fall, spring & summer
Physical & technical
Starting from Saint-Jean-de-Luz, you’ll reach the Col d’Ibardin by taking several road sections, including the Route de Ciboure and the Route d’Olhette, both connected by the Chemin de Bordazahar. Then, head towards the start of the climb. The beginning is the most challenging part, with approximately 1.5 km of demanding ascent. However, at your own pace, you can still conquer the climb on your gravel bike. If you undertake this route on a clear day, after this rather tough climb, turn around and you’ll catch a glimpse of various shades of blue in the distance. Blink as much as you need, but yes, the sky and the ocean merge; it’s quite impressive!
The rest of the route will be slightly undulating, but nothing compared to the beginning. Ultimately, the efforts at the start help us find the right pedaling rhythm for the rest of the itinerary. Upon reaching a slightly flatter section, we can fully enjoy the magnificent scenery surrounding us. In the heart of a forest, the trails are clear enough to appreciate both the peaks and the ocean, which always remains behind us.
A little detour is possible on this route, near Erentzazu. This will allow you to gain even more altitude and appreciate the view. On one side, you’ll have the ocean and the coast, on the other, La Rhune and a multitude of other peaks, including the Crêtes d’Iparla, which are easily distinguishable.
In the middle of the route, you will have the option to stop at various venta to have a meal and take a short break. If you just want to refill your water bottles, you can head to the gas station where you’ll find an uncommon water fountain; next to the air pump, there will be access to drinking water indicated by “agua”!
The way back to St-Jean-de-Luz is through fairly rocky paths, which can be quite bumpy and technical. Be careful when entering shaded areas, as you may not see the rocks with your sunglasses on. Nevertheless, this part is also very enjoyable if you like challenging paths. The descent consists of fairly clean single tracks, but also others where you’ll have to dismount due to leaves and branches obstructing the passage, making it impossible to ride through.
The return journey will be on the road, passing through Ciboure and then the city center of St-Jean-de-Luz. If you haven’t stopped earlier, it’s the perfect opportunity to sit down at a café or restaurant, as St-Jean-de-Luz is one of the most renowned spots in the Basque Country.
This itinerary is breathtaking, both in terms of its difficulty and its magnificent landscapes. The descent is too technical for a beginner in cycling. For mountain biking enthusiasts, it will be a smooth ride, just make sure your gravel bike can handle the rough terrain!
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