Seven experts opening new paths in mountain biking

Explorers detail the work done on April 2

On April 2, seven experienced mountain bike riders made an expedition to check the route of the Pyrenean Pass which Saint Josemaria followed in the autumn of 1937. This route is called the Andorra Trail and also Rosa del Nord. The objective was to propose a route for mountain biking from the Puente de Peramola to Sant Julià de Lòria, with a total length of about 146 km. It is one of the most unexplored mountain biking areas in Catalonia and we believe it can have a lot of potential.

We hope that, in the very near future, we can celebrate a cycling team self-sufficiency race that travels these paths so loaded with history. That would be a dream come true!

A draft of the full tour can be found at the following link: https://ca.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=8986986.

The expedition proposed dividing the work of validation in 4 sections of the route. Each stretch would be done by a group of 2-3 cyclists. Each group would then analyze the route to detect conflicting sections, errors in the provisional layout, etc. However, in the end we were only able to explore two of the four stretches, with the study the 2nd section (Coll de Nargó – Organyà) and 4th (Aravell – Sant Julià de Lòria) remaining.

Section 1: Pallerols – Coll de Nargó (42 km)

Team 1: Toni S, Fran P and Miguel C

Link to the route: https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=17086635

Leaving Pallerols, the first 7 km are passable and runs through beautiful and leafy landscapes. After this first section, we reach pronounced slopes (13-19%) with thick stone and rocks. To avoid these slopes, we believe that there would be alternatives, such as going down to the bottom of the valley (avoiding going on the deviation from the right that we had taken).

At one of the high points, after a long, technical and heavy climb, we have to cross an electrified truffle field. Once crossed, and to the left of this one, we have to cross a fence of 2 meters and a wire of electric current. We arrive at Ramoneda and we return to go on a track of ascent that little by little gets complicated and keeps on increasing. We started to see the town of Gavarra. It is a long climb, but, above all, uncomfortable and technically demanding, and, in some stretches, it is almost obligatory to put foot on land. It can be said that it is a track for four-wheels, but not for mountain biking. It’s more for walking or horseback riding.

Upon arriving at the detour of Coll de Nargó or house of Aubenç, we opt for the second (top right). Nevertheless, after 500m of climbing, we go back given the impossibility to turn the bicycle pedals due to the strong slope and the impracticable terrain. If we wanted to get to Aubenç we should climb on foot for almost 3 km. Not worth it.

We go to Coll de Nargó and we connect with the track that leaves the road that goes to Gavarra. We take this track in the direction of Coll de Nargó and we do not leave it until we reach this town. Going down, we find paths that run up to Aubenç.

Section 3: Organyà – Aravell River (53 Km)

Team 2: Eduard M, Martí G, Ousman U (from Ghana) and Josep Maria T

Link to the route: https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=17187014

The objective of the second team was to explore the section between Organyà and the surroundings of Adrall, when the road crosses the Pyrenean Axis in its PK 234.5. To achieve this, we have to crown the mountain of Ares and then descend through the Baridà stream to Noves de Segre, and then up the Segre river, until the confluence of the N-260 with the Aravell river.

The climb to Ares was done along the track that starts from the Tresponts gorge, specifically in PK 165.8 of the C-14. It is an ascent of 10.7 km, with slopes that oscillate between 10 and 15%, and a total of 14 pronounced curves. In general, going up is achievable, since the track is often travelled by 4×4 and itis quite well maintained. However, there are stretches where it is difficult to climb without losing balance because of loose stones, but, in total, it is not more than 1500 meters and we are in the final stretch. The highest point is at 1466 m, and it is a magnificent watchtower of the valley of the Segre, the valley of Cabó, the Cadí and the mountains of Andorra. If we wanted to get to the village of Ares we would have to descend about 600 meters to the 1400th level, but we were not there for tourism, so we preferred to continue the trip as we still had a few kilometres to finish, although we had already finished most of the unevenness.

On the descent towards Borda del Baridá, we go on the track that leaves the Borda de Conorbau. Once in the Borda del Baridá, we continue descending following the walking tour signalized with blue and yellow, and that is a mistake. Up to Baridá, we can still go down, even though the road is quite dirty and full of annoying stones. Now, from this point onwards, and when the road bends into the torrent of the Baridá, it already becomes impracticable. Therefore, it is clear that the good option is to take the track that starts at the Borda del Baridà (there is a chain that indicates the beginning) and takes to the end of the torrent and to a quarry. Once there, we take the track that goes to the left and ascends to Noves de Segre.

From this point onwards, about 11 km of road per track remain, which are mostly flat and follow the course of the river Segre by its right bank, with some gentle climbs. In this section, we pass along some ‘historic’ farmhouses, such as Cal Pallarès.

We finished the tour on the bridge of the N-260 on the Aravell river, where a vehicle to return to the starting point was waiting for us.