This is our flagship trip. Only the best of the best from this immense region make it onto this trip!!! Spectacular trails, incredible scenery....
To get the most out of our trips we recommend that a good standard of mountain biking skills in natural rocky singletrack terrain is needed. An ability to comfortably ride red and black Welsh and Scottish trail centre trails is good, but we are riding natural singletrack! You should be comfortable riding all day for multiple days to get the most out of your trip. This trip is not for inexperienced riders.
We recommend that riders wear knee pads as a minimum on the descents as the trails are rocky! other protection is at the riders discretion.
Backcountry Tour of the Pyrenees Orientales
Are you looking to ride some of the best singletrack on the planet?
The Pyrenees Orientales were recently described as "Massively underrated as an MTB destination" and in the opinion of the US Editor of Singletracks magazine Greg Heil "Better than the Alps" where he was blown away by the quantity of "high quality singletrack". High praise indeed! Danny Milner from MBR magazine stated after his visit, that a trip here was like "a journey through the world’s best singletrack" and based this opinion on the variety of types of trail brought about by the changes in rock type and vegetation as we move from alpine, to sub alpine, to mediterranean scrub areas available to us.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you might say and why is that? Well the answer lies in the history of the region which has a tradition going all the way back to prehistoric times as being traversed in all directions by its population for many reasons which has led to a trail network of incredible proportions. This plus a long history of subsistence farming and smallholdings or hamlets dotted all over the valley sides gives us a mix of natural mountain trails and manmade cobbled packhorse type trails to choose from.
On top of the quality of trails the region has had very little modernisation or large modern industrialisation to change its feel of really stepping back in time.
With all of this in mind we have been scouring a larger area than we would normally ride in a trip based solely at our boutique hotel "The Mouli del Riu" to bring you the opportunity to taste the best that the region can offer in a week of uplift assisted riding. We say uplift assisted because, rest assured, to access the most spectacular trails you will still have to put some effort in. But this trip is really about getting to grips with those long mind blowing singletracks.....
Our home base is on the French side of the border in Saint Pierre dels Forcats, but on this trip we will spend time in both Spanish and French Catalonia as the Pyrenees Orientales make up the dividing line between the two countries. This gives us the opportunity to explore not only trails in two countries, but also two different cultures during our weeks riding. With excellent cuisine and wine featuring highly in the lifestyle on both sides of the border we eat and drink like kings of old as a reward for each days efforts.
If you like your riding to be a mix of "steep and techie" and "fast and flowing" all on natural trails then this trip is for you!
Saturday- Arrival in Barcelona. Airport pickup and transfer to "The Mouli del Riu" roughly 2hrs drive to St Pierre dels Forcats. Bike build up. Welcome dinner at "The Mouli".
Sunday- Warm up day! A nice climb to get your legs moving followed by 9km of singletrack downhill from the Valley of Planes to St Thomas les Bains (1300m drop). After a late lunch by the hot springs we shuttle up for another 1000m of descent before the van picks us up to head home.
Monday- Heading out! A shuttle up to 2200m gets us to the start point for the climb. Another 500m of uphill gets us to our start point at 2700m. We cross the border and head down into Spain, 1500m in the first descent.
And on it goes like this..... On this trip there is no rest day! We keep it coming until you beg us to stop.....
On average we will ride around 12500m of descent during the week with around 4000m of climbing. All on natural singletrack!!! To put that in perspective it would be like riding down Mt Everest one and a half times! ;)
For avalable dates please check the top of the page. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to get in touch.
We look forward to showing you around a very special region....
Mix the Ride and Slide to make your perfect winter trip
Minimum 5 riders, 10% discount for 8 or more
So, you thought it was all over for the winter... Think again!!
How about a unique winter holiday mixing up some of the most fun you ever thought you could have. Skiing/Snowboarding, mountainbiking, night riding and Fatbiking all in one action packed week.
You can bring your own bike/fatbike or rent one of ours. We can Ride or Slide in a mix to suit your group and we offer 2 nightrides per week using Fatbikes for the ultimate in "Enduro" fun.
Here in the Pyrenees Orientales we can even ski in the morning and spend the afternoon riding on dry, dusty (yes!! Dusty!!) trails only minutes from the "Mouli"
We tailor each week's riding to the group’s desires and abilities. How many days do we spend on trails and on the snow? How many days on Ski or bike? We'll help you decide!
