1800km by car and a few hours on the ferry – that's how far we had to travel from Poland to get to the island of Corsica, where the average annual temperature is above 20 degrees Celsius and the topography makes driving feel like an arcade racing game.
Our main goal for the trip was a photo shoot and a test of our new Enduro prototypes. When choosing a place, we were mostly looking for big mountains and good weather. Daily checking of various weather forecasts had given us a clear answer – the Alps and the Dolomites are simply not the best places in Europe to ride bikes in mid-October, and certainly not suitable for a successful photo shoot.
Two days before the trip we decided to take the risk and to go to a place where none of us had ever been, a place with tall mountains and temperatures similar to a warm, Polish summer. Corsica, which we knew from school as the birthplace of Napoleon, has much more to offer than just the memories of the "great" leader. More than 200 peaks, rising to over 2000 meters above sea level can be found on this one island. The place was beyond our expectations.
| Corsica, seen from the ferry, already promised to be stunning. Leaning against the railing we were already planning our first downhill runs in the ravines, visible from afar.|
Not bothered by the fact that most of us hadn't gotten a wink of sleep for more than 24 hours, we only wanted to do one thing – to finally ride and capture it in pictures. We left the ferry, headed to the capital of Corsica, Bastia. After a quick check-in at a hotel with a view of the harbor, we grabbed breakfast and headed off.
| During the drive between Marine de Lur and Pino we realized that we were in the right place. Mediterranean flora, summer-like temperatures, abandoned cars on slopes and plenty of wild tracks asking for us to ride them on two wheels. |
| We didn't hesitate for too long. The first downhill run was the last of the day - amazing lighting, with beautiful serpentine and winding singletrack overlooking the coast under the sun's last rays.|
We spent the night in the capital of Corsica enjoying local food, local beer and planning for the next day of shooting. Riding outside the town of Calacuccia awaited us the following day.
The next day our journey reminded us of National Geographic movies - high, "naked" mountains surrounded us on both sides. We parked at an elevation of over 1700m; there was no forest, and the walking trail heads up to the lake Lac de Mel.
| On Corsica it's normal to meet animals on the road - cows, bulls and even wild pigs.|
Climbing even higher, in an remote area we stumbled upon a hut that turned out to be a paliaghju. Local shepherds use this type of building to make cheese and keep hay for sheep.
After two hours of climbing we found the place we were searching for - green grass, huge flat stones, and, of course, our constant companion - one of the hundreds of streams. This is where we spent a couple of hours and then had an epic descent back to the car. This path was like an Enduro race segment from our dreams.
| On the way down we used the only crossing along the creek. This place, surrounded by hundreds of meters of mountain slopes, full of unimaginable boulders and crystal clear water (which, we do not know why, seemed warm to us) will stay in our memories for a long time.|
| In Corte we decided to go to the western part of the island, to Ajaccio, the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. We drove less than 80km/h for over two hours and that was on the main road.|
The last day of our stay on the island came. Sunset did not make such an impression on us as the sunrise, so we decided to go back over the previous 200km, to the spot from the first day. We don't need to write once again how many hours the journey took, but what we will write is that it was definitely worth it. In Corsica, 200km is enough to go through the whole of Europe, Canada and some of Utah. Along the way, it even seemed as if we were were in the Polish Beskids for a brief moment. We liked the canyon (where we stopped several times to admire the views) the most.
| Time was running out, the sunset was approaching relentlessly, so we raced on (along the road we had a few more stops of course, it's Corsica after all) and we managed to make it before sunset. Unfortunately the weather wasn't too favorable. We waited and waited for the proper sunshine ray, but the clouds refused to moved. |
| Well, are we going to the beach then?|
And so we did! Our only regret is that we couldn't stay longer because Corsica is the perfect place for a winter bike trip in Europe.
Photos by www.wolisphoto.com