After getting some stellar days riding in Morzine and Les Gets
, Peak Leaders graduate, John Inman continued his post-Coaches Camp
road trip. Next stop was the latest addition to the DH World Cup series, Lenzerheide Bike Park in Switzerland.
Getting packed up on a dreary Tuesday morning, we began the 5 hour drive from Morzine (having to avoid most of the mountains), heading towards Lenzerheide Bike Park
in the Grison mountains of Switzerland. Although a long transfer in the car isn't always ideal, the scenery on parts of the drive was breathtaking, giving us plenty of views to keep us occupied. Seemingly endless mountains.Bike rack bringing some much welcome space in the car!Lenzerheide bound.
We also had the added excitement of checking out the newest stop in the UCI DH MTB World Cup. Built over the summers of 2013 and 2014, Lenzerheide has put a lot of investment into gravity riding. With a track designed by MTB legend Steve Peat, we were all buzzing to get a look at the run where Greg Minnaar became the ]winningest male DH racer of all time (surpassing the infamous track builder himself). The are great facilities in the park itself, with bike hire, workshop, bike wash and cafe to keep you and your bike going during the day.
Whilst it's been in the news for its contribution to the World Cup, there is a large 'bike region' in the area surrounding Lenzerheide that extends from the South from Malix up to Brienz and the North from Piz Scalottas to Parpaner Rothorn. The majority of the riding here caters for trail riders, with over 300km of signposted trails and 850km of GPS mapped routes (most of which can be lift accessed) means there is potential here for some epic loops on smaller bikes. But since you aren't allowed to take bikes with over 160mm of travel on lifts other than the one serving the bike park, it's definitely on the list to come back to.
Unfortunately we weren't blessed with the same weather as had been enjoyed for the World Cup itself, with rain and low cloud spoiling most of the view. We did however, have the bike park to ourselves thanks to it being close to low season. So after getting fully waterproofed up we headed up on the (almost brand new) gondola.
There are currently 5 trails from beginner to expert that make up the park. After dropping in on the wooden berm that feeds into all the trails, we headed off down the blue FLOWline. As its name suggests, this is a great place to start. Whilst not being particularly steep, there is enough gradient to carry good speed down the seemingly endless berms and tables, which meander down the 400m of elevation in the park to the jumps and drop progression at bottom.
Next up was PRIMEline. A red intermediate trail, it was bigger version of FLOWline with fast berms, bigger jumps and some north shore bridges waiting to be doubled. From this trail, you can also cut out and head down two other runs. SHOREline (as the name suggests) is one long runs of ladders down to the bottom with wooden berms and drops keeping the speed up in some places. What was a really nice touch was the sandpaper texture that had been applied to all the woodwork in Lenzerheide, meaning you got more predictable grip even in the wet. STYLEline stepped up on the jumping side of things with a nice progression of dirt and wooden kickers of different sizes.Bridge pull ups on PRIMEline!Before hitting the final drop in back to the Gondola.
Getting our fill of flow trails, and with the weather clearing up, it was time to have a look at STRAIGHTline used for the World Cup. The most direct route down the mountain, the track mainly snakes down underneath the gondola. It's full on from the top down to the bottom, mixing open technical sections with lots of line choice with fast berms and big jumps, definitely worthy of World Cup status! Whilst the first rock garden was manageable with the rocks still offering grip despite the rain, other more rooty sections were much more testing. Having made your way down, you reach the final drop in with a super steep roll in before the last bridge jump into the finishing berm. Scoping the Rock Garden on STRAIGHTline.Dropping in on one of the technical sections in the woods.Steep and open sections link up the jumps and technical sections in the woods, but are by no means a rest!Buzzing.Sending the infamous bridge jump
After a day of smashing laps and getting 5000m of descent in, everyone was feeling stoked but beat up so we decided to call it. Especially since we wanted to save some energy for the drive and our next destination, Livingo in Italy!
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