We've now had our first full week of the mountain bike season - "Highs & Lows Week". And we're loving our first feedback of 2015!
"Not only a great guide but also a great photographer thank you so much for this amazing week, best vacation we've ever been on"
Here are some photos from the week. The sun was shining and the trails were epic. The Livigno team do such a great job of getting everything ready for the summer season.
We're running this week again on 1st August so get in touch if you'd like to know more.
Dave from Singletrack Magazine came and rode with us in October and have just featured 10 pages of us in this month's magazine. Want to know what they thought? Check out the article here!
So having returned from Livigno feeling like I could rival Ratboy in the skill stakes (that may have been the Aperol Spritz talking!) I thought it an opportune moment to tackle one of Britain’s best and most well attended Enduro events; cue me and 3 riding buddys rocking up at ‘Ard Rock Enduro nr Swaledale in the awesome Yorkshire Dales. Having bought some new XT brakes (excellent kit) I arrived at the event campsite bright and early to fit them to my clean and well fettled bike, this went surprisingly well and left me with a warm fuzzy feeling as my mates arrived to see me set up like a king in the Camper van, beer in hand and Stumpy raring to be ridden.
So onto Saturday ‘practice’; fabulous weather and all of us in a positive frame of mind saw us fly up the first climb and all clean the first timed stage with huge smiles and possibly even just a little bit of style; drifting through steep turns in a normally closed quarry immediately showed us just how special ‘Ard Rock is. We pushed on (sometimes literally as it got very steep!) in positive spirits finding a lovely pub for a spot of lunch and some minor mechanical fettling. Timed stage 3 came and went with the same helpings of awesome technical rocky descents and swooping grassy singletrack but then came the sting in the tail, stages 4 and 5 saw some brutal and long transitions with some difficult and tight climbs, the hike a bike up to stage 4 being particularly noteworthy! Undeterred we pressed on and as we crested stage 5 transition and saw the grassy descent through toppled down signature Yorkshire dales dry stone walls our spirits lifted; the camp was in sight and it was reached by a great looking final timed stage. Tired but suitably enthused we all cleared the stage and made it back to camp exhausted but satisfied. It was at this point we bumped into Joe Reynolds, event organiser, general MTB expert and all round good bloke, he asked how the day had gone and upon our explaining we had completed the whole course he looked somewhat shocked and said ‘most people don’t do that in Practice, in fact we made it longer to put people off!’. We shrugged this off and headed back to the van for some burgers, beer and sleep.
Sunday dawned with drizzle and cloud and the 4 of us feeling rather tired with Joe Reynold’s words echoing in our head; nonetheless we hopped onto the bikes and peddled off for our 10am start. The first climb was a different proposition on Race day, we were much slower, there was very little banter and we eventually slogged to the top of the first time stage. It was here I sat back a little and ‘had a word with myself’ my concentration was wavering and I was struggling to hit any clean lines which didn’t bode well for the descent! Suitably mentally fortified I reminded myself how fast we had rode this descent yesterday and set myself the challenge of beating yesterdays run (in the shape of overtaking my slightly faster mate!). Things started ok with the top steep & loose gravel section allowing me to build some confidence back; that was until I went into one corner just a little too fast lost the back of the bike and only just managed to stay onboard, confidence shaken again! Another little internal chat to psyche myself up and I put the hammer down again dropping into, the by now very sloppy, rutted grassy switchbacks on the lower slopes; then it happened. Lacking in confidence but bursting with bravado I tried to rail each switchback harder than the last but then confronted with a nasty looking rutted muddy drop-off my confidence ran out and I stupidly grabbed a handful of front brake whilst pointing across a turn, downhill in mud; cue an acrobatic excursion over the bars and an unfortunate landing on top of the bike; I immediately knew I was quite badly injured but nonetheless got back in the saddle and gingerly picked my way to the bottom. At this point the marshals pointed out there was blood dripping down my frame from my elbow and left leg and that perhaps they should check me out, I tried to step off the bike and immediately realised my left thigh was badly numb and I couldn’t really move, falling to the ground ungracefully was not in the plan but was the only option. The marshals patched up my scars and with bravado kicking back in I tried to soldier on; I made it about 200 yards up the next climb before realising I was in a bad way, dejected and frankly furious with myself I made my apologies and goodbyes to my mates and slowly wheeled the mile downhill back to the event site, handed in my timing chip and went back to the van.
