This is a Mountain Bike Masterpiece , like this, in capitals! A compilation of landscape, effort, and final award with the long descent to Ainsa. There are long and though climbs, gorgeous beauty all around, and enough singletrail to make forget your pain.
The route enters the Pyrenees of Aragon right after the start, following a valley steady up for the first ten kilometres, on a mixed asphalt-gravel surface. Right after reaching the plains, it is necessary to join and ride on a beautiful quiet road which will allow you to recover a little bit. Once the first food station reached at about K 20, you are warm enough to face the second climb of the day. Surrounding the peculiarly shaped mountain of Turbón , this is a peaceful area of outstanding beauty, with the close natural surroundings and the high peaks of the Pyrenees as a background decoration. It does follow a descent on a tricky, walking path, where the most technically prepared will ride on most of it, and others will walk…and enjoy better the landscape! It is short and soon you will reach a mountain hut in the middle of a small meadow and enter a wide forest track, which, still continuing down the valley, will bring you to the second food station of the stage. It is located in a place where you will get all you need to recover and get ready for a still quite demanding remaining part of the itinerary. This lat part of the stage consists of a long ascent to a cute pass called Collado Gulliver , first half on a local road traversing to small villages both with fountains, and the second part on gravel tracks and trails, very steep in certain sections, rocky, and probably dry and dusty. It really is a though climb, but the award once you reach the small pass and the landscapes opens worths it!
Once and finally reached the third food station located in La Collada below the rocky mountain of Peña Montañesa, you will have the chance to discover the reputed mountain biking destination of Ainsa Zona Zero by a crazy compilation of singletrails: even more than you probably are capable to fully enjoy at this point of the stage, but that you could never miss! Mind that some sections of these singletrails might be too much engaging to be done on the bike for you.
4-1 Turbón, 20 km ; 850 + ; 350 –
It does begin right after the first food station, on an open forest track that consistently gains elevation for about 5 KS. There is afterwards a rest down the plains on the same type of trails, until the track turns to the left and progressively the terrain changes to more rocky and rough, in some sections even uncomfortable to ride, nevertheless being the technical challenge very low. In the last part before reaching the pass under El Turbón where the finish line is located, there could remain some fallen trees of the heavy winter. Many have been retired, but some could still be crossing the trail, although it is not a big trouble to get them trough.
4-2 La Collada, 22 km ; 800 + ; 650 –
This timed sector begins right after the village of Viu, about the K 64 of the stage, when the third and last long climb of the day quits the asphalt to continue on gravel trails. As stated in the general description, this is a steep and though ascent until we reach the pass Collado Gulliver . At least some parts of the climb are inside the forest thus protected from the strong Sun at this moment of the day. Once in the pass, the trail crosses a small meadow and gets inside the forest following a nice singletrail for a while, now in a more relaxed ascent. Again into forest tracks that includes a short descent, finally the track leads to the higher pass of La Collada, from where the timed sector begins the descent to Torrelisa, almost 10 kilometres combining some forest trails with a majority of singletrail. It is strongly recommended to stop and cater at the third food station located at the pass La Collada , because although being inside the timed sector, the downhill coming next will require your maximal attention, skills and strength. It rates from fluent to technically challenging, especially for those not used to light enduro mountain biking, with several hot spots where depending on your level you might wish to do them on foot: we beg for your responsibility here and do not hesitate to do so in these mentioned occasions!
(consider them as approximated)
Stage distance: 97 km
Timed Sectors: 42 km
Liaisons: 55 km
Stage elevation: 2900 m
Stage descent: 3200 m
KEEP IN MIND:
Pay attention to the fast potentially dangerous first descent on the asphalt road, which includes a tunnel – with probably wet surface- and where very high speeds can be reached.
Avoid having problems or an accident right after the finish line of the first timed sector ( Turbón ): it would be complicated to pick you out from there…
Be careful right after the second food station as you will cross a village and you will have to cross the main road on foot afterwards.
The combination of the last singletrails heading down to Ainsa is not very difficult. However, top concentration and allowing short rests are paramount to stay safe as you will probably be very tired at that point of the day! Moreover, depending on the rider skill level, some parts can be even difficult to ride, being the clever choice to get off the bike to overcome them.