Over the last month or so we've been doing some exploring on our bikes in various areas that are within a couple hours from Rome. A few weeks ago we joined a big group ride in Mandela to raise funds for the town of Amatrice. Amatrice was at the epicenter of the August earthquake. We met a lot of great folks in Mandela and got the real lowdown on some more areas to check out for riding. Check out the links below for more on the day. We're in there somewhere.
Last week we ventured to Isola del Gran Sasso for a wet and slick ride in the national park where our navigation skills were put to the test. Not all roads lead to Rome. Our bodies were also put to the test of dealing with ridiculously high humidity. Something we haven't had to deal with in a quite a while. As the rain and thunderstorms joined our ride we welcomed the cool down and continued riding in relief from our own drenching sweat.
The weather has gradually started cooling off here in Italy. The August crowds are gone along the coastal beach towns also, so we headed west for the Mediterranean Sea and Punta Ala. More specifically the Bandite Trail system. We were told on multiple occasions that we needed to check out this area for riding and relaxation. Done!
Punta Ala is in the Tuscano region of Italy and sits right along the coast. We decided to camp for the weekend at a beach resort that was central to the mountain biking trails and was also home to the local bike shop. Following a stormy night in the tent we hit up the bike shop for some beta on trails, had a couple cups of coffee and off we went to find the goods.
The goods were good and rowdy. We had done a bit of our own research and had an idea on what trails we wanted to ride. This area had hosted a few enduro races in the past. If our own past experiences with enduro stages rang true we were in for a rough ride. After a long climb to the top of Buca della Neve (Snow hole) we found our first test. Tre Dita. This trail was rowdy as. Especially when you forget to unlock your front fork. I was wondering why my hands were so tired at the bottom.
After our first lap we had a quick refuel and a glance at the map. Deciding to climb up a different route posed a steep challenge back to the top. We not scared. The ever so popular european mode of pushing your bike up the trails was well worth the end result of Rock OH! Another killer trail with deep rocky v's and a few new twists in riding for the both of us. This trail offered just about any range of gnar you wanted. Which was a great challenge in line choice but this trail and Tre Dita ended up being our new favorite trails within a couple hours of Rome. We'll be back.
Feeling like we had a great day of riding under our belt we headed to our campsite's beach for an afternoon of relaxing by the sea. Followed by a delicious dinner of grilled meats and veggies along with raviolis the size of your head covered in truffle oil. A great ending to a great day. This day was one of our best in regards to everything falling into place. We commented at dinner that living in Italy and planning a trip to the tee, whether it's to ride or not, was nearly impossible. Big win for us in Punta Ala.
We had more rain overnight and Sunday morning so we called it quits on Punta Ala. This place is beautiful and the options are endless for mountain biking, surfing, sailing, beaching, etc. We'll surely make an effort to come back to enjoy all this place has to offer. Wanna come visit?
The plan for Sunday was to hit the first veggie stand we found and drink more coffee to the point of edginess. Neither is hard to do in the country. The veggie stand was about ten minutes outside of town. Here we stocked up for the next few days with fresh veggies, fruits, juices, jams, spreads, etc. Another ten minutes or so and we hit another coastal town that just happened to have coffee, surfers, pretty boats, and great views. Not a bad Sunday. Or weekend.
Don't forget to click on the Flickr icon at the top of the page or on the Home page for the complete album of pictures from this trip. Thanks for reading about our adventures!