But this year Armin and I decided to try something new. Still in Italy, but this time not at the Mediterranean but a bit further up north - still very warm (compared to Switzerland) at this time of the year. Our choose destination to start the 2016 bike season was to ride nine days in South Tirol with our basecamp set up in the town of Bozen.
For starters, an adventure, we have never been biking in or around Bozen and we've heard that it has a lot to offer. Not just great and countless riding options, but great food, great wine, pleasant locals, a cute old town, some cultural attractions like the art museum and much more...
And of course three gondolas heading up straight from the town. Plus other riding destinations like Vinschgau is only an hour drive distance away, Meran 30 minute, and Paganella Bike Park and Molveno only an hour south are just some of the trails centres around the Dolomites.
What did we ride?
Based on tips from friends, we started with the "Jenesien" gondola, after a short uphill we did the well-known combination of hiking trails nr. 11 and 9 which offer a first taste of the rocky conditions most trails around Bozen consist of. All in all the trail has quite a lot of flow and was definitely the best way to start the week's riding.
In the wet it can be a bit slippery in the lower parts of these route along the old (but still intact) Roman paths. Even in the dry it was difficult to stop at certain places.
Unfortunately we didn't bring the camera on most of the daily rides - so most of the pictures are shot on an iPhone 6.
The next few days we spent mostly on "Ritten", which are the riding trails nr. 2 and 3 which are both amazing. Nr. 2 was rocky but not very technical - actually quite fast. Nr. 3 has a couple of steeper parts but not as many rocks as nr. 2. A bit more technical overall.
One of the longer descents was trail nr. 9 - which required a 10 km ride with 400 m of altitude to get to the start. Those 10 kms count easily as a touristic trail. You pedal along farms, past a huge llama colony, enjoy the view from a couple of great lookouts and finally end up in front of a 9km long downhill with over 1400 m of descent. Again a lot of rocks to spice up the technical parts but still enough flowy parts to relax the hands. For sure one of my favourite trails in Bozen. Actually, this trail gets on my top 10 list of trails!
We enjoyed ourselves in between the riding days as well and did some classic city day tripping - Bozen would be a nice place to visit even for non-bikers. If you bring your bike you just the full package. Bozen offers a bit of everything.
At some point we felt like we had to do something for our legs as well and went on a XC round trip at Eppan - the directions for this tour we found here.
The next and unfortunately last day of riding, we drove into the valley called "Vinschgau". The last few years the tourism in Vinschgau has had a big focus on biking. Vinschgau offers a couple of - worthwhile - classics like the Helly Hansen trail, combined with great infrastructure - bike shuttle, cablecars and gondolas. I guess we found the place to start into the next season - or maybe to ride this year when there is already snow in Switzerland. For sure a place we have to visit again!
Well, that’s it for this trip. We now hope that the snow in the Alps melts - we have a couple of epic weekend trips planned in Switzerland as well as the odd enduro race.