For these trips we recommend all riders have a high level of natural mountainous singletrack riding ability Trail riding protection is strongly advised for night rides and natural trail days. You will also need clothing adapted for riding in cold environments (if you are unsure contact us for more information).
We have an immense variety of skiing available to us spread over 3 countries, France (Neiges Catalanes ski area 300km of pistes), Spain (La Molina and Massella) and Andorra (Grand Valira ski area 400km of pistes) with the nearest lift only 300m from our base at the Mouli. We know these ski stations well having skied and borded here for over 10years and can advise you on where to go for the best conditions each day.
From completely snowed up singletrack packed down by snowshoers to give the perfect rolling surface to dry trails we have it all...
How about the all time favourite 'Descent to Olette' in winter! (1300m of singletrack downhill) starting in the snow and finishing in T'shirts. Check out the video below.
The Ridge of Doom, the Descent de Yann and the Scorpion Tail uplift linked (1800m of super technical singletrack descent).
The Garrotxes trilogy of the Noissetiers, the Apache Indian and Auiguatibia (translates as "hot water" and is pretty apt!) then finishing with one of the Oreilla trails giving 2200m of singletrack descent in the day.
Some secret trails perfect for winter Enduro training... (published 8th Jan 2015)
2 evening meals (at Ceret and the final night out from the Mouli)
Total Distance - 220km
Total Climb – 7000m
Total Descent - 12,404m, 100% on epic singletrack!!
Probably the most incredible point to point mountain bike trip you will ever do! From the heart of the Pyrenees to the beaches of the Mediterranean, six days of riding in jaw dropping scenery on gobsmacking singletrack. Take a look at the day by day video series shot by Maxence Cabrie at the bottom of this page.
A mountain biking holiday with a difference. Have you ever fancied going on a journey knowing that every descent is going to be a classic and that every day will be full of amazing trails and sights. We did too! Luckily for us we can see the Med' from our base in the mountains and it gave us the idea of a multi-day trip through the mountains to the sea. After a number of voyages of discovery we have come up with a journey which will challenge you physically and technically all along its route. We've even added more uplift! This guarantees you the maximum 'buzz' for minimum grind on some of the most amazing singletrack you will ever ride!
This trip is a multi day singletrack trail ride adventure on a point to point basis and requires a high level of fitness and technical riding skills. We recommend that you are comfortable riding a minimum of red and black Welsh and Scottish trail centre trails and comfortable in mountainous natural singletrack. You should also be comfortable riding all day for multiple days for up to 50km minimum distance and over 1500m of ascent per day. This trip is not for inexperienced riders!
We recommend that riders wear knee pads as a minimum on the descents as the trails are rocky! other protection is at the riders discretion.
This multi-day trip is part of a week long holiday. A Saturday arrival is followed by a Sunday warm-up ride and equipment check. For the next 5 days we climb and descend (always descending on very testing singletrack) to finish at a beautiful beach at the end of the mountains.
Each night is spent in a comfortable hotel except the last night where we are located high up in a mountain refuge (with a great restaurant). Evening meals are included and are eaten in the hotel or at local restaurants (imagine sitting out in the evenings warmth in a town plaza enjoying your meal with a glass of the local wine) to fill you up ready for the next day’s epic instalment.
On Friday evening we return to our mountain base for a celebration dinner.
We set off from our base in St Pierre and drop into the "Ridge of Doom" trail to Fontpedrouse to ensure you are wide awake before climbing to the mountain hamlet of Llar and riding the second half (5km and 750m drop) of the "Descent to Olette". After a quick break for coffee and a snack we head up the big climb of the day past the picturesque village of Jujols to the incredible passage through the "Roque Fumade". Once you have removed your blinkers we pick up the start of a 1000m descent to Villefranche passing along the way some beautiful open mountain singletrack, the "machine a laver" (washing machine) and a section of switchbacks that go on forever. After a well-earned drink in Villefranche we roll down the valley to our hotel in Prades.
