Season Finale in Finale Again

Men’s DH to Varigotti

Not only, that I have made a MTB-riding trip for the 8th consecutive year to Finale Ligure, I went there already three times just during this year!   Not sure, whether these are signs of a sort of addiction, yet, I surely enjoyed each time down there.   The trails around Finale are fantastic and the options are countless.   For years it seemed that the whole region is supporting and promoting mountain biking while other regions like Lago di Garda are becoming more restrictive to MTB.  At my last visit I heard about upcoming restrictions as well in Finale as several trails were officially closed due to maintenance or other reasons although they were in perfect shape (as I unofficially  experienced).   Due to a new law there seems to be a liability issue for the land owners.  I only hope, that a solution for all stake holders can be found to keep this spot a MTB-paradise.

For me one of the best trail combos is the Melogno Rollercoaster followed by Kill Bill 2 and then Madonna Della Guardia – or speaking in colors: from blue to black to red…

Sending it down Ingenere
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The Hidden Mountain Biking Gems of South Sardinia

The beaches on the southern coast of Sardinia are hard to beat.  With their turquoise waters and white sands they could be as well located somewhere in the Caribbean.  And the beaches of Chia are even known as the best Mediterranean surfing spots.  But what about mountain biking?   Is it worth to bring your bike there?

We took the ferry from Genova, which gave us the opportunity to make a stop-over in Finale Ligure, so we had anyway good reason to have the bikes with us.  And even more so in Sardinia.  Luckily, I got connected to the local MTB-community through my tour guide from Finale.  Otherwise we probably wouldn’t have discovered those sweet MTB-trails  in the Pantaleo Forrest near Santadi.

All Bikes Santadi (https://www.facebook.com/ALLBIKESSANTADI/ ) offers a monthly shuttle day and builds and maintains the trails in the pristine Pantaleo Forest.   Battista and Loris took us uphill with their shuttle-truck on a steep and rugged forest road so we could zip down down the two lines Ritmo Sbilenco and Le Egue several times.  The Ritmo Sbilenco is an about 2 km long line with tight turns on loose dirt under shady trees while Le Egue is mostly on rocky surface with some berms and jumps.  Another trail, the S8, runs across a mountain ridge and was initially built for charcoal production.  Nowadays, it is churned up by wild boar and flattened by fat MTB-tires.  After all we had a magnificent day of enduro riding with the local MTB-community including a delicious picnic lunch in the forest followed by a refreshing bath in a river.  To hook up with local riders contact “ALLBIKESSANTADI” on Facebook or “Denis_Mirror” on Instagram.

However, there are as well lots of nice trails on the coastline. Particularly around the Capo Spartivento there are lots of trails to be explored.  Another scenic trail above the coastline runs from the Torre Chia  to Pinus Village.

Catalunya’s Enduro Hotspot – Santa Coloma de Farners

Santa Coloma de Farners is the hotspot for enduristas in Catalunya.  Located about an hour by car north of Barcelona (in the south-west of Girona) it offers best fun trails in Catalunya.  To access the mostly optimized yet natural trails there is an easy uphill that brings  you to  an altitude of about 450 meters above sea level.  Dragon Kahn is a sweet, flowy trail that runs up, down and around natural obstacles.  The perfect trail to start with.

Spiderman is the signature trail of Santa Coloma.  With its countless options to get some air it is a great jump line for some serious fun…

Exploring Zona Zero, Ainsa

Eventually, when the EWS made a stop in Zona Zero I simply had to put this MTB-spot on my bucket list.  Zona Zero is a Mountain Bike Centre on the south side of the Pyrenees established in 2011.  Its headquarter is located in the medieval village Ainsa, from where most of the over 30 well-marked routes start.

Following the recommendation of our hotel’s MTB-expert we chose the route 4 – Miradores de Ainsa.  After some initial climbing – about 250 meters of elevation gain – the track runs along a ridge with awesome views on Ainsa, mountain ranges and lakes.

The trail is rock strewn but fun particularly on the way down to Morillo.  Next milestone is the climb up to Partara Peak from where the trails starts descend again into the valley.

We only had time to do one of the many routes, so there is much left to explore another time…

Rotorua – New Zealand’s Mountain Bike Mecca

New Zealand is probably the nation with the highest MTB-affinity and Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest is the epicenter of it.   More than 160 kilometers of finest trails built into fascinating nature with lush forest and volcanic phenomena make it a true MTB-mecca.

After three intensive days of riding there were still numerous trails I haven’t ridden.   The Taniwha downhill lines I simply had to ride more often and it still wasn’t enough….

I really loved the shuttle system with well-aged buses and their large trailers.  And actually, it functions quite well when all the buses are up and running.  In terms of trails Rotorua offers everything you  want, from natural trails with lots of roots to smoothly shaped flow trails and hefty jump lines.  AMAZING.  I could have spent many more days here…