An MTB trip is an amazing experience and to make it all the more memorable, for all the right reasons, it’s recommendable to prepare things properly. Here are our 7 tips to make your MTB trip to La Sierra de Madrid, Spain, an amazing experience...
1- Know your destination.
The Sierra de Guadarrama is the mountain range which forms the Eastern section of the “Sistema Central”, the system of mountain ranges which cross the centre of Spain.
It’s located between the ranges of the “Sierra de Gredos” in the province of Avila, and the “Sierra de Ayllón” in the province of Guadalajara. The Guadarrama range measures approximately 80 kilometres (50 miles) in length with its highest peak being Peñalara at 2,428 metres (7,966 ft) in elevation.
The trail network is fully natural, with hundreds of kilometres of singletrack to enjoy throughout the whole range.
The “Sierra” as we call it offers an impressive variety of terrain, from deep woods to open rocky trails and alpine peaks, all of which shows up in the trails. While these trails require different levels of technical and physical skill, we highly recommend that to ride here you need to have at least an intermediate level in both regards.
Check some videos of the riding here on this link
2-Always wear protections.
The trails in La Sierra can be pretty rough and technical, so it´s always recommendable that you are properly protected in case of a spill. The following items are mandatory:
-MTB/Enduro helmet. (Recommendable with removable chin protection).
-Full finger gloves.
The following items are highly recommendable:
3- Pack a rain jacket.
Spain is a country blessed with tons of sunshine.
Madrid is one of the European capitals with the most hours of sunshine per year, something we love to make the most of!
That said, we also have proper mountains and the weather can be as changeable and unpredictable as in any mountainous environment, thus making it a smart decision to pack a rain jacket even in late spring and early autumn. We also strongly advise you to bring a good pair of winter gloves, a thermal layer (merino if possible), thermal socks and an evening jacket with good insulation (a puffy down jacket is perfect).
4- Hydrate or die!
Summers can be scorching hot and bone dry round here. Even in the spring and autumn, we can have very warm days and hydration becomes extremely important. We always recommend that people use a good hydration backpack with a capacity of at least 2 litres to make sure you stay in peak condition and enjoying the ride.
5- Choose the right bike.
We advise you to bring a good Enduro or long travel Trail bike in order to really take advantage of what Madrid has to offer and to enjoy your experience in Madrid to the max. 140-160 mm rear travel / 150-170mm front travel is perfect for the trails around here.
29” or 27.5” (650b) is up to the rider, although we have found 29ers roll better over the chunky trails that are frequently found in Madrid, but then there are plenty of rocks to launch off of you prefer the rides on your 27.5” to be playful!
It’s imperative to bring your bike properly serviced, with the chain lubed, gears working smoothly, suspension and brakes in perfect order and enduro rather than trail tyres to avoid sidewall damage (snakebites).
If you decide not to transport your own bike, or you fancy trying something new, you can always rent one of the bikes from our fleet!
6- Get in good shape.
Although our guides will always personalize the trail choice/distance to your skills, having a good level of fitness will allow you to really enjoy the experience to the full. Try to work up a training program in advance so you reach your MTB trip in good shape!
7. Train your stomach.
In Spain, food is a religion and we pay a huge amount of attention to properly filling our bellies after a good day riding. Delicious tapas with cold beers are our weapon of choice. Train your stomach to eat like a local!
Words by Félix Torija
Photos: Dan Milner, Ale Cubino, Vital MTB