Having shot many video projects in the Alps in recent years and after his last edit Switzerland Paradise
”, Kilian Bron wanted to quite literally expand his horizons. Since joining COMMENCAL, he has spent weeks discovering the most beautiful and remote, but also the most technical trails across the Pyrenees; in France, Spain and of course in Andorra, a stone's throw from our HQ office.
With our Meta Power, this new project was based around the array of textures that can be found in the Pyrenees. An environment with a prevalence of minerals and without much vegetation in places, the search was on to find more colourful landscapes than ever before. From the red of Castillo de Acher to the yellow of the Sierra de Guara, passing by the dazzling darkness of Andorran peaks and not to mention the bright white of desiccated Spanish lakes, Kilian and his team take us through it all in this new one of a kind video!
Watch “Pyrenean Textures
” in video format, marvel at the beautiful photos and see the latest printed version by Kilian, “Pyrenean Textures
". In this book, he offers previously unpublished topographic maps as well as GPX files related to three spots he rode during the trip. Below, he gives a brief overview of everything without revealing all the little secrets that will be detailed in the book...An example of one of the maps.
"This spot differs from others because of its variety and the feeling of freedom in such a remote region of the Spanish Pyrenees, very close to the French border. It's an incredible loop starting from the valley floor which is just as impressive. Before riding it, you should check this place out on a summer evening with friends, followed by camping there for the night.
To be done in a clockwise direction, the warm-up is a short road then a track that’s constant and pleasant to ride. It takes you gently up to an alpine plateau as if from a different era. Man's mark is non-existent, even when looking out over the whole mountain range. It’s worth highlighting this aspect which is rather rare today in Europe. Apart from cows and packs of vultures on the lookout for animal corpses, the valley is just an expanse of sparkling green grass, cut in two by a distinguished red riverbed. An interesting contrast which says a lot about the rest of the climb.
A similarly amazing continuation in search of a single track trail that regularly splits and crosses in several places. In fact, these are paths made by the local wildlife, but we let ourselves be guided by our imagination, as long as we’re gaining height. The meadow gives way to reveal the accumulation of Pyrenean summits as far as the eye can see."
"On nearby peaks there is an air of the Dolomites as we progress through beautiful meadows. Further on, the first boulders impose like zigzags in the distance, and we're finally confronted by the MISSION of the day; to ride this red earth col! From afar we were already drawing the multiple freeride line choices on offer!
By the time we got to the top of the col we'd had a good warm-up! In fact, it took no less than an hour and a half to reach this precise point, whilst managing the battery and trying to clear everything on the bike. Let's say a good technical background will allow you to complete 90% of the climb on the bike. Without any hike-a-bike, the rest was managed using WALK mode, much appreciated on some sections. Peaks are often my favourite playgrounds, but this one is special. More than just a feeling of accomplishment, contemplating the unobstructed 360° view, I also have a keen eye for finding the perfect lines. In particular, the ones that allow me to start from the highest point, following ridgelines and the natural flow of the land. For the record, I returned to this place four times last Autumn. On each one of my visits I discovered new challenges, and like usual, 24 hours of the day were not enough.
The best top-to-bottom downhill option is the one on this map. It extends along the axis of the first col. But I strongly advise you to take a good stop at the red sectors. Both those at the top of the col and also those below, with a slight detour to your right behind another small col. Impossible to go in the wrong direction, the two sectors are obvious to find. The remaining descent is long and technical. Real mountain biking, alternating between fast and smooth, and the most twisty and rough types of trails."
"Depending on the season, the level of the lake changes and patterned streaks decorate the banks. (…) Valleys fill up in the spring to form lakes, which then empty gradually until winter. Each zone is therefore fleeting and quite simply, that leaves room for our imagination to turn it into a place to ride."-Kilian
"Whilst scrolling on Instagram, analysing each region we visit, I came across a page of local riders based in Tremp. They share my same vision when it comes to riding bikes, in unusual and visually impressive places. This is also how I find cool places, mixing searches on Google with looking at different social platforms and chatting with locals.
Having exchanged a few messages, we met up on-site to try to find the flow on a new winding ridge section. Freshly cleaned, I was surprised by the technicality of the line which meandered across mounds of red earth."
"A good season also means 4 or 5 big crashes. In 2021 it was my left shoulder that paid the price. (…) Management of body and mind is an important factor to take into account, one that I often overlooked before. Sometimes you must listen to yourself and take the time to recharge those batteries. Winter is good for this, precisely at the time I write these words."
"The chosen village was almost completely deserted following the construction of the neighbouring dam. Only one family remains, hidden amongst the ruins. But until when? We were invited into their garden, and to sneak a look at ancient alleys full of stories. Although in a poor state of repair the church still stands towering over the scene. It lit up with the last rays of sunset before we headed for another region."
"This trip marked the end of our plans for 2021. A year rich with travel, encounters, and emotions. These same words will guide our adventures for 2022 and beyond, focusing on experiences we’ve lived. We're not going to do away with our signature action videos, but we will extend our field of action to other formats that we haven’t mastered yet, and that motivates the whole team.
Since many of you ask about our passions, our work, or to sum up more simply our way of life, we will take you into the heart of it. These books are the first step in the process, and I hope you’ll be pleased with our coming productions.
Here is one recent example
of the type of content that we intend to provide more of in the feature, like a documentary-type format to complement our videos.
We’ll see you very soon! Thank you!"Rider
: Kilian Bron Directed by
: Kilian BronFilm & Edit
: Pango Visual Drone FPV
: Cinematic Flow Photography
: JB Liautard
, Nico Brizin
, Pango Visual