Okay, take this as a lesson against arrogance, teaching us about what happens when we overestimate our abilities. Over the past couple of years, we have done quite a few trips in the Swiss Alps which I’d call “challenging
”. Even though we are aware that we are no superheros, we wanted to step up the game in terms of adventurous spirit.
We'd heard mixed stories about Corsica. The enticing bits were about the pristine nature and a deserted inland, which is a rare thing in Central Europe. But we also read forum posts and articles, warnings about rough and unrideable trails. And, yes, I guess it was a mix of arrogance and carelessness to tackle the Mare-a-Mare, despite all that. Probably those guys just didn’t bring enough suspension or they lacked skills ,or stamina. So we led ourselves to believe.
In May 2014, we set out from Moriani Plage on the East Coast of Corsica, carrying tents, sleeping bags, and food for the four days we had calculated it would take us to cross the island. We were prepared to push and carry the bikes a lot, but what we actually encountered was, well, disappointing.
I wasn’t aware of how well those hiking trails at home in Switzerland are constructed and maintained. The trails in Corsica are a constant, energy-sapping series of small ups and downs, frequently destroyed by armies of wild boars and littered with billions of tight rocks, lurking to rip off derailleurs.
We hauled our trail bikes up hill after hill, always hoping for a longer, rideable bit of trail. It became a lesson in patience. To put it in a nutshell: If you are searching for long, epic downhills, look somewhere else.
But I’ll stop whining now. Because there are many aspects, that were absolutely stunning about that trip. There is something really special about starting a ride on a beach, entering an area of snow covered mountains and finding yourself on another beach again, all that within only four days.
The Corsican nature is really beautiful, especially in May, when the shrubland is in bloom and the whole island smells of wild thyme and other herbs. And if you are used to the densely populated nature of Central Europe, it is quite an unusual experience to ride for so many hours without meeting a single soul. About the Trip:
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and it belongs to France. It is very mountainous with 21 peaks reaching higher than 2000m. The inland is, when you take into account that it's located in Western Europe, quite deserted and pristine. For this trip, we followed the long distance hiking trail "Mare-a-Mare North
" from Moriani Plage on the East Coast to Porto on the West coast.
We did this in four days, which was quite an effort. Except from the city of Corte, it is kind of difficult to find accomodation and food supplies along the way, at least, if you tackle the route in May, which is what we did. This is why we decided to go self-supported, carrying tents, stove and food with us. Check out this guy's GPX track of the Mare-a-Mare North.