It’s strange how things so close can seem so far away. How events can change our perception and make a known landscape a point of obsession.
As mountain bikers we often imagine riding any terrain we see, drawