An Epic Adventure Through Castile and Leon, Spain

Jan 26, 2015 at 6:19
by Alvaro Hernandez  
Views: 6,939    Faves: 10    Comments: 4

Last time our guide, Jorge Talus rode trails by Picos de Urbión, in Castile and Leon, was about two years ago with a friend. As María Sánchez, owner of Entrerrobles camp place at Valdeavellano de Tera, knew about our MTB trips she invited us to her place and was looking forward to be included in our destination catalogue. Nestled in Sierra Cebollera, Entrerrobles camping is well known in the mushroom culture world, this and their famed roast were the perfect excuse to go back to Urbión, explore a new trail and produce a nice feature and video.

Amazing views to Sierra Cebollera

On Saturday we woke up at 6am and drove to Montenegro de Cameros, the last village of Soria province, enclosed at the bottom of a gorgeous valley. Our idea was to climb to Pico Urbión (2228m) from Santa Inés pass, riding trails on a crest and passing through a very exposed area to reach the summit. Then we’d go round the cirque to make a downhill to the lake searching what on the map looks like an amazing singletrack that ends in the road that links Montenegro de Cameros with Viniegra de Arriba and Viniegra de Abajo. We decided to leave the van in Montenegro to avoid climbing two mountain passes at the end of the day. At 8am we start climbing Santa Inés pass, 10km of road with nice weather and with no cars at all, strange thing on a Saturday morning. It’s because we are in one of Spain’s less inhabited areas. Beech forest and pines lit by the early morning rays and our amazing Canyon Nerve 29er bicycles with locked suspension that climb and make the way up faster. In less than one hour we are at the bar on top of the road, already with warm legs. There’s a small ski station in the middle of nowhere. But as the bar is open we get some Spanish chorizo sandwiches we hope give us strength, it’ll be a long day.

Nice descends reaching Pico Urbion

Once off road the trail starts going up gently from Santa Inés, there’s a couple of steep climbs but nothing serious. Until we crown the summit we’ll be riding the border between La Rioja and Castile and León. Landscapes that start to disclose in zones without threes as we climb and go down over the crest impress us deeply with its beauty and majesty in a way that shrinks our souls. Over to the right are mountains, valleys and ranges of La Rioja, Sierra de la Demanda, etc. Over to the left we have Soria, Picos de Urbión, a spectacular valley with the monumental village of Vinuesa at the end, Quintanar de la Sierra, Duruelo de la Sierra, etc. Suffering starts to reward.

Epic Adventure - Castile and Leon Spain

A few kilometres further we turn left and start climbing over a steep trail covered with grass that makes it even worse, it’s nice… but hard. Trees star to vanish slowly and our GPS says we are reaching 2000m high. The trail starts to be more technical with stones and wait… snow! It’s not deep but it’s impossible to ride. In dry conditions, even being so steep we could probably ride the bikes. To escape suffering we stop to shoot some pictures and video, we came here to record our experience for those who’d dare to come with us in the future. Temperatures start to drop and the wind starts to blow and we confirm we are reaching the high mountain area. As we go up over the alpine zone Pico Urbión reveals its pile of rocks, we cheer up, already there! done! it looks like we can reach it with our own hands… Talus calculates with our GPS and tells us that we are at 2km “straight”. This is the majesty of mountains, of great outdoors, its magnitude makes us do mistakes, miscalculations. It might look like done but there’s still much effort to be put in to achieve.

Nice descends reaching the Pico Urbion

As we start reaching “small” 2100m summits hike a bike segments appear, we have to carry the bikes over our backs. Anyway, in between those little peaks we enjoy short dream down hills with views to the cirque with its lakes and the snow. Shortly it looks like we are watching one of those spectacular videos that crowd the internet… Nepal, Canada, Alps… The solitude and no sign of civilization on sight during many kilometres make us feel like we are in The Andes. We laugh, climb, carry, suffer… sometimes we look at each other perplexed for today’s great feat. This amount of snow was not on our plans for today. Feelings invade us, maybe today we are crossing the line, risking more than we should. But there’s no option, we only have this day to make this trail and produce a feature. Many emotions come to us.

Amazing views to Sierra Cebollera

Hiking the bikes to reach Pico Urbion.

Amazing views to Sierra Cebollera

Almost without noticing we are on the last climb to Pico Urbión, over the crest. This one is tough, impressive. Bikes again on our backs and we climb, it’s better not to think, in this situation you’d better focus on the ground and watch where you step, one foot after the other.

