Heidi didn't have the traditional full week off of school for Spring Break this year but five days would be all we'd need to enjoy the mountain biking in the the Sierra Nevada range of Spain. Last fall we had done some research on riding in Spain and found a small guide company run by a couple who loves mountain biking as much as we do. Pure Mountains is owned and operated by Jenny and Tim. Two great people who are perfect hosts but also do all the guiding for your trip.
We flew into Malaga in just over two hours from Rome, threw our bikes in the rental van, and made the journey up to the sleepy village of Berchules. Berchules is deep in the Sierra Nevada and surrounded by terrain prime for mountain biking. As the sun set over Berchules, Jenny showed us the way up the Farmhouse where we'd be spending the weekend. This wasn't any old farmhouse. Jenny and Tim had put great detail into building this lodge and it showed. Heidi and I both were overly impressed with the simple layout and comfort being offered by Pure Mountains. It was a true gem.
Over a local beer and wine, Jenny and Tim gave us the down low on the Farmhouse and what we could expect for the coming days in terms of riding. We were pumped. After a quick rebuild of the bikes we hit the hay with anticipation for the next day's riding.
For the next four days we saw the best Pure Mountains has to offer. Each day started from the Farmhouse with more or less a climb. From the top we'd drop into the vast network of trails Jenny and Tim have found in their exploration of this mountain range. The riding was perfect, the views were outstanding and the company sealed the deal.
The trails are pretty similar to what we've become accustomed to here in Europe. Plenty of single track with just about every surface imaginable. Loose rock, dirt, mud, sand, pine needles, plates of slate, etc. Then sprinkle in some occasional forest road climbs to keep you honest about your fitness. I was not honest about my fitness. We really enjoyed every trail we explored throughout this trip. The trials are challenging for experienced riders and we never rode anything twice. Most days we didn't even see another soul on the trail.
We had perfect weather throughout the trip. Comfortable spring time temps with a light breeze kept the energy flowing. With the temps being as they were, this allowed us to ride from the upper elevations right down to the valley floors. It sounded like that wasn't the norm in the summer. Intense heat keeps most trips up high to beat the valley heat. We were lucky to get a taste of it all from top to bottom.
Jenny and Tim have these trips dialed. Ten years of good business will do that. The attention to detail each day was magnificent. After our morning climbs the Land Rover would be in the perfect spot waiting with tea, coffee, juice, water and snacks to keep you going until lunch. For lunch the Land Rover was again waiting with a spread of food reminiscent of some raft trips I've been on. You name it, it was on the table. Feeling fueled up after lunch we'd take off for our afternoon ride. When we'd finish the afternoon portion of riding, usually tired, battered, scraped, maybe thirsty. The Land Rover was there to shuttle us back up to the Farmhouse. Need to clean your bike? Nope. Done. The evenings were for relaxing and conversation.
Our group for the weekend played a huge part in our enjoyment of this trip. Everyone was so kind and friendly. At the end of the day we'd all retire to the back terrace and enjoy some local wine and beer. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Tea and cake was served too. Mix that with good conversation and you can't go wrong. It was great. We all enjoyed each others company without phones or even music. It was all about talking with one another and getting to know someone new. Thanks guys, you all rock!
A big thanks goes out to Jenny and Tim. You're wonderful people whose passion for mountain biking is infectious. Pure Mountains is a special place. Thanks for sharing it with us!