Day 2 - Prades to Ceret
55km with 3080m of descent
We roll out of Prades and warm up with a climb and descent to Sahorre before attacking a 45min hike and ride climb accessing an amazing balcony singletrack to the village of Baillestavy. This trail mixes some flowing but rocky descent with tight switchbacks and short climbs leaving you wondering how hard-core the ancient inhabitants of this area were. A road climb/shuttle leads to another favourite feature of the trip, the disused mineral railway to the Col de Formentera. For a flat piece of trail it really is special! At the end of this we return to our favourite direction, down... Known locally as "Omlette 3" as you don't make an omelette without cracking a few eggs you can only guess how good this trail is. From Amelie les Bains we cruise down another disused railway to the beautiful walled town of Ceret (famed as the home of the artist Picasso) for dinner in a tree lined plaza and a beer in one of the many colourful bars.
Day 3 - Ceret to Macanet De Cabrenys (Spain)
Fontfrede descent - 7km with a 920m drop
Fontfrede to Macanet - 17km with 1795m of descent
The fun day! After two pretty hard days we set off in the morning in the van to the summit of the Pic de Fontfrede. From here we descend nonstop for 7km (920m drop) on an array of technical trail that leaves you as breathless as if you had just done the 7km climb. After a refreshment break in Ceret to recover we load up again and head back up to be dropped at the end of the road for the climb to the Col de Salines on the French Spanish border. Lunch is eaten on the ridge with a foot in each country and views in all directions is followed by another technical masterpiece heading down towards Macanet de Cabrenys. After what seems like forever twisting round, over and through granite boulders we pick up the second half of the Macanet Enduro circuit for some groomed descents leading to the village.
Day 4 - Macanet to Coll de L'Uillat
33km with 1150m of descent
Macanet was one of the last villages to fall to the facists at the end of the Spanish civil war and in the morning we cruise a bit more of the enduro circuit before tracing the steps of the fleeing locals to the Coll de Ill were the last remaining generals on the side of the Communists escaped into France. We follow the border ridge on fireroad and then another nice and technical singletrack to the modern border town of Le Perthus passing first a Roman and then a Napoleonic fortress to show how contested this area has been. After refreshments in Le Perthus we hit the road for the final climb/shuttle of the day to the Refuge at the Coll de L'Uillat for our final night on the trail and fantastic views all the way back along the chain of the Pyrenees. The accommodation here is basic but the atmosphere more than makes up for it.
Day 5 - Coll de L'Uillat to Racou Plage
25km with 1655m of descent to the sea
From our mountain eyrie we head out along the ridge of the Alberes range on a jeep track with fantastic views of the sea getting closer and closer a thousand meters below us. At the Coll de Trois Hetres the trail changes and we start down. Open ridges change to granite rock fests and we pass sections of trail with names like "Two fingers and an ankle" and the "Placa des arms" to drop closer to our goal. Just when the arms and legs are starting to really complain at the constant assault we drop out onto a short section of fire road to link us to "The last drop". This trail has been built to persuade you that you are, after all, a mountain bike god! Enjoy... Half a km of road and a sprint for the sign gets us to the picturesque seaside village of Racou Plage and the Med'. The "Summit to the Sea" is truly done.
Sometimes it is better to let your guests explain a trip.
This wonderful day by day account from Maxence Cabrie.
This is Sarah and Alans take on their trip. Beautifully done. (published 3rd Oct 2012)
From the heights of the Pyrenees to the Med beaches in 4 days of epic trail riding! (published 20th Jan 2011)
I thought the agreed strap line was: Pack your knee pads, chamois cream and a packet of ibuprofen. Although, 'We provide the mountain, you provide the screaming' might also work ;-) Beate
Yo dudes & chicks, Now back home, my face slowly beginning to droop as I look up at the sky that looks like something out of a futuristic doomsday film. Glancing over at my bike box that holds my broken and beaten Spes, thinking she's wanting to be fixed and reunited with the Bentley engine for a thrashing. The bottom line is, the pastures have moved on, along with the sun and motivation is on empty. Anyway, the great times in the Pyrenees will not be forgotten and will be held in my heart until the circle starts again. Absolutely brilliant S2S trip, amazing trails, great weather and fantastic company. Many thanks to you all for coming. Massive thanks to Ian (keg) Pendry and Ange (grip shift) Pendry for having me along. It's been a blast. Until we meet again. Dave
Just a quick note to say thank you once again for a memorable holiday last week. The trails are truly amazing and the overall mountain biking experience was topped off by the fantastic hospitality you extended to us. There were a lot of glum faces on the plane home!
Alan and gang
Mouli del Riu, 66210, St Pierre dels Forcats, France.