Trailing the Eastern Pyrenèes and coastal lines

This year we launched the very first Pyren¨es et de la mer, a small race that my handful of friends and I had engineered after taking part in the grueling 2012 Ronde de L’Isard. Our trail was set in the Eastern Pyren¨es which is generally the warmer and sunnier section of the massive mountain range called the Pyren¨es that forms a natural border between France and Spain. A friend who lives in Vicdessos, planned the three day, hundred and fifty (odd) kilometer Velo trail that ranges from Prats-de-Mollo-la-Preste along the mountain and coastal lines toward Opoul Perillos.

Once we all arrived in the marvelously historic Prats-de-Mollo-la-Preste, it was time to set out. Our trail’s first day was mostly an uphill grunt against the merciless, melting peaks as well as a few trickier trails that were still snowed over and were devilish to navigate. Some of those trails were so ice-covered, in spite of the warmer weather, that it forced us to follow an alternate single-tracking line and set us behind schedule for our first stop. Despite that, the sunset view from the top of the mountains, looking out across the conclaves of brown, white and green tilts that have been strewn across the horizon for us like fine art, was nothing short of breath-taking.

Our stopover in Maureillas-las-Illas mostly involved ice-baths and the type of sleep that only comes after a fifty kilometer mountain trail. I believe it is called death. Our second day brought us to a series of rock gardens and spider web paths deep in the mountains followed by a memorable downhill bunny hop trail that wiped out Anton’s MTB and left one of the others’ wonky. The second day ended in Banyuls-sur-Mer after a rigorous day’s trailing.

The third and final day may have left us with one less biker but it also gave us a smoother day’s ride through mostly suburban areas; a gratifying view of the shoreline and much less of a grinder than any of the other days. But we didn’t quite finish the full one fifty km; we stopped twenty odd kilometers short of Opoul Perillos in Sainte-Marie where we stayed for a while.

Trailing the Eastern Pyrenèes and coastal lines Photo Gallery

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