Course Preview: Spanish Magic - EWS Ainsa 2018

Sep 20, 2018
by Matthew DeLorme  


Ainsa. It's a small walled medieval town tucked at the foot of the Spanish Pyrenees. We've been here before for the EWS and we have returned for round seven this year. The last time we were here things were less than pleasant weather-wise. The flooding was biblical. We are hoping in this instance that the second time is a charm, and so far the weather has been the polar opposite. It's been hot and humid despite the singular evening thunderstorm. Ainsa will have seven stages, plus a city prologue. Saturday will have a distance total of 41.1 km and 1,782 meters of climbing and descent over four stages. Sunday will be three stages totaling 24.6 km and 815 meters of climbing, and 1,272 meters of descent. Sam Hill is still in the lead, but Martin Maes is hot on his heels. Cecile Ravanel has a vice grip on the series with a perfect season thus far. Most importantly, however, is the one who is missing this weekend, our thoughts are with Jared Graves, we miss you Grubby.

Overnight rain and morning sun made for foggy morning in much of the valley around Ainsa.
Overnight rain and morning sun made for a foggy morning in much of the valley around Ainsa.

Not meet a mountain view we didn t like here.
We have not met a mountain view we didn't like here.

At the border between France and Spain and the landscapes are stunning.
At the border between France and Spain, the landscapes are stunning.

The views in Ainsa are quite nice.
The views in Ainsa are quite nice.

When Aisna was raced during the 2015 EWS season in was an instant favorite amongst all the racers. Fast forward three years and everyone is excited about visiting this little medieval village for only the second time.
When Ainsa was raced during the 2015 EWS season, it was an instant favorite amongst all the racers. Fast forward three years and everyone is excited about visiting this little medieval village for the second time.

A golden morning to kick of the first day of riding in Ainsa Spain.
A golden morning to kick off the first day of riding in Ainsa, Spain.

The morning views from some of the apartments behind the city walls are astounding.
The morning views from some of the apartments behind the city walls are astounding.

Once again the EWS is visiting destinations that are unique in both their culture and their trail systems.
Once again the EWS is visiting destinations that are unique in both their culture and their trail systems.

The first night was a stormy one but the forecast for the rest of the week looks to be nothing but sunshine.
The first night was a stormy one but the forecast for the rest of the week looks to be nothing but sunshine.

Bars and restaurants are tucked away within the intricate architecture found inside the ancient city walls.
Bars and restaurants are tucked away within the intricate architecture found inside the ancient city walls.

Welcome to Spain.
Welcome to Spain.

There may be some trail sharing with the locals.
There may be some trail sharing with the locals.

Turn bars for Tinder. Chris Seager loves to get tweaky. Or freaky. Whatever.
Turn bars for Tinder. Chris Seager loves to get tweaky. Or freaky. Whatever.

Kike Abelleira finds his rhythm on stage three.
Kike Abelleira finds his rhythm on Stage 3.

Dave goes for a roller coaster ride.
Dave goes for a roller coaster ride.

Stage four has a bit of that Grey Earth feel to it.
Stage 4 has a bit of that Grey Earth feel to it.

Most of Stage 5 is out in the open with views of the Pyrenees off in the distance.
Most of Stage 5 is out in the open with views of the Pyrenees off in the distance.

Matt Delorme follows Sven Martin through the 30 switchbacks that make up much of Stage 5.
Matt Delorme follows Sven Martin through the 30+ switchbacks that make up much of Stage 5.

The liaison between Stage 2 amp 3 goes though another old town where fountains of spring water are a welcome sight on these hot days.
The liaison between Stage 2 & 3 goes through another old town where fountains of spring water are a welcome sight on these hot days.

Matthew Delorme trying to ride light and avoid the sharp rocks that litter much of the trail on the fast and rough Stage 3.
Matthew Delorme trying to ride light and avoid the sharp rocks that litter much of the trail on the fast and rough Stage 3.

EWS director Chis Ball about to make a big splash at the bottom of Stage 4.
EWS director Chis Ball about to make a big splash at the bottom of Stage 4.

With no rain in the forecast for the remainder of the week these puddles on Stage 4 should be all but dried up on race day.
With no rain in the forecast for the remainder of the week these puddles on Stage 4 should be all but dried up on race day.

The dirt is good.
The dirt is good.

Squids take a break in the shade from the mid day heat.
Squids take a break in the shade from the midday heat.

With a couple of omitted letters this trail translates to the Ass of Death. It s funnier that way.
With a couple of omitted letters, this trail translates to the Ass of Death. It's funnier that way.

John Parking raises a wheel to the final two rounds of the EWS.
John Parking raises a wheel to the final two rounds of the EWS.

Boris drifts with a view.
Boris drifts with a view.

After a massive climb up to some fresh and nevrer before raced trails racers arrive at the start of Stage 1.
After a massive climb up to some fresh and never before raced trails, racers arrive at the start of Stage 1.

It was a hot and hazy morning as the sun evaporated the rain from the previous nights downpour.
It was a hot and hazy morning as the sun evaporated the rain from the previous night's downpour.

Even the liaisons are scenic here in Ainsa. This particular trail leads riders across from Stage 1 to Stage 2.
Even the liaisons are scenic here in Ainsa. This particular trail leads riders across from Stage 1 to Stage 2.

The bottom of Stage 2 is quite flay an physical of the last minute or so.
The bottom of Stage 2 is quite flat and physical for the last minute or so.

Kegan Wright is pumped on staying inside the walls of medieval city for the week.
Keegan Wright is pumped on staying inside the walls of a medieval city for the week.

The days have been hot so far and the river is near. Perfect to cool down in the afternoons.
The days have been hot so far and the river is near. Perfect to cool down in the afternoons.

The last light of the day in Ainsa and tomorrow riders will tackle the stages for their first day of practice.
The last light of the day in Ainsa and tomorrow riders will tackle the stages for their first day of practice.



23 Comments

  • + 24
 Best of luck to @jessemelamed
  • + 36
 Thanks!
  • + 20
 So how many KOMs do I need to qualify for the EWS?
  • + 1
 Too many.
  • + 10
 KOM Strava wildcard sponsorship
  • + 0
 Do you have to qualify?
  • + 1
 @mkotowski1: for pro, yes. Through qualifier events or wildcards. However, depending on venue, you can enter as an amateur.
  • + 2
 All of them.
  • + 15
 Beautiful
  • + 3
 Definitif...my family has a house close to Ainsa in Viu and its the most incredible area in the Pyrenees!
  • + 1
 @themountain: yah gorgeous and historic. This is on the itinerary of a @basquemtb trip and looking forward to it
  • + 10
 @davetrumpore you absolutely killed it with these photos, beautiful
  • + 8
 one of the best EWS locations so far!!!
  • + 1
 Agreed. Looks amazing. I’ve been down to the Mediterranean parts of Spain but need to check out the North
  • + 5
 Rode these trails and stayed in this town a few years ago. It's as good as the pictures look. Check out BasqueMTB. Really, really, really awesome tours.
  • + 4
 Jeez! I'd like to be there !So nice.
  • + 4
 Spanish CASTLE Magic
  • + 3
 Looks like it's going to be a wild weekend
  • + 1
 Hot days but all the riders wearing dark jerseys…
  • + 0
 Wow, that city looks like it could fall down at the slightest hint of a stiff breeze.
  • + 1
 Wyn - take your camera with you!
  • + 1
 Great shots
  • + 0
 Did a gnome take most of these photos??

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