Dirt Waves in the Bardenas Reales Desert
David Cachon has left behind the first part of his adventure, an amazing journey that took him along one of the most exposed rock-cut trails in the world. In the distance are those mountains, cliffs and wooden walkways that took our breath away. Now the time has come for a complete change of scenery, SR Suntour’s GVX fork performed brilliantly on ultra-technical mountain trails, drawing lines fearlessly and absorbing all the rocks from the winding trails. But how will it react to the opposite ?: Heat, dry ground, brittle firm, ruts, dust. The time of the desert has come.
Dirt surfing by pedal
The Bardenas Reales Desert is just under an hour from David’s house, it really is amazing, it is a strong contrast because it is only 70 km from the Pyrenees, it is a place that he knows well. “I have ridden there many times and I am aware that it is a very special area and not always easy”.
This place can confuse you, visually it is so brutal that it can make our minds and our imaginations go beyond our limitations. In certain areas of this desert it is difficult to ride a bicycle, but it is definitely worth exploring.
Its fauna and flora are more typical of the African continent than of the north of the Iberian Peninsula, becoming a paradise once for crocodiles and turtles.
Today, eagles, vultures, owls, bustards, foxes, wildcats, genets, amphibians and reptiles roam among bushes, “sisallar”, salt and “espartales”. It’s like finding an oasis in the middle of the desert… Only the other way around.
When only you, the bike and the environment matter
Losing yourself between kilometres and kilometres of roads surrounded by brutal bad-lands, formed by the erosion of harsh weather conditions, are a good indication that things can get difficult here if you make mistakes. That is why it is important to have good material, thought out and focused on what you can find.
The route that Cachon prepared for this adventure was under 100 km but he assures you that it is very hard considering that he wanted it to pass through some of the most difficult to access places in the Bardenas. Very technical places that do not allow error. A technical riding that allowed him to put the new Gravel fork to the test, but long and intense enough to see if the fork was capable of mitigating the joint and positional pain that he would suffer in the following days if he did it with a rigid Gravel fork.
“The adventure was epic, an endless number of ruts, furrows, ditches, loose soil, areas of a lot of dust and heart attack ridges. Leave me nothing to do, test or ride. I ended up exhausted but very satisfied. It is that feeling of knowing that it has been hard, you are very tired but at the same time you are very happy because it has been epic”.
Evolve or die
There are people who do not understand why some things must evolve, they think that certain changes lead us to the wrong places. “I am sorry to contradict them and tell them that we are in a world in which we must always have a totally open mind to new evolutions, changes and above all to speak when we have really tried or studied them. That’s when we can provide a constructive opinion based on something real”.
The suspension forks on Gravel bikes do not take us towards MTB, they make us reach higher, longer goals and in better physical condition practicing a very special modality. Why to torture and limit ourselves just by trying to be faithful to a purism, which doesn’t really exist? The bicycle has evolved since its inception and so has the sport. We have a good example in the Ebikes.
“I have always defended electric bikes, they are incredible and open a universe to our sport. I remember the day I tried one of the first ones (many years ago…) I firmly affirmed that it was a new open universe for MTB, that they seemed incredible to me and that they would undoubtedly be the future. Everyone criticised me saying that this was not Mountain Bike and many worse things that I will not tell you here (laughs). None of those people had tried them, but they were afraid, they felt attacked by the unknown, they were comfortable in their plots, they did not want to evolve. Today all of them go out into the mountains with electric bicycles and defend them at all costs. It’s funny, don’t you think? My advice is this: try, compare, evolve … or die. (laughs)”
A new level has come to the age of Gravel!!!!
Photography & Film: David Ponce
Video editing: Alberto Porras