28 hours door to door. One long drive.
I’d set off from the Lakes on Friday night at 5pm straight after work to drive to Newcastle to pick up Roz. We packed that night and as usual, Roz had ‘misplaced’ all her washed clothes ready for the trip. Not Ideal. Anyway, we found the clothes and set off just after 7am from Witton-Le-Wear on Saturday morning.
A quick stop to make some soup in France and we carried on into the night.
We stopped once for a sleep and made sure to have a break ever hour or so.
We traveled through Switzerland at sunrise and then headed into Italy.
The traffic on Sunday morning going through Milan was busy and we made slow progress till we arrived at the Lake at 12 noon.
A quick set up of the tent and we had a look out to get our bearings.
We were based at the north of the lake – the most mountainess part – and saw this as the best base for riding.
The weather throughout the week was hot, mid 30’s, and not too comfortable to ride.
We’d do a short ride in the morning and then I’d go back out alone on the evening for a longer one. We’d finish the day with a short swim in the Lake.
It took us a few days to get used to the maps and what to ride, and what not to ride. There were a few sketchy rides on my own ending up on ‘”freeride” routes. Very steep and very technical. Not what I was expecting.
We’d thoroughly recommend riding from Lake Garda and there’s some big climbs, technical single track, and awesome views.
After nearly 2 weeks of riding and sun, we left the lake heading towards Chamonix for the inov-8 Athlete Retreat.
We were in Chamonix for just over a week.
The second day we were there a few of the team and staff had entered the Vertical K race that was being help on the Friday night before the Mont Blanc Marathon races over the weekend.
The course was 3.8km long, with 1km ascent. It was hard work, but a real good race non the less. We set off in 15second intervals which lead to a queue of people leading up the steep switch backs handmade for good spectating over the entire night.
For the rest of the week, the weather and company was good and had some pretty fun days out running, riding and filming.
Our last week in Europe was to be spent in Friedrichshafen on Lake Konstanz at the OutDoor Show. However, with the inov-8 athletes leaving Chamonix earlier than expected, it gave us a few spare days to do our own thing. So we decided to go and ride from Morzine.
We arrived just after midday on Saturday and decided to have a quick ride up Le Pleney (lift had been destroyed) and then get a lift pass for the Sunday.
We decided to ride the Portes Du Soleil route (80km) on the Sunday and set off on the first lift up out of Morzine. The weather was good and the trails sticky but mostly dry – a little different to the dry rocky trails that we had been used to from Lake Garda!
We were making good progress and entering Chatel around miday. After the lift from Chatel there’s a climb to Le Corbeau (1991m) before dropping down to Morgins.
On that descent, Roz had a nasty fall and cut her legs, arm and hurt her shoulder pretty bad. After a little rest we carried on but planned to cut the ride slightly shorter and miss out the descent from Les Crosets to Champery.
Heading back to Morzine earlier than expected, we decided to miss out a shorter large trail descent in favour of an extra lift and long fast road descent with lots of switchbacks. Good fun racing cars (and road bikes!).
We had a nice meal, packed up and left the following morning heading to Lake Constance (Bodensee).
We arrived in good time heading to the ‘messe’ and relaxed before meeting up with some friends later in the day for a beer or two.
Me and Roz would be manning the outdoor test shoe tent again.
The OutDoor show seemed quiet with less visitor than previous but we still had a good show.
We now have a long drive back to the UK. The trip is over. It’s been over a month now and I’m glad to be going back home. I can’t wait for a rest and a long ride in the Lakes.
For more pics – see instagram.com/singlespeedmatt