Mountain Bike Magazine SANI - Autumn 2018 - Page 80

BUCKET LIST Graubunden up to Rinerhorn instead. The infrastructure in Graubünden seems perfectly geared towards us bikers when all too often we’re very much an after-thought of the winter tourism. Although we thought we’d skipped the hard part, Michi tells us that it’s about to get seriously physical. As I said before, from the mouth of a Swiss guide… time to buckle up! We now find ourselves on a narrow single track traversing up and down along the valley, in the direction of Monstein. After a super physical two hours, I’m developing tunnel vision. Nothing else matters, other than trying to survive and keep on Ale s back wheel. For a photographer with heavy gear he is surprisingly fit and super comfortable on the technical terrain. About another hour later we stop for a long, overdue lunch break. Perfectly synchronised, we fall into our chairs and order food and drinks without even looking at the prices. It’s a bit of a trap in Switzerland and a reason why some mountain bikers tend to be wary of the place. It is really a little economic island in Europe; people here earn more to spend more. A tough call for tourists from other countries, but honestly this is definitely a case of “you get what you pay 80 | MTB | bucket list busting for”. I’ve ridden all around the world and I’m sold on the high alpine experiences we had the last couple of days. It seems so easy to get around with your bike and to access this amazing, world class terrain. If Michi had not promised us a “spectacular highlight”, we would have found it difficult to give up this chill out zone. A couple of up and down trail kilometres later, Michi and Richie stop at the end of a climb. I only hear Richie screaming: “Oh my God, you have to see this Ale!” We are in the middle of a forest and I can’t imagine what could be so special about it, while also thinking I’m a bit too tired to get stoked about pretty much anything right now. Still, I arrive at the edge of something that looks like a massive quarry with a trail supported only by wooden beams cutting right across it. It looks super scary to traverse this steep rocky wall, but Ale has a shot set up within seconds and is ready to push the trigger. Richie is, of course, an original free ride legend and I am stoked to get to ride this part together. Worried about the fact that even Richie has second thoughts about some bits of this consequential little trail, we both commit and drop in. I totally forget how tired I am during this intense adrenaline surge and we end up riding it a couple of times. Then I see Ale with a smile on his face and I know it was all well worth it.From there we only ride downhill and we’re going crazy fast in places. It’s fun and we push it to the limit – the most addictive kind of riding. You know how people always say you mustn’t call your last lap? To reach the next train on time we need to hurry though, because it only leaves every hour. After finally seeing the Rhaetian Railway train station in Filisur with its traditional architecture and a friendly little kiosk with tables and chairs outside, I think to myself: “Ok, maybe this does look a bit like Disneyland after all.” Although the train is already at the platform about to leave, we can’t board without something cold and refreshing: ice cream and beers should do it. This is perhaps the most relaxed return ride ever. Maybe this notion also has to do with the fact that we are completely cooked from this amazing full day of riding. I can only hope it doesn’t take another 10 years until I get to ride with these guys again. If that’s the case though, I would like to come back here.