[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Hello, I am Christophe co-founder of Lilou Wheels, I practice mountain biking in the Basque Country for over 25 years now, the years pass quickly! I am very happy today to share with you this new mountain bike tour around the mountain of La Rhune, but first of all a bit of history … 25 years ago some mountain bike images were starting to circulate, mountain bikes were more than rudimentary compared to today, if we had a telescopic fork it was a huge luxury, and the roller brakes were what there was had better. In 1992 with a friend, we had heard about riders who had the right to take the train Rhune to get off the highest mountain in the Basque country by mountain bike. With my friend, always in search of adventure, we are gone to buy an ATV at Carrefour !!! The very new look of these matt gray ATVs with these neon yellow stiff forks had caught our eye. So we broke the piggy bank to offer us our first ATV 999 Francs ….

Armed with our new horses, we presented ourselves at the start of the small train for this new adventure we had heard about. What was our disappointment when we received a categorical refusal of the staff of the small train to make this first downhill mountain bike. But it was not counting on our determination … So we started the climb and descent of La Rhune by mountain bike. A first made in 1992, which has since given us the passion for this sport and this spot, where there are so many possible ways to go up as to go down.

And yet for 25 years, I was looking for a route that allows to climb but especially to go down a special mountain bike line different from the main footpaths.

A line or experienced pilots as intermediaries could take pleasure in driving to descend the emblematic mountain of the Basque coast.

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The years and the different schedules have not allowed me to look for a new way, it is this year 2017 thanks to the new activity of Lilou’s wheels, and the impulse given by Alexis guide and ATV instructor but especially mountain biking specialist in the Basque country, that we have resumed the search to find the best route.

And it is this first January 2018 that was completed this new track where several paths taken during various hikes were connected to allow us to create this circuit which should become a reference enduro circuit on the region.

For this 22km and 1100m vertical drop, I left Sare from the motorhome area. I followed the road to Vera to take the new trace of the path marked by the FFC crossing the Pyrenees.

I also come back with pleasure on the creation of this new markup led by Nicolas Wateau, another great mountain bike specialist in Béarn and Basque country since he is responsible at 64.fr for most routes in this part of the Pyrenees. Nicolas must be the greatest connoisseur of the region so his range is immense.

He has also released an excellent guide to mountain bike trails in Béarn and Basque Country, VTOPO VTT Pyrénées Atlantique which you can find here: http://www.vtopo.fr/vtt-pyrenees-atlantiques.html

In short, it was during our first meeting where the 64.FR had asked me to rent electric mountain bikes for a tour for prescribers and journalists that I proposed to Nicolas a different route than the one borrowed at the time by crossed the Pyrenees.

Nicolas, always curious to discover new paths, had jumped on this option and even changed the route of the crossing of the Pyrenees to take this route now marked for this crossing.

We leave the departmental 406 to take the path Lapitxia south flank of La Rhune which remains wide and rolling to the beautiful edge Haroztegiko. Then follows a long single at the same time technical, rolling and very player with some small climbs short but dry that will take us to the Kondendiaga pass. After, we will take a wide track still marked FFC that we leave the second branch on the right to start a long climb in lace with a percentage of correct slope. It is just after an ephemeral flat, a border on the bottom left, we take two much stiffer laces on the right, which take us to a stone enclosure or a kern placed on the left indicates a small path trialisant take us to the Zikuitz pass.


From there, no surprise, the Spanish track and these last two laces at 29% of slope await us to finish the climb of the Rhune.

Once at the top and after enjoying the still incredible spectacle of this summit of the Basque Country, place to this new descent.

We take full East following the boundary markers as long as it is possible to ride with the bike before tilting due north full grassy slope. This part is completely freeride, very steep and deserve to come back for longer to draw milder laces to make the passage more accessible. Once recovered the little single at the last corner of the train La Rhune, it remains only to follow this path very single player with a few steps to pass. Arrived at the level of the rails of the small train, one is not discontented to stop to relieve the forwards arms, very solicited by this first part. We then cross the rails of the small train and we continue in the axis of the single that we just took the false flat amount that allows to recover the wide and stony path back down to the train station. We will take this path on the flat part where it will play with pebbles and different small tracks to make the best passage.

It is when you see the wooden panel, « station on the right », that one continues straight to circumvent these immense walls mounted in stone of rhune forming seen from the sky a star named Milit. These fortifications of the Rhune period Louis XIV were of military origin. These military works that we called redoubts served until the 19th century to protect the border There are no less than twenty on the region.

It is therefore interesting to make your way through these old buildings that today make it a very playful terrain on the handlebars of an ATV. Once out of these historic passages, we find a tiny single track that we will take to the west to fetch the brook of the three fountains that we will follow downhill a few tens of meters before heading back to the right, full is, on another small single track where we will be busy keeping his trajectory while constantly raising his machine to re-cross two large footpaths and again the rails of the small train. This part is really made for pure MTB enduro, succession of small turn, narrow passage, revival, passage trial and other.

Once crossed the rails of the little train, here we are on the last part of the descent, it will be a pure pleasure for all fans of downhill mountain biking, it’s going fast, it’s technical, pebbles, small steps , rolling, a real fun enduro MTB to complete this very complete loop of the Basque Country.

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Now that this route has been made, there are still some passages to maintain and improve to make this circuit more accessible and to share this sumptuous loop.

But even with all the care that we can bring this, will remain a course for seasoned athletes, and also hope that it will be shared with athletes respectful of this splendid nature, or the cohabitation with the fauna and the wild flora must to be preserved.

I would also insist on the safety of everyone where a good mountain bike is necessary to make this loop, not to mention headphones and other protections, to protect oneself, and pay attention to other potential users of these paths, even if this route goes through the less traveled paths of this mountain.

Today, thanks to applications like Strava, or Viewranger for example, it is very easy to share these traces and to make a maximum of people benefit from these itineraries, myself, I thank these sites and all those unknowns who share their experiences. traces to allow us to discover more easily the best paths of each region.

For the trace on Strava it’s here https://www.strava.com/activities/1335682567

For the trace on viewranger http://my.viewranger.com/route/details/MTYyNjg2OQ==

And if you just want the GPX file it’s here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/2anq3sz8302saoz/The_trace_enduro_of_the_Basque_Country.gpx?dl=0

Not to mention the relive https://www.relive.cc/view/1335682567

And if you want to live the first descent of this circuit and you have 45 minutes to go here is the link: https://youtu.be/YZRSEteqARA a shorter video and better quality group will come later.

This tour will be part of our guided mountain bike tours, and will be scheduled regularly in our release schedule. Its level of difficulty will be black, a quote easy to remember as for ski slopes J See you soon for a new circuit in the Basque country …


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