Jalon Square BTT Bernia 2011Chatting to our mechanic as he repaired the car he told me about a mountain bike race in the local village of Jalon over the coming weekend.  Having never entered a race of this type I thought it might be worth a go, assuming that is I could get an entry.

Trawling the internet I found the BTT Bernia site and found that to enter I had to make a bank transfer within the hour then email a copy of the receipt to them and take the original on the day to complete the entry, after a bit of rushing about I had my entry.

Arriving on Sunday morning in Jalon not sure where to go I headed into the town square and found a group of bikers wandering into a bar and returning with numbers.  The registration was a bit frantic in typical Spanish style, with lots of raised voices, but friendly none the less.

Sitting in the square waiting for the start I surveyed the scene, some nervous looking riders where checking and rechecking their bikes whilst others sat around chatting and looking relaxed.  I, on the other hand, was somewhere in the middle, having only had two days to prepare, there was no time to become nervous, but not knowing what to expect I was apprehensive.

BTT Bernia 2011 StartAs the gun went off I was about mid-pack and ready for the off, the course started easily enough but then headed up the Bernia road which if you where going all the way to the top is about 11km of continuous climb, luckily we only went about 5km before peeling off along the edge of a field and then down the side of a dry riverbed back towards Jalon.  This downhill single track was great fun although I did manage to catch a bush with the end of the bars and fired myself at the scenery, luckily for me this was one of the slower sections.

A short walk BTT Bernia 2011Back on the road and heading towards Jalon at great speed I was glad of my bikes higher than usual gearing.  Through the village we went and back out onto some more single track before heading up a road for 2km or so and then back across fields and down barrancas (terracing).  A refreshment stop was provide in the middle with bananas, energy bars, water and energy drinks, a quick stop was taken before heading across a ford and up a steep road through an urbanisation, this turned very steep and a short walk was in order.  A bit more single track with a couple of short technical downhill’s and then we headed along the side of the valley towards the village of Lliber.  Skirting the village and crossing the dry riverbed I managed to catch a few more people before the return leg back to Jalon.

I finished the course in about 2hrs 20mins and thoroughly enjoyed it and will certainly be entering next year.