A short preface. Heidi wrapped up her first year at AOSR last week and promptly left me to attend a conference in Washington D.C. While there, she'll be staying in a luxurious dorm room with her own sheets, pillow, and shower kit. Unfortunately her RA denied our request to allow me to stay the week so I stayed back in Roma. To ride bikes.
We been blessed to have met so many great people around Rome who mountain bike. Our biker buddies are all willing and eager to show us the areas surrounding Rome and beyond that offer the best mountain biking. It seems with every new trip we find ourselves in a place with impressive riding. The last couple of weeks have proved to me that the riding we enjoy most is out there for the taking.
I'm going to make a better effort to photograph and write trip reports about our rides in the areas surrounding Rome. We've been pretty spoiled by our new bike crew. All we've had to do is show up to a certain location and ride. No map or GPS to follow, just hold on and ride. I'm sure you can agree that having local knowledge and experience while exploring a new bike trail, city, ski area, etc, is a huge bonus. We can't thank them all enough for all the help, direction and guidance they've given us. We'd literally be lost. And probably in poor mental health also. That being said, I'd like to take the time to shoot more images and take the time to understand where the hell I am on our rides. My plan is to make our routes, rides, and tours available on a map with a link to each ride for those who care to see that info.
Here we go.
After another invite from our betty biker buddy, Annalisa, I was headed back to an area we'd ridden in the past and loved, Monte Livata. This ride or should I say tour, would be a completely different ride form the first. The Quick and Dirty: Grab a shuttle in Subiaco, drop off near Monte Livata, pedal (new term for riding uphill) into Parco dei Monti Simbruini, ride singletrack uphill (YES!!!), descend on fast, rugged singletrack to Campo Staffi, ride back uphill to descend more fast, rugged singletrack to Fiumata via the Sorgenti dell'Aniene. Map of Ride
This tour was exactly what I needed. I had started loosing faith in finding rides that weren't just climbs on pavement to a single descent back to the bottom. I wanted to ride my bike all day, up, down, across, over, and around the terrain. Not just up to go down. From the very beginning of this ride I was stoked to be on my bike. Just being an hour outside of Rome in the mountains was a refreshing feeling. Cool mountain weather, fresh breezes, great views, and the company of fellow mountain bike people made for the perfect day.
The riding was fantastic. Once we hit the dirt in the park and started climbing on singletrack I was in heaven. I could have just ridden up and down that particular trail all day and been happy. When we topped out on a small summit of rock for our first big descent the view reminded me of Colorado. Pine tree covered mountains in all directions and blue sky. The descent was fast and rugged but flowy enough to open it up and choose your own adventure. There were plenty of options for line choice. You could make it as smooth or as gnarly as you liked. Having those variation in the trail is what, for me, makes a trail rad.
At the bottom of the first descent I was grinning ear to ear. Now, we'd climb and traverse to Campo Saffi through an area once owned by the Pope. Most of this section was along a dirt road with small pieces of singletrack if you chose to ride it. Again, choose your own adventure. The scenery was wonderful so being along on a dirt road wasn't an issue. I was actually scoping out camping spots for future trips when Heidi and I come back to ride here when Roma is an oven.
Our last portion of trail down to Fiumata was much like the first part but included a short section of technical singletrack through rocky switchbacks. The trail had filled in with fallen leaves that gave you the feeling of almost riding through powder snow. On the other hand the leaves also covered up any big rocks in the trail. I loved it. Line choices were aplenty and having space to move and even make a mistake or two was great. I guess I just realized I like trails with a lot of variation and not just one choice of line down the hill.
As we approached the end of the ride we pulled off for a picnic in a big meadow along the creek. Everyone seemed really stoked on the day. All smiles and plenty of good vibes. I have to say the mountain bike community here in Rome is top notch. The people in this commnity have never made me feel like a stranger to something I'm so passionate about and even sometimes (like this day) have made me feel at home.