With a clearing southerly forecast on the West Coast, we knocked off work early at Ground Effect last Friday and hung up the “Gone Whitebaiting” sign on the front door. Our destination was Barn Bay - a remote fisherman’s cottage - 50km by gravel road, a river crossing and a half day’s ride south of Haast.
The Trentino region has its fair share of calcium carbonate (limestone), and you would think that the Valle del Sarca that runs down to the northern end of Lake Garda and its surrounding mountains are made of nothing else.
On any clear day from the cobbled streets, court yards and balconies of Bormio, the stately peak of Cima Bianca (Bormio 3000) looms large with the snow capped Monte Vallecetta rising up into the heavens behind it. We had a cunning plan and drove up to Bormio 2000 (1938m) to start the mean 1200 metre climb to the top (Bormio 3000).
This high altitude mountainous landlocked peninsula is about 1200 square km of mountain biking joy in a convoluted sort of way. Bordered to the north by the illustrious mountain biking nation of Switzerland and to the east and south by a couple of Italy's innumerable provinces, it shares its incredible mountains and stunning vistas with Switzerland.
Yes, the Bike Republic of Soelden in the Oetztal Valley officially announced their independence from Austria, to pursue the mountain bike dream un-encumbered by democracy and the ghost of health and safety, its politics and regulations.
Zillertal is famous for its beer and its Radler. For over 500 years the Zillertal Brewery has been supplying the strongest beer festival in all of Austria and its Gauder Bock has reached cult status among the many local and overseas fans that visit the Gauder Fest.
In retrospect, our last week of riding in Ischgl rushed by, like an out of control quad-copter in Dr Who's Tardis. I concede, we may have gotten overly familiar with this Austrian valley, its catchment and the craggy mountains that influence its ever changing weather.
Where in the world is the Pamir Highway, and why would you want to go there on a bike?
If you are a pub quiz nerd with an interest in former Soviet republics, you already know. But for the rest of us, the Pamirs are a central Asian mountain range squished between the Hindu Kush, Tian Shan and Himalaya mountains.
Who said there's no such thing as a free lunch? and they were right, but the cable cars, public MTB carrying buses, indoor & outdoor swimming pools, road tolls, and museums via the nifty “Silvretta Card” are.
Dave and Ditte have left the land of FLAT, and are ensconced in the town of Hopfgarten...
The mountainous Parque Nacional de Picos Europa resides a couple of hundred kilometers inland from the northern coast of Spain. It's a park of steep and rugged limestone cliffs, valleys and mountains.
Greetings from the country that brought you the Spanish Inquisition, Siesta, Paella, Corrida de Toros and the Seat Ibiza. After being overwhelmed, in a good way, at the Keukenhof by a zillion varieties of beautiful tulips we waved goodbye to the land of windmills, dykes, Ditte’s family and of course tulips.