Episode 1: The Mountains
Going to the mountains is easy, but finding the perfect route to fully enjoy a gravel bike, in a rugged and complicated environment, is not so easy. Luckily this time I had an extra help! A few weeks ago I had received the new SR Suntour GVX fork at home, a fork aimed at the user of gravel bikes, still in the prototype phase, but that is always the best excuse to be able to push it to the limit, without fear of it breaking (laughs).
The destination - epic trails
I admit that I have an obsession, nothing bad, do not think anything strange, it is about writing down in a notebook all the places where I would like to ride a bicycle and that catch my attention. Many of them I see on television, magazines or the Internet ... I have no geographical limits, in fact the more distant the country and the place the better (laughs). But there is something that never ceases to amaze me and that is that on many occasions near our homes, in the areas where we live, we have fantastic places and many times really incredible, but because of the "normalization" that we do of the environment they no longer call our attention, but they are also amazing places.
I have had my eye on this area of the Pre-Pyrenees for many years ago. For one thing or another, he had never squared everything to go to explore the area in a thorough way. This is what I mentioned before that happens with the places that we have close to home. Also, good guy Kilian Bron (a rider I respect a lot) had made a POV video viral in that area, so it didn't make much sense to go there with my mountain bike to take some videos or pictures. But it did make sense to do it with a gravel. Everything would be much purer, more precise and therefore much more dangerous. A new level of riding that the Suntour GVX fork would give me direct access to.
The Desfiladero de Monrebey or also called Congost de Mont-Rebei is the natural border between the regions of Aragon and Catalonia, between the regions of Ribagorza and Pallars Jussa. Without a doubt, a super spectacular and simply unique place.
The setting was perfect, narrow roads with a rather worn and bumpy signature, endless dirt tracks that converge in all directions, and ultra-technical trails that test your dexterity, vertigo and balance. It is perfect!
Why a suspension fork for gravel?
I have always defended that I am a lover of the bicycle and of all its modalities, those of you who know me know it very well. I love cycling, I try to practice all possible disciplines and learn from each and every one of them.
I like road cycling, I like pedaling, I like XC… but a few years ago on a trip to Germany I discovered the gravel cycling. I loved that concept. A new world opened up in front of me as I had gone through a season full of "scares" and small incidents that happened to me every time I went out with my road bike. It is very frustrating to know that you have an accident because of a driver who does not respect the rules, who hates cyclists or is simply not in a position to drive a car.
On the other hand, the XC bike has never made much sense to me, let no one misinterpret me, I adore that modality, but for a guy like me and with my style on the bike the XC can be easily replaced by gravel or give a step further and get to the All Mountain. They are modalities that to my understanding navigate the shores of your preferences, styles and ways of seeing the bicycle. For someone who thinks about racing it is perfect, but for me, who has been looking for another series of experiences and sensations on the bicycle for many years, has been replaced by gravel bikes.
At this point it is clear that the gravel bike offers me total versatility and allows me to do the same as I would with an XC bike, tracks, roads, trails ... but maybe if the situation gets complicated I can go back by road or even Thanks to its rolling quality, doing a few extra kilometers more easily.
I only found one fault with gravel cycling. The pain that left me in my wrists, elbows and shoulders when I did a long riding with her. If you want to go through demanding paths, there are many impacts that your body will absorb throughout the kilometers, thousands of micro impacts that go directly to your joints, bones, tendons, muscles ... which finally turns into inflammation, numbness and a couple days with joint pain (laughs). At least it happened to me despite being a 43-year-old young man (more laughs).
A new level of riding
When the guys at Suntour told me they were thinking about designing a suspension fork for gravel… I just thought it was amazing. It was exactly what I needed, something to cushion all those impacts. When I received the fork and tested it on my bike, I could see that it was one of the best ideas in recent years. I really mean it, I love it. Not only did it save me from unpleasant joint pain, but my level of riding in technical zones had increased to a new level thanks to the new fork. Damn, it was great !!!!
Ripped, bumpy, or even rooted areas are no longer a difficult obstacle to simply a rough terrain that the GVX absorbs easily. On such a stiff bike and with such thin wheels (compared to an MTB), it is vital that the wheel stays flat to the ground to ensure control and stability.
A new level has come to the age of Gravel !!!!
See you on the trails friends.