30th December 10am and I have made it to Valdemanco, a remote village in the eastern side of La Sierra de Madrid. One of those places that remain untouched by the construction boom of the early 2000´s. A little hidden gem where a local MTB community enjoy an unique landscape made of hard and rocky soil. It is a perfect destination for a winter ride, due to the lack of mud. It is also barely covered by trees, allowing the sun heat you in the cold winter days. Although this morning, when I left home my car was showing a cold temperature of 1ºC, now it´s significantly warmer, with nice 9ºC and blue skies. A blue sky that almost seem unreal in contrast with the color of the rocks that surround Valdemanco. What a beautiful view to start the day!
Sepu arrives and we get into "El Cerrillo", the local restaurant where we will have lunch after our ride. It is a typical Sierra restaurant specialized on roasted lamb made in firewood oven. This is one of the most traditional dishes in La Sierra, part of our heritage, a real delicatessen proudly made out of local livestock with a recipe coming from the XVI century .
We take a coffee while we chat with the owner, a local rider and trail builder, proud of their trails and the race that they have started in the village called "La Matanza" (pig slaughter). It is made during one of the most important fests in the village: the pig slaughter. After the race, all the participants will join a lunch with products made out of the pig slaughter, a tradition part of the heritage of this area. Even the winners awards are "Chorizo" and "lomo" from the matanza. Sepu is one of the trail scouts helping the local community to design the race. You can really feel the sense of the local community nourished by the love for MTB.
When Rafa and Emilio arrive, we take our bikes and ride heading uphill to discover the trails that Sepu has been scouting together with the local riders in the last years. It´s a mix of rocky, gnarly and technical trails with flowy and fast singletracks that put a great smile on our faces. After 3 hours of wonderful riding, we get back to the restaurant to enjoy our roasted lamb, with a good bottle of red wine and some home made desserts to refill sugar levels.