The joy of being a mountain bike guide in Ainsa, Zona Zero

Exploring to show & tell.

This blog is also featured on Emerald-MTB . I want to thank Owen from Emerald-MTB for letting me share my story on the Emerald platform. To me it is important that we mountain bikers support each other to establish our mountain biking dreams and Owen does so by opening his platform to me and Unbeaten Adventures. Thanks. 

What is it like packing up your life and moving everything to a new country to start a new business doing something you love? Just read on

Ever since my studies 20 years ago I wanted to work in the mountain bike industry. I studied Product Design and when one of my fellow students started working at Ghost bikes, I wanted to work in the bike industry as well. I never landed a design job in the biking industry and I am happy it didn’t happen. Now I can ride bikes for a living instead of being in an office behind the screen 5 days a week. I needed a firm kick in the butt to make it happen. My Costa Rican wife Marcela didn’t get a Dutch visum so we had a blank page to design our lives together. And we choose to live outdoor and combine both our passions, mountain biking and design. We now have a mountain bike guiding company called Unbeaten Adventures and a design agency Unbeaten Studio. 

Sunset views from our house

Sunset views from our house

We choose to live in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees just outside Ainsa, the village made famous among mountain bikers by hosting a Enduro World Series race twice. And ever since I moved here just before new years in 2018, this place keeps on amazing me. With over 40 signposted trails and countless other trails, Sobrarbe is a mountain bikers paradise of all natural trails. The local guys that started clearing all the trails named it Zona Zero.

I like guiding in Ainsa for several reasons. First of all I get to explore this fast network of trails and hiking path in the lower and higher pyrenees and discover new gems constantly. Then I get to meet people from all over the world and show them what I have discovered in Zona Zero. I am always interested in what people do and what moves them and on a day of biking you can get to know each other quiet a bit.

Guiding Julie and Miguel from Mexico

Guiding Julie and Miguel from Mexico

I could never guide in Morzine or in any other bike park probably. For me being a mountain bike guide is way more then just biking. To me it is the mix of biking, nature and culture. Zona Zero is full of history, on every ride you pass abandoned villages, hidden remains  of ancient living and small towns where view people are living a traditional and simple live. The trails you ride are the old walking paths connecting those villages, farm, churches, hermitages and other settlements. Just imagine how cool it is to ride Enduro here.

Then we have something else that makes this place amazing. “The Badlands” millions of years ago Spain (the Iberian Peninsula) wasn’t connected to the rest of Europe and upon impact it created the Pyrenees and a typical landscape seen around Ainsa called margas, aka “ The badlands” and they are amazing to ride on. Imaging a natural created bikepark flow. I have 4 badlands descents in literally my backyard.

If you like to use shuttles and do 8 to 18 km descents or you like to paddle everything yourself and discover the area on a 25-40 km loop. Ainsa has it all packed in and epic mix of natural rocky and flow trails, beautiful nature and great culture. I love to call this my home and being able to guide my clients in this special part of the world.

Author: Jeroen Spoelstra

Pictures & Video: Jeroen Spoelstra

Did you like what you just read? Fancy a visit to Ainsa, Zona Zero? We are happy to guide you around in this magnificent place.