Hiking the bikes to the top of Pico Urbion

And so, step by step we make it to the first ledge, right before the summit, just a few meters to the peak. The most difficult part is done, that’s what we thought, but mountains always have unexpected plans. Amongst narrow passages in the pile of rocks that make Pico Urbión, a few brave hikers look at us astonished as some Ibex did in Gredos. Their eyes wide open make us guess the questions that go through their minds. Why? How? As one of the hikers passes by Alvaro carrying his bike over a snow climb she tells him “you are really brave… you rock guys!”

Hiking the bike to crown Pico Urbion

Handling the bikes to reach the top of Pico Urbion

We shoot some pictures for the memories and carry on a bit more, a few minutes and we make summit. Happiness invades us, we hug, brag our great feat. After a short break we start descending to the cirque by a trail well marked over the ledge.

We pass by a cliff called Peñas Blancas (White rocks), it’s very impressive from any perspective, the snow makes us get off the bike in some segments, but not for long.

Top of Pico Urbion

After Peñas Claras our plan was to start the descent of the day over a trail that goes down the slope to the cirque between Peñas Claras and other 2100m peak. Here we found our big surprise of the day. The trail is covered by a huge thick snowfield, if we want to go down over here the only way is a steep snow wall. At the end of May, carrying our bikes… not an option. We could unleash an avalanche and it could be fatal.

Top of Pico Urbion

Descending from Pico Urbion.

We keep going until the next peak seeking another downhill option, the only one is a steep wall full of rocks and mud that ends in the lakes prairie. Not many more options and all our expectations are on the final singletrack at the bottom of the valley, on paper it looks like a jewel and we came here to find jewels we can offer to those who’d like to travel with us, quality has a price. We decided to take this option, not an easy one, the one that involves a considerable amount of risk. The ground is loose and wet and as we start descending the rocky and sandy ground starts to vanish under our feet. Those are moments of thick stress. So we decided to keep it calm, take our time and descend as slowly as necessary. Even so we had a bad time. This a 200m vertical descent in 500m and it takes more than one hour, placing the bikes as we go by, sometimes as brakes, others as crutches.

As we reach the fold we keep going down, in complete silence. Each one with his own thoughts and fears. After a while we decided to stop for lunch, relax and let go of this situation we got into and was totally unexpected. This is how mountains are, always keeping the last ace. As much as we see ourselves self-sufficient, it’s always the mountain that lets you go by or not.

Having lunch after a really dangerous descend from Pico Urbion

After lunch we start riding again, descending over beautiful alpine meadows and folds. The trail is not always clear and we have to walk for moments. So we spent another two hours for 5km. Walking and riding some fun segments, crossing some creeks, what an adventure… Finally after passing a shelter the trail is more rideable and we start to have fun along Urbión creek. Next 9km are our reward, the key to all the suffering we had passed. The trail is almost downhill all the way, only a short ups that any can pass carrying speed, as we reach the last few kilometres it gets better and better, some fast segments, some sketchy, rocks and fast flow that alternate. Finally we get to the road. A sign at the beginning of the trail says Pico Urbión 4h. It’s been epic, Pico Urbión is 2228m high and we are now at 1019m.

Descending the amazing Valley of the Urbion river

There’s still a long climb to Montenegro pass along a narrow road at the bottom of a nice valley. Then a 5km descent back to Montenegro, the village where we left our van. Shortly we are at Viniegra de Arriba, a charming village with houses made of stone and only 17 inhabitants. Some raindrops start to fall and temperatures lower again. We’ve been riding for 10 hours. Right after leaving Viniegra, a man with a truck appears on the road, we start waving without hesitation and he stops and gives Jorge a lift to the top of the road, where he’ll feed his cattle, so Jorge can go for the van. As Alvaro and Jose Carlos keep pedalling up, the man tells Jorge about how hard is life in those valleys, despite being born in Viniegra, mostly during the long and cold winter in such an isolated and uninhabited place. He is a nice guy, gentle and looks like he appreciates some new company. Jorge and the farmer part ways at Montenegro pass, as Jorge rides at 60 km/h down the road, he enjoys the amazing views of the mountains, 5 km of cold ride until he reaches our van. Off the bike and cuts the ride on the GPS he realizes we’ve been 11 hours riding, thanks to the farmer that saved us a couple of hours more and a tough climb. He drives back to Viniegra and picks up Alvaro and Jose Carlos. We head back to Entrerrobles camping with flashbacks of today’s adventure. We are exhausted but happy we finished today’s tour in one piece despite the snow and finding that amazing singletrack at the end of an epic trail. Unharmed after that rock wall descent but with our camera loaded with pictures and clips that will give you an impression of what this experience was. Back in Entrerrobles, Maria feeds us with an amazing back to life dinner with mushroom specialities as we watch Champions League final match and tell her our mountain tales. A long day, a great day that will last in our hearts for a long time, surely forever.

www.trackmtb.com organizes Enduro/All Mountain trips to the top spots in Spain. Visit our Trip page or follow us in Facebook to be aware of our events and don’t miss our trips. You can come to all adventures and experiences posted here.


