Skip to main content

Brenta Dolomiti, Trentino, Italy

Holidaying with the parents & surviving one of the gnarliest World Cup downhill tracks

Before I get busy with work for the summer months I was able to sneak off to Italy with my CUBE and a Giant rental bike (Thanks Legend CHX).   The plan was to hike in the foothills of the big Dolomitic rock faces, take in some bike rides and of course sample Italy's legendary food, coffee, beer and sparkling wine.
At one refuge they were still installing the coffee machine which was being moved around in a wheelbarrow
For the main part of this holiday we stayed at the amazing Pra de la Casa B&B, near the ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio. It didn't matter that the resort was dead and had no restaurants open as we were well fed for breakfast, tea, and dinner at the B&B.

We found some great gems to ride just behind the B&B, but already the Italian map was proving a bit of a nightmare. Paths missing, accuracy off in places, yet bang on in others.

Superb walking terrain
Looking for a gap in the clouds we managed a great walk with 2 hours 20 minutes of ascent to the base of the tallest rock faces in the 42km long range of Dolomite rocks. Ascending first up through larch and rhododenron forests, into the chaotic rock fields and limestone pavements and then down through stunning dwarf pine forests.  The walk had a bit of everything, including huge waterfalls near the end.

The following day I drove my car up towards the top of one of ski resorts.  Me and Dad unloaded the bikes and carried on up further whilst super shuttle Mum drove back down (a bit like with Stevie Smith's Seasons segment).  The views were great at top lift station (2100m) as we spied part of our descent in the distance, and the town of Pinhole (700m) low down in the haze.  My Dad (63) got down the whole thing, he walked some sections, but he knew when too be safe to get down all 1400m of trail.  There were some great sections, but also some average sections.  Overall great fun to rack up a huge alpine descent with my Dad, just not quite the continuous high quality of other area's of the Alps I've ridden.
Water and view stop
Rhodo' singletrack
Lean green
Meadow descending nearing the bottom
Meeting point church
Shuttle roles reversed, Mum out on a cruise!

It was time to head on towards Lake Como for the second part of the holiday, but not without taking advantage of crossing a mountain pass and the realisation that one of the toughest UCI Downhill World Cup tracks was on the way.

After more helpful Mum shuttling we traversed our way across super tech, and not particularly flowing singletrack before getting rewarded with some good loamy trails interspersed with fire-road's and Italian map interpretation.

Could be British Columbia

And then it was time, a XC helmet, "enduro" bike, knee pads & a backpack, VAL DI SOLE WORLD CUP TRACK... i rode it like this . It was intense and full on, the bike was great on the constant barrage of mid sized drops and committing chutes. I nearly crashed on the last jump of all places...
Shaking at the bottom of the track this is all I got. Sam Hills corner just left of chairlift pylon.

Lunch in the sun, driving, changing mountainous views, gelato, macchiato's, a few hours of sunshine at Lake Como, lots more great Italian food, beer and hospitality and it was time to head back to Chamonix.  Many many thanks to my parents!



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

That time in February when I forgot my gloves and didn't get cold hands...

Seasons are changing in the mountains.Its been the shortest "off season" that I have known.  It's been growing shorter over the last few years but riding into the the new year was something I have not done since I lived in the UK.  The skiing season is getting shorter and more temperamental.  We shouldn't have been riding dry trails in Aosta Valley on the fitth day of the new year.  We did, and we had a blast thanks to the generous hospitality of the locals.  Read more about inter season on Lorner's blog here: http://www.lornecameron.com/2017/the-longest-autumn/
With skiing stoke low I went for a ride in Servoz.  Now picture the scene, its the twenty something of February 2017, at 1000 metre altitude and I can't find my gloves in my riding pack.  I suffer from cold hands at the slight hint of mild air.  In winter you will find several pairs of thick gloves in my backpack, even in spring or autumn there could well be two pairs in my riding pack.  However on thi…

Aiguille de la Grande Sassiere 3751m

One of those pure adventure days *warning mega photo post*Ali-venturing as it's been known by over the summer.  When Ali from trailAddiction gets grand idea's in his head it always leads to hike-a-bike. Read here on DIRT Mag about a previous mission, its the highest rideable peak in the alps!
A special team was organised:  A top ten finishing team from the Bivouac Enduro, Mael and Max, Ali, myself and Fred the mountain bike mechanic from Mavic. All keen, all stupid?
And then my alarm went off at 04:30.  Time to eat and drink as much as possible.  I hadn't been up this early since ski touring in refuges last winter.  In my tired state I did subconsciously know how to load the bikes onto the trailer, it's easy after doing it everyday all summer.  We drove up towards Val d'Isere, then turned left up a singletrack road.  It was around 6am, and it was still pitch black. Slowly the sun began to rise: And the hike-a-bike continued and turned into carry-a-bike, but with the su…

What guides do between work in the peak of July

Summer is here, and after fantastic spring riding in Southern France and then all over Valais, Aosta and Haute Savoie with good friends it's been time to get back to summer guiding, taking hikers around the Tour du Mont Blanc circuit.  There's much worse things to do, but with three weeks off the bike I was itching to get back on some trails.

With a carefully planned week between tours I was excited and made some plans to hit up some classic lines, and some new stuff too. It's mid July now, so in Chamonix valley you have to think carefully about where to go to miss the crowds, and to avoid going on the bike ban trails (July & August).  Luckily it's still easy to find quiet trails in nearby resorts, or to simply drop round the back of a hill away from the frontside lifts. It went a little like this:

Day 1- La Thuile with Wayne of newly qualified French legal mountain bike guiding service Chamonixmtb.com . Enduro race venue at it's best, rough and raw.



Day 2- Blue b…