My mates arrived back 5hrs later brimming with stories but absolutely shattered; I busied myself with cooking whilst they recounted the day; I didn’t really want to hear it, I was still kicking myself for such a rookie mistake but slowly as the night wore on (and beer was consumed) I started to accept it for what it was and get involved in the banter. By now my thigh was twice its normal size and a healthy shade of purple; needless to say the 6 hr drive back to Bristol in a 1980s VW Camper with the world’s heaviest clutch didn’t help! This crash has cost me 2 months off my bike and multiple physio sessions to heal what I now know to be a severe quadratic haematoma (really really bad dead leg to you and me!) but it has prompted me to think a little about how I approach our sport. I have always known that you need as much confidence as you do skill and that having the ‘kahunas’ to look ahead let the bike run and flow faster through technical stuff is the way to gain speed but what I have now learnt is that when confidence turns to bravado it must be tempered; a little bit of self awareness does no harm and I now know I overstretched myself in the run up to the race and indeed on the day.
Endurance mountain biking is about 2 forms of balance, the obvious one with you and the bike staying the right way up; and the less obvious one of knowing your own limits and knowing when to push yourself to those limits (and maybe just beyond them so you get faster!), get that right and you have amazing days on the bike, get it wrong and you get 2 months of physio!
I’m back on the bike now and have a long weekend of Welsh riding coming up (Bike Park Wales is well worth the trip by the way!), here’s hoping I strike the right balance in every sense!
Who doesn't love a technical, steep and slippery decent to test your nerves, skills and balance? Our MonkeyMTB Hard Rock Week provided ample battle scars for those involved!
Do you like to take your kids out on trails? Want them to see what mountain biking is all about? We can offer a family package where we'll show you trails suitable for all levels.
We offered these lovely ladies a very unique week of yoga and biking combined luxury spa action and the obligatory glass of prosecco. We can tailor make packages to suit your group. Next year we're looking to run a Pilates week - get in touch to register your interest!
One of the things we, here at MonkeyMTB, love about Livigno is it is a place you can go biking with mixed groups or as a couple. With the flow country trails accessed via lifts and the varied trails in the bike park, you are sure to keep the most daring members of your group and those wanting to push themselves and learn more, equally entertained all holiday. But being one of the best bike parks in the world, Livigno felt it was time to open a brand new trail which was truly suitable for EVERYONE.
Eas23 is a very streamlined course, which can be ridden fast for the more experienced but is also very safe for beginners thanks to an average 6% gradient. It is 2100m long and starts from the Mottolino gondola top terminal. The trail runs under the lift coming down to the overpass where it comments to other trails. Although plans are in place to continue building this trail down to the bottom before the summer is out.
So if you fancy riding this, or the must do DH 2005 MTB World Cup track, MonkeyMTB can offer guided riding on the trails, lift passes, bike hire, half board across the choice of three hotels and airport transfers from Milan. www.monkeymtb.com
Well summer is well and truly here. Horah! While it’s baking hot back in Blighty, here in Livigno the sun is shining, the snow has melted and the trails are filling up. It’s been a fantastic start to the summer mountain biking season with the Nine Knights festival showcasing their amazing skills on Mottolino with visitors getting to ride with some of the world’s best freeride mountain bikers. Plus all the excitement on the mountain spilled into the town for the the après-ride with beers and aperol spritzers being served on the street into the small hours. Good job the gondola ride and the fresh air helps clear your head the morning after!
We’ve also seen Hans Rey on the trails riding with us regularly and capturing his days on the mountains on his Instagram feed. We love riding with him, especially when you think you can keep up only to realise he’s going easy on you as he wheelies, does a 180 and rides off into the distance leaving you for dust.
And this week we’ve seen the opening of a new EAS23 trail on Mottolino. A nice flowing trail which for experienced riders allows you to ride fast with plenty of jumps ,or if you want to warm your legs up, provides a smooth decent with an average 6% gradient so great for those starting out. Check out this sneak preview.
So if you fancy joining us for the key season of August, where the bars and trails are in full swing, get in touch as we have some spaces left during the peak season – with no additional or overinflated charge for travelling during the holiday period. Our prices are the same throughout the season.