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
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
Jeremy Wright gets an insider guide from Altitude Adventure to the little known Neiges Catalanes in the French Pyrenees... " The real beauty was in having such knowledgeable hosts. Whether pounding down the longest off-piste route in the Pyrenees at the Espace Cambre D'Aze, relaxing with a flask of hot chocolate and rum in natural hot springs, or searching for wolf tracks as we snowshoed behind the hotel, we always felt we were being let into a special, secret world."