Narrow Trails on a GSA?
The valley, surrounding landscape, river and campground where we stayed, all share the same name – Isabena. It’s a beautiful, rugged and unspoiled part of northern Spain, inviting return trips and further exploration.
Our hosts were fantastic, looking after our every need; not least laying on amazing breakfast and evening meals. An inviting pool to cool down in the afternoons and shaded pitches for mine and PP’s tents. We met many other like-minded individuals, some motorcyclists, others simply there to explore the region.
Hot, hot, hot! Is the best way to describe our two days…. Before setting off, I’d debated the virtues of taking the lighter-weight mesh jacket and, whilst PP’s voice had been intended as one of reason, was beginning to regret his advice to wear full Badlands Pro. Despite the ventilation which works well at speed, it's simply too heavy and cumbersome; both for the trails and for much of the journey home in temperatures which rose into the mid 30’s
We’d prearranged our guide, Angel, for both days, to explore the trails and scenery of the surrounding area. Staying at Isabena with his family, he rocked up promptly at 09h20, on his KTM 650 enduro - we already new we might be in for a challenge.
Day 1 was pretty eventful…the wider introductory unpaved trails quickly gave way to more challenging ‘billy goat’ tracks. SC was the first to drop his bike; a small spill and no damage done aside from a little loss of pride. Mine was cocky over-confidence - having settled into riding on the pegs, I’d was over zealous in my attempt to copy a jump that Angel had performed…the much heavier GSA and I became separated in the air and….ooops...now the paintwork needs a little TLC!!
PP’s 'off' was extremely modest on the face of it; his bike leaning to one side on a gentle treelined lane of grass and sand…but for the fact that none of us could see Phil…who’d proceeded to roll down a 20-foot bank, bruising his ribs in the process!
Despite the inevitable discomfort, he was otherwise OK and we pushed on to a rocky lookouttower, to take in the amazing landscape.
Setting off, we soon discovered SC’s rear tyre had a puncture… Perhaps fortuitous in terms of timing (we’d been out for only three hours, though were all exhausted by the crazy heat), we headed several kilometres into a nearby town, before setting about temporary tyre repairs.
Whilst the plugs didn’t hold, they reduced the escape of air enough that we felt we could have a welcome break, a cold drink at a café, in some shade! Heading up to one final summit gave us all a good sense of achievement, before heading back to base.
Getting back to campground mid-afternoon, Angel, Anna and the team were fantastic. First in trying to make better repairs to the puncture; second, finding SC a suitable garage where a new tyre could be fitted the next afternoon, ahead of the journey home. Over a few drinks we took the wise decision that day 2 of our trail riding should be on Isabena’s rental Yamaha 450 Enduros! Perhaps, with the benefit of hindsight, these might have been a more prudent choice on day 1?!?