MENTIONS: @trackmtb




60 Comments

  • + 7
 I am confused... Where did it hurt?
  • + 3
 All-over, from the sound of things.
  • + 4
 Thank you for your comment @pasukaru5 did you read the text? Music choice was tough, there was a big argument in the team wether using "Hurt" or "Sail" from Awolnation used in tons of MTB videos, but... as we really didn't see nobody sailing on a boat nowhere... we thought "Hurt" would describe better the hiking in the snow and the descend we made hiking the bikes across a muddy hillside plenty of rock, risking more that a hurtful fall. Any way let me know a list of your music preferences and I'll see if they can be included in some of our next edits.
  • + 2
 definitely a perfect music choice! great edit!!
  • + 1
 Cool, now I get it. Thanks, great vid
  • + 2
 Muy Bonicas las fotos pero de ¿donde son?, de ¿Castile and Leon? jajajajjajajajaja dejaos de tontunas, los guiris no ponen "Nueballork"(Newyork) para que nos suene mejor a nosotros...."Castile and Leon" es una broma, mas que nada si alguien busca eso en un mapa de España ya puede buscar..... Tu has visitado Castilla y León joder, que es su nombre desde hace cientos de años,no os inventéis algo y encima se la coléis a la peña....

For all people: "Castile and Leon"-> Castilla y León
  • + 0
 www.turismocastillayleon.com/es

Me parece estupendo que los Ingleses llamen "Castile" a Castilla, es lo mismo que si hablamos en castellano de "Colonia" a Köln en una publicación de habla alemana en alemán . Aparte no se quien puñetas hará esas traducciones a medias ni por que...¿Lo dice la wikipedia? ¿Pueden traducir "Castile" pero no León? Suena mal y feo, que lo escriba alguien no autóctono puede tener un pase... Si traducen algo que lo hagan bien: Castile and Lion (personalmente me parece un chiste). Por cierto estupendo el vídeo y vaya par con el frio que hace!
Creo que podríamos discutir mucho de esto , pero el mensaje que quiero dar es no mezclemos churras con merinas. ¡Castilla y León forever! jajajajajaj
  • + 3
 Pues dejaivos de llamar Anberes a Antwerp, o Brujas a Brugge, o mismo Oporto a Porto. Lo veo una pasada seres los que mas doblan, traducen o cambian palabras en idioma original extranjero y quejarvos que los demas lo hagan.
  • - 2
 Tu si eres de Porto, te refieres a tu ciudad en tu idioma como Porto,no como Oporto(como lo diria un Castellano parlante),eso es lo que critico aquí. No critico que los Ingleses conozcan Castilla y León como Casile and Leon, que puede ser normal aunque sea una chapuza a medio traducir...No tiene nada que ver con que se traduzcan o doblen palabras....¿Ponte do Lima es Puente de Lima en castellano?jajajajajajajaja no....Ponte do Lima es Ponte do Lima en Portugal,en Rusia,en China y aqui....¿Tu le hablarías a otro portugués de Puente de Lima?me parece que no.....¿y a un inglés le hablarías de Bridge Of Lima?
  • + 3
 Ya, comprendo lo que dices, pero para mi es y sera Castilha e Leão, aún que comprenda el original, la traducción inglesa o otra.

Me haces echar de menos Ponte de Lima, que saudades!

Saludos
  • + 3
 No hace daño ser políglota. Si todo el texto está en Inglés...
  • + 8
 yeah
  • + 5
 No hablo espanol
  • + 5
 the one that cracks me up is in the Spanish press they talk about Reina Isabella and Principe Carlos de Inglaterra,, whothef*ckisthat !?

