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Dust: A Cross to Air

El Bruc, Spain | May14, 2017 | 3:01 p.m.

If one considers mountain biking to be a religious experience, then El Bosque de Las Cruces, or The Forest of the Crosses, would certainly qualify as a mecca for the sport's devoted.

Héctor Saura, founder of the "Bicycle Nightmares" website, had his eye on the zone for months, and finally visited in May with photographer Alex Domingo Pou, armed with a vision and tools to dig.

"When we got there, it was really impressive. There were all these crazy looking trees. You knew that something happened there, you could feel it. You were there and it was like, 'Whoa, it was a reality now that we're here trying to ride bikes.' It was a cool experience."

A local firefighter spent a year erecting some 1,300 crosses at Montserrat--a National Park near Barcelona whose Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary attracts religious pilgrims--using burned trees from a recent wildfire. The dark undertones of the charred forest struck Saura as apt canvas for his edgy, heavy-metal-inspired style of riding. Despite a brisk wind on the afternoon they arrived, Saura and a buddy started digging to sculpt a jump for Pou's lens.

"It was tough because the dirt wasn't that good. It was rocky, we didn't have a lot of water to build the lip, there's not even a landing there. I just jumped on this step-down and tried to do a cool move."

Cool move achieved. And unique photo achieved. It speaks perfectly to Saura’s ethos--the drive to express himself in a different, unique way is what prompted him to start his website, “Bicycle Nightmares,” four years ago. Check out his story here.

Want more? Head over to Bicycle Nightmares.