Mountain biker hitting a jump while a sun is setting in the distance.

Not Far From Home

Finding beauty in your own backyard

Finding Fun Not Far From Home

In early 2020, when the reality of COVID-19 first started to sink in and travel restrictions began to be put in place, mountain biker and CamelBak® athlete, Iago Garay, knew his summer plans would look different. With the competition circuit on hold and unable to fly out of the country, Iago decided to focus on rediscovering his own backyard, getting back to the basics of the sport, and most importantly, having fun riding with friends.

He decided to document these experiences, calling the subsequent films Not Far From Home. The first three episodes were filmed in Basque Country, Malaga (just a few hours south of Madrid), and the Pyrenees, in celebration of the first time Iago and his friends were able to travel outside of Spain.

In the years since, travel restrictions have been lifted, and the destinations have become a little farther flung, but the spirit of the series remains the same. At its core, it’s about reminding ourselves we don’t necessarily need to book a flight, or chase a spot on the podium to feel alive. There’s plenty of beauty to be found just outside your doorstep.

Mountain Biking in Santa Cruz De Tenerife

For episode four of Not Far From Home, with travel restrictions beginning to ease up in Iago’s home country of Spain, he and his friends decided to take a trip to Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands just off the coast of West Africa. The Canary Islands are best known for their sandy beaches and warm weather, but it’s also one of the premiere mountain biking destinations in the world.

The entire island of Tenerife is essentially one big volcano jutting straight out of the Atlantic Ocean. Its most prominent peak, Pico del Teide is more than 121,000 feet tall, making it not just the tallest peak on the island, but in all of Spain. Because of its height, clouds often loom around just one side of the mountain, creating a ring of lush green rainforests on the northern face, while the south remains a dry desert. For mountain bikers, the result is incredibly fun trails that run from slippery jungle tracks to dry and rocky volcanic dirt. In a single run, you can experience three entirely different ecosystems and just as many types of track.

Iago taps Edgar Carballo, a mountain biker who knows every trail like the back of his hand to help guide him and his friend Sergio Layos through the hairpin twists and turns of Pico del Teide.

Mountain Biking In Sintra, Portugal

As Iago tells it, his friend and fellow mountain biker Sergio Layos had been trying to convince him that one of their first international trips once travel restrictions were lifted should be to Sintra, Portugal. The stars aligned and the time of year offered the perfect trail conditions. Even though it required going abroad, Iago felt the trip stayed true to the feeling of what the Not Far From Home series aims to capture.

“Thanks to its proximity and culture, Portugal has always felt more like home than any other country,” Iago says.

Iago’s friend Joao and his crew of riders run a guiding and shuttle company that also helps maintain and take care of the trails so that everyone can continue to enjoy them. “They have done so much for the spot and are so passionate about bikes that they are definitely the people to hit up if you want to discover the place for yourself,” Iago tells us. “They showed us the best trails and took us to the ones they had been working on through the winter. The ‘Home’ trail had just been rebuilt and let me tell you, it was SO MUCH FUN. One of my new favorite trails in the world.”

Hit the Trail

Looking to get out on the trail and explore your backyard? Follow these steps to make sure it’s a success.

Whether you’re doing a short loop through the park or headed out on a multi-day bikepacking adventure, make sure you’ve brought along enough water for the ride with our Hydration Calculator.

Throw on one of our waist packs or backpacks and you’ll always have the essentials close at hand: a small mountain bike repair kit, first-aid, and plenty of water to get you from the trailhead to the finish line. 

Finding Adventure In Your Own Backyard

What started as a way to try and make the most of his downtime during an unusually slow season, Not Far From Home has come to embody a way of viewing the world through a microscope rather than a telescope. Rather than turning to far away places and expensive trips as a means of escape, the series encourages us to take a closer look at what’s right in front of us: the local trails and hidden spots that we too often forget about in our search for what’s next.

When asked what he hopes to accomplish with his Not Far From Home mountain biking series, he says, “I want to inspire people to get out, ride with their friends, and go discover a new hidden gem near their home.”

Iago on a mountain bike