Rolleyes
  • + 5
 Realmente es una pena el ruido que has hecho en vez de fijarte en detalles más importantes como la calidad del reportaje y el contenido.
  • + 1
 estoy de accuerdo

España tiene muchissimo para ver!

www.cicloide.com/mapa.php?MOD=BTT#lt=40.200000&ln=-3.000000&z=6&t=2
  • + 2
 Hombre @homerjm parece que tienes que demostrar tu punto a toda costa. te agradecemos los comentarios de la calidad del video pero definitivamente si no te das cuenta de que el artículo está en inglés y por eso el nombre también, además no nos lo inventamos, hasta spain.info que es una página OFICIAL de información de España lo pone así. Por otro lado hemos recibido un montón de turistas que han visto la meseta desde lo alto de la Sierra de Guadarrama y les hemos dicho "Castile and Leon" y lo han entendido a la primera, con lo cual es una expresión ampliamente usada. Otra cosa es que tu quieras ir dando lecciones y diciendo cosas como que es una "tontuna" o que "nos lo hemos inventado y se lo hemos colado a la peña", la verdad es que esas valoraciones no vienen a cuento.

Además te lo ha explicado @joaovasco y ni caso, erre que erre. Sorry for the english speaking guys @iffy, @Novic and @clackbot for being involved in this discussion. And @iffy just great and accurate comment about the english press calling your Queen Isabel and Prince Carlos... LOL!
  • + 2
 Muy bien, igual creo que Oporto es el Licor, siempre he conocido la ciudad como Porto. Excelente reportaje muchachos y tremendas bicis. No he podido ver el video pero lo veré luego.
  • + 3
 Gracias @diego-b
  • - 1
 Efectivamente es mi opinión...y me disculpo por las formas. Si consultas a cualquier experto te dirá que sobre esto hay arduos debates en la actualidad,sobre que cosas se deben traducir y cuales no,no solo en castellano sino en casi todos los idiomas. Que suena absurdo,a mi entender si....Si quieres vender España véndelo tal cual, sin traducir que la gente ya se buscará las mañas para entender lo que lee o no hacerlo,repito es mi opinión. Cuando las personas viajan intentan involucrarse con la cultura el idioma y otras muchas cosas...
  • + 3
 Haha totally
  • + 1
 muy bien !! Bueno !! That's all I know...hahhaha.
  • + 4
 Just an English comment passing thru
  • + 3
 Wow, the word "epic" has finally been used properly!
  • + 1
 Thanks! It was, we have a story coming that was even more Wink
  • + 3
 Now that is my idea of a great Spanish vacation.
  • + 1
 thanks @kwp2011 there are warmer places Wink , but this one was pretty amazing!
  • + 2
 Wow, I don't know, possibly too much hiking for me, i'd die halfway !! Great effort
  • + 1
 Dying was not a possibility @pigman65 ;-) we found another way to do this tour in that trip. We are sure that without snow we would have been able to bike a lot more, at the end we found a mouth watering 9km singletrack!
  • + 2
 I'm glad you made it back Smile
  • + 2
 Great adventure, Ill try to join on a next trip when i get my new ride! cheers
  • + 1
 new ride? we want details! @jooose! que te has pillado?
  • + 3
 indeed a great choice of soundtrack... fitting the whole experience!
  • + 3
 Fantastic!
  • + 1
 Thanks!
  • + 2
 Just gorgeous landscape and killer riding
  • + 2
 you guys actually looked stoked in one picture this time around. good job!
  • + 1
 Hahahaha we'll try harder next time!
  • + 2
 great choice of soundtrack....... mmm
  • + 2
 No Words.... Just. Desire!
  • + 1
 This is definitely a great tour... in summer Razz
  • + 1
 I'll take THAT kind of January bikin. Anytime. I have absurdly cold with a chance of getting run down by skidoo's. Razz Wink Big Grin
  • + 1
 LOL!
  • + 0
 Knee high socks and no knee pads......so that´s what is in for #trenduro in 2015
  • + 1
 Hahahaha! those socks are for protection from bushes, there were some knee pads on the downhill! And look carefully in the pic where we are eating... Jorge with the green helmet has knee pads! Wink
  • + 1
 They should be on enduro bikes.
  • + 1
 You are right! we went with lent bikes, but they were trail bikes. Now we are on nice Enduro bikes! Thanks!
  • + 1
 Looks like a great adventure! Thanks for sharing.
  • + 1
 It was @MaxBerkowitz thank you for reading and commenting!
  • + 1
 Great stuff! Adventures like this are what mtn biking is all about
  • + 1
 Thanks @BryceBorlick! We like it like that! Wink
  • + 1
 woooow. Hay que ir
  • + 1
 Si @mrbastard, pero hasta Junio con la que ha caído no creo que esté en condiciones "ciclables", mas bien peor que en el video. Seguramente por esa época sacaremos un viaje para ir un finde. Estas en España?
  • + 1
 Si! acabo de agregaros al FB
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.064641
Mobile Version of Website