made the most of the beautiful weather. After a relaxed hour or so, it was back onto the bikes. We had to tackle the ascent back over the wooded pass to the La Drova valley. Once back on high ground, we chose an alternative trail to take us back home, one that provided not only further practice of descending rough ground but also gave great views of the Mediterranean coast.
The day had provided Mark with a most enjoyable introduction to mountain biking. Our route was 30km with 811 metres of ascent – not bad for a first ride out!