Great variety of trails, great guides, great atmosphere and great weather.

We spent a week with Switchbacks this March/April (20 degrees in Spain). They have a villa where you can stay for the duration of your trip; it has a large bike workshop where all the bikes are stored and there’s a lovely atmosphere (you are around other riders). There are other facilities – I believe there was a pool at the back of the property – and table tennis tables etc. The villa is in a great location, just a minute’s pedal from a local bike shop (which is super cheap and really fast) and close to restaurants etc.
We actually stayed at a hotel nearby and left the bikes at the Villa, because we had family with us who weren’t riding. Each morning we would meet at about 9:15 at the villa and then load up the vans. The vans don’t use those bike trailers, instead putting the bikes inside. This was actually great, because the bikes didn’t get rubbed as much and at the end of the day when you’re really tired you don’t have to lift your bike; the guide will put the bike in the van for you.
I use the term ‘guide’ loosely, because all the guys who acted as our guides were more of a fellow rider than the stand-alone guide. Of course, they knew the tracks and were there to give tuition if needed, but they acted as a friend and were all great riding companions. There’s no pressure to be super fast and they can help recommend which trails are best based on how your ride – you’ll be a much better rider by the end of your holiday because the tracks get gradually more challenging as you adapt to the terrain (if you wanted to stay on the easier trails, that would be fine too). I really can’t fault any of the guys who guided us.
The tracks were mostly super rocky, but there were also some really smooth and flowy trails. Just tell Michael what you like and you’ll get to ride it! They took two vans each day, often to different locations, so you could pick which tracks to ride (to a certain extent). Because you are with a group, the guides have to cater for everyone’s preferences. This means you won’t ride your favourite trail every day, but that didn’t matter at all: all the tracks were amazing. Lunch is either at a restaurant (we went to a wonderful and very reasonably priced Pizzeria loads of times) or some stuff from the supermarket (some cheese etc). Either way it’s lovely.
Each day you get back to the villa at about 5 and may then have to spend a little while checking over or fixing your bike because the terrain is so brutal. To avoid this, bring a load of spares along in your airport bike bag (assuming you’re taking your own bike): loads of tubes, chain, gear cable, brake pads, hanger etc. When you’re riding, put a ton of pressure in your tires (within reason) and maybe bring some spare thicker grips for if your fingers get painful (because of the rough tracks). We found the website a little confusing, but if you keep digging around there’s loads of advice on what to bring and how to prepare.
A friend of mine had a nasty crash whilst we were there and it was dealt with very professionally. Within seconds all the guides were made aware of the situation and transport to the hospital was organised. The van had a first aid kit in it and the guide was really competent and organised when helping after the crash.
I rode on a DH bike, but everyone else was on enduro rigs. Whatever you ride, there’s something there for you to enjoy, including climbing if you would like to. There are a few tracks with some large jumps if that’s what you like, but most are of a more technical style. Regardless, there’s never any traffic on the tracks: it’s just you and the rest of the switchbacks guys. It’s worth noting that the length of the tracks is phenomenal; in just one run I would get more descent than I would in a weekend back in the UK. Long tracks are split into sections so if you wish you can regroup and take a well earned break.
A huge thanks to Michael and West for making our week so enjoyable: we’ll be back!