The first every Transpyr MTB adventure took place in June of this year, and to reveal exactly what the event was like to take part in, Andy Gwatkin has kindly taken the time to write a great report from the event:
Hot, sunny days in June can mean a lot of things to a lot of people but from now on for MTB stage racers they should mean the Transpyr.
2010 saw the first edition of a new event that takes riders from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, traversing the Pyrenees along the way. Setting off from Roses on the coast in Catalunya, riders had 8 days, nearly 900km and around 20,000m of height gain ahead of them.
Any riding in the Pyrenees is good but the Transpyr makes it even better, the organisation was superb and ran like clockwork, the type of organisation that is associated with the TransAlp and other stage races. Plus the trails and terrain that the organisers Oriol and Francesc of Anayet Sport Marketing chose were superb.
Each day the riders passed through beautiful scenery, superb climbs and descents, beautiful mountain villages and then had good facilities at each overnight stop. In this first year of the event a total of just under a hundred riders from all over Europe took part but already the indications are that there will be many more next year.
The rider feedback was quite simply fantastic, in particular praising the organisation and the quality of trails used. This was no easy event but had something rewarding for everyone and from day one it was clear that it was going to be an epic.
Setting off just after dawn from the beach in Roses the riders headed towards the mountains that loomed in the distance. It was a beautiful sunny day with sunlight playing off the sea and a perfect temperature for riding. For the first few hours the trails were wide and dusty, taking the stretched out peloton through farmland and gently climbing up from the coast. The first two feed stations came and went quickly and as was the case throughout the whole ride, they were well stocked to keep the competitors going. After about 80km though the terrain started to change in a big way, the height gain taking riders up into the mountains with the views opening up and lush forestation all around. Dry dusty trails were replaced by technical singletrack, rocks, stones, even some mud. As the kilometres piled on, so did the fatigue in the legs and right at the end of the day was the toughest climb of all so by the time everyone descended down into the stage finish in Camprodon they knew they’d been on a ride!
That was just the start, the 7 days that followed were full of adventures, great riding and great company. The spirit amongst riders was the typical one of a stage race, lots of looking out for each other, some chatting along the way where terrain allowed, lots of new acquaintances made and some friendships struck up, the inevitable crash or two and more than a few mechanicals but overall a great sense of friendship and satisfaction.
Of course in the mountains the sun did not shine all the time, well it wouldn’t be a true mountain experience without a bit of rain would it? And yes, the wind did turn into a headwind now and then. But all of that just added to the challenge and inevitably the sense of achievement at the end of each day The sense of achievement was particularly great for all those who made it to the end, on the last day with the end in sight, all the tough climbs completed and the prospect of reaching San Sebastian and the ocean ahead!
Riding was exhausting but organising the Transpyr and making it all run so smoothly was tough too. Simply put the organisers did a great job, professionally looking after everyone and ensuring that all the riders went away happy. Logistically speaking they were feeding a moving army, the numbers are staggering, 2,500 litres of water distributed at the feed zones, over 2,000kg of pasta consumed in the post stage meals, hundreds of energy bars, watermelons, loaves of bread, the numbers just go on… Already the blogs and videos have sprung up and chatter has turned to planning for next year. Everyone will be back for sure and joined by many new riders too, 2011 looks set to be a truly epic Transpyr!! See you on the trails.
Tickle your fancy? Head over to www.transpyr.com where you can find out more about the event and enter the 2011 edition.
There’s some stunning photos here which give a good indication of what the stage race looked like to those taking part.