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Travel Stories

The Dreilaendertour as experienced by Elisabetta, Alessandro and Alfio


ELISABETTA STORY


Fun: this is what mountain biking is for me. It’s also getting away from it all, something solid at times of difficulty, and a passion that adds something absolutely amazing to my life.

And it gives me emotions that are impossible in other moments of my day. What it also is, is an ongoing QUEST for every biker: the perfect single trail, the greenest forest, the smoothest downhill ride, the highest mountain... Dreilander gave me all this and more: magnificent trails, intense emotions, true nature, challenge, fun, new friendships....sweat and fatigue!!! I decided to go on my own for a number of reasons, from the most banal (different holiday dates from friends) to the more personal (do we women always have to wait for a man before we can do stuff?! eh? eh?). Well, I admit I was a bit worried beforehand: will I be able to deal with a bike breakdown? will my mobile phone work everywhere? what if I get hurt?? and if I get lost? I would say the best strategy is to take it one step at a time. Go round to a friend’s house one evening and learn how to deal with a couple of common technical problems (e.g what to do if the chain breaks). Another day, go to a specialised outfitters and buy some good rainwear. And so on...and don’t forget to get your bike serviced before leaving! In any case the service offered by Bike Hotels is wonderful. I found technically competent staff in all the hotels I stayed in - I was always asked if I needed a mechanic and was given great advice about itineraries better suited to weather conditions on the day or programme changes. In addition, you’re never alone for long on the trails and bikers have a great sense of fun and solidarity. I personally choose the longest tour, for which I’d advise a good level of fitness and a check on the roadbook before starting out every morning, to avoid doubts along the way. The shortest tour, on the other hand, is within everyone’s ability, and it’s just as enjoyable and spectacular. To sum it all up, what remained at the end of the tour was a great sense of freedom, gratification, satisfaction and happiness... Not to mention all the support I got from the friends who were following my progress from home!!! It was a fantastic experience and I’ll definitely be a stronger person going back to everyday life. Worried about feeling lonely?! I can tell you from experience that a woman never sits down to dinner on her own in the bikers’ world J Have a good Dreilander tour!!!!


ALESSANDRO STORY


The Dreilandertour...what can I say...it’s a wonderful, unique, unforgettable experience which leaves you breathless. Shared, in my case, with a group of friends (I was with 6 other bikers and we all know each other very well) but certainly “doable” even on one’s own (it’s actually really easy to socialise with the numerous bikers that you’ll bump into on the trails or in the three hotels). This is a tour suitable for all "fat tyre" aficionados, for everyone from the fittest fanatics like myself to the more laid-back, and actually the fact that every morning you can choose between route “A” (tougher, longer and at higher altitudes) or route “B” (the easier option) means that everyone, and I mean everyone, including the couch potatoes amongst us, can make the most of the whole tour, taking in the amazing beauty of the landscape along the expertly marked out route selected by the organisers. The climb up Val Federia to Rifugio Cassana does wonders for your heart (in all senses)! When I made it to the top there was the most incredible view.... on one side, Italy with its Val Federia, and on the other, Switzerland and the Engadin!!! Wonderful!!! Well worth the effort, there’s no doubt... The biggest emotion?? There were so many, it’s hard to choose...for “climbers” like myself the ascent on asphalt to Umbrail Pass from Santa Maria (15 km of endless hairpin bends!!!) and then the dirt track (uphill all the way, needless to say!!!) to Bocchetta della Forcola...simply fantastic!!! It felt like being in heaven at the summit – the altimeter indicated 2850m!!! This place is absolutely unique – look to one side and there is the Stelvio with its snow-capped peaks and the 25 hairpin bends from Bormio up to the pass, then look the other way and there is the Ortler and a breath-taking view of the valley. Not to mention Val Alpisella and the source of the Adda river...wholeheartedly suggestive...What place did I find most memorable?? More than one, for sure...but two in particular: first and foremost Val Venosta-Alta Rezia with its famous cycle path all around the lake, ending up at the Curon church bell-tower submerged in the artificial lake at Rezia...picture postcard beautiful... then the unforgettable Val Duina with its amazing passages on an incredibly steep, non-bikeable single track...fantaaastic!!! A rough, rocky track, but also one of rare beauty!!! Where did I encounter the most difficulty?? It was probably here (it’s a really narrow track and you have to walk your bike for long stretches, but the view is simply amazing, and then there are the tunnels through the rock), an indescribable emotion...seeing is believing!!! It was just a pity that the weather wasn’t the best (cloudy with some drizzle) but it didn’t take away from the view...and was well worth the effort to get there... What else can I say...four days of unending emotions, the adrenalin on an all-time high – I’d be on to do it all over again straight away...so...See you soon Dreilandertour 2011!!!

 

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