Singletrack fun in Solden.
A lazy start with a fantastic breakfast at the Die Berg hotel. We looked out onto a rather drizzly mountain, hoping the sun gods would bless us with some good weather for our endure day.
At intersport I picked up my new ride for the day a Cube Fritzz race enduro bike with 160mm travel on the fork and 27.5 tyres it looked like a serious bit of kit!
Today was the day to try the other side of the mountain. After getting our bikes and heading to the lift, I was glad, in the weather conditions, to have my Grip Grab gloves and shoes covers to help keep me warm.
Arriving at the mid-station at 2,174m we stepped out into a blizzard of snow. I instantly felt the chill in my bones and didn’t need to read the temperature gauge to know it was below freezing.
The trail from the mid-point took my mind off the cold as I cruised down large flowing berms loving the freedom and exhilaration of the smooth trails, constructed by Bike Republic Sölden.
The ‘flow trails’ are man-made with features like board rides, rock crossings and berms. These trails are designed in a way that allows you to flow from feature to feature down the mountain, hence the name. Their flowing lines are cut into the side of the mountain and maintained by a team of trail builders.
We saw a lot of wildlife from deer, stoats and plenty of birds of prey. It is one of the reasons I love biking you can really get close nature and see incredible wildlife you wouldn’t see in a car.
The other thing I love about mountain biking is the ability to go on an adventure, a journey. We traversed the side of the mountain climbing and descending until we got to our lunch stop. A beautiful hut called Gambya Thya at over 300 years old. It had been run by the same family for years, making award winning cheese and ham. We were in for a treat! The quaint wooden hut was filled with ribbons from award winning cows and photos of days gone by. The little rooms were full of character and the family’s welcome arms made me feel warm after being in the fresh alpine air.
We tucked into Austrian delicacies, drank mugs of warming hot chocolate and sipped on schnapps made from pine cones. What more could a mountain biker need on a lunch stop?
Revitalised and well fed we headed out to continue our trail adventure, stamping more lines as we weaved our way down the mountain and back to the valley below.
Heading to the airport at 1pm it seemed like a missed opportunity not to grab our bikes and head back up the mountain. This gondola was bigger and you could wheel your bike right in and sit next to it. This was much more convenient than trying to balance it on one wheel in the other gondola. Up at the top the view was breath taking. The mountains stood elegantly in the sun, their white rocky peaks towering above the lush green valley below.
The first trail of the day was called Habe line, this was a new section of trail and in places the gravel had not bedded in yet, making the sharp turns a little more challenging. After the top gravelled section we came into a muddy section of berms hitting one a little too fast I has a moment of mud slide and ended up looking like a mud monster on one side! Typical on the day I had to pack to fly home!
A bit like snowboarding having the views and the viability in the mountains made the biking a whole different experience. The trail was dry (in most places) and the bike ate up the ground underneath it, rolling from berm to berm gathering speed before I would break and re focus on the next trail feature.
Breaking out of the forest descent onto a plateau we came across some very friendly alpine cows. They were so inquisitive coming right up to us and even licking one of the guys leg!
My favourite bit of the descent was a board ride snaking its way through the trees and down the mountain side, it was like you were flying through the tree canopy alongside the squirrels. My main challenge was keeping my eyes looking ahead as sometimes through the trees would be the most amazing mountain view, which would grab my attention for a split second as I flew past them.
The flow trails were really good fun. There is a good network of trails suitable for all types of rider, but the trails are not easy and should be treated with respect and not underestimated, after all this is a mountainous playground where the weather can change in a moment so you need to be prepared and understand how to handle your bike in order to stay safe and enjoy the trails.