The last couple of months are all a bit of a blur. We’ve run a number of courses, had a few day trips to the Jura and Aegeri and many of our now traditional Afterwork rides. Our road riders have been very active too with many an alpine pass scaled in the last few months by the more advanced riders and some great courses and workshops organised for those who are looking to get into the sport. If you enjoy cycling or would like to get more involved it’s well worth signing up. www.swissalpineadventure.ch
|The old Gotthard pass.|
For me there has been a couple of stand out moments in the past few months. One was our tour in the Centivalli region of Ticino. After an overnight in Cavigliano we got on the bikes and gently pedalled up the road to Verdasio where we jumped on a tiny cable-car to Rasa. Rasa is the last car free village in Ticino and the only access is through the tiny cable-car which was completely full with the two of us and our bikes. As the Gondola pulled out of the valley station it hangs precipitously over a huge gorge which got me shaking in my cycling shoes and struggling to find my happy place! As we crossed the gorge and got closer to the ground on the other side of the valley my nerves receded and I could slowly start to think about what lay ahead.
|Room for a two bikes, two people and not much else!|
From the top of the cable-car in Rasa we had planned a 400m climb up what on the map looked like it should be a mainly ridable trail. The going got steep almost right out of the village and after a couple of hundred metres I was at the point where you need to decide if trying to ride or getting off and walking makes the most sense. Luckily this steep section was short lived and soon we were on a trail which had just about the perfect gradient and technical difficulty to make it just rideable without being so physically or technically demanding that riding was not possible (for the most part!).
|A deserted village that just happens to have a singletrail as it’s main street!|
About half way up the climb I got a stern reminder about how serious a loss of concentration can be in the terrain we are riding. My front wheel got hung up on a rock as I was trying to negotiate a technical feature in a left hand turn. Right at this point there was nothing to my left as I lost balance. Luckily, I managed to clip out, jump over the bike and land on my feet about 2-3m below the trail. Once I got myself stable I had to sit and watch as my bike fell another 30-40m down the hillside.
After clambering down the steep hill to recover my bike I discovered that there was only minor damage and it was possible to ride on. Feeling a little shaken and thanking my lucky stars that I hadn’t been injured and my bike was still rideable we continued on to the top of our climb.The closer we got to the top the steeper the trail became and there were sections which required the bike to be carried.
|Small trail, big view.|
After getting to the high point of our tour we rode past the little Hamlet of Casone on a trail with stunning views over Locarno and Lago Maggiore. The trail was only about 20cm wide though so the view had to be enjoyed while stationary. After one excursion off the trail already on this tour we weren’t going to risk anything stupid again and while riding we were fully focused on the task at hand
|Flowy Ticinese goodness.|
Shortly after Casone the trail started to descend into the woods on an incredibly flowy, swoopy Ticinese dream trail towards Alp Zot. After Alp Zot the trail got noticeably more technical, but remained almost 100% rideable all the way into the town at Losone. From here it is a gentle cruise through the streets to the lake front in Ascona where Pizza and a couple of cool refreshing beverages were happily consumed before jumping on a train back to the real world north of the Alps.
|The trail continues the whole way down.|
Engadin the Return
We are now into our third year of organising weekends in Ticino. This year we did an Alpine Skills course and a trail riding weekend with 10 participants on each weekend. The Engadin valley never ceases to amaze me with how perfect it is for both trail riding and courses. Below are some pictures from both weekends. We’ll be doing it all again next year but with both weekends selling out in 20 minutes this year you’ll need to be quick to get a place! Keep an eye on the calendar, we’ll have another couple of weekends getting posted in the coming month or so.
|Descending Bernina Pass – Alpine Skills Course|
|Switchback Practice – Alpine Skills Course|
|Trail Riding – Alpine Skills Course|
|Single Trail with a View – Alpine Skills Course|
|Flow Trail – Trail Riding Weekend|
|Styling it up – Trail Riding Weekend|
|Flow – Trail Riding Weekend|
|Happy Campers – Trail Riding Weekend|
|Descending from Piz Nair – Trail Riding Weekend|
|Descending Piz Nair – Trail Riding Weekend|
|Lez Suvretta – Trail Riding Weekend|
|High Alpine – Trail Riding Weekend|
|Val Bever – Trail Riding Weekend|
|View from Alp Grum – Trail Riding Weekend|
|Bernina to Poschiavo – Trail Riding Weekend|
|Gelati in Poschiavo – Trail Riding Weekend|
Looking to the Future
Back in January when I was planning the first half of this year July seemed so far away. Now January feels like it was yesterday and having completed our second Engadin weekend this past Sunday the first half of the year has most definitely come to an end. It’s now time to refine the ideas and work out the logistics for the plans I have for the second half of the year and then do our best to put a few interesting and fun events together in the coming months. We’ve already been in discussion with our mountain guides about our programme for winter 2013/2014 and this should be more or less finalised by August!
We are taking a little bit of time out to do some exploring and work on the logistics of some ideas for the second half of the year. If we can work out the fine details we will be looking at a very special weekend in Wallis in September and possibly another one in Ticino and Romandie later in the year.
I hope everyone is enjoying the great weather we have been getting lately and looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible out on the trails/roads of Switzerland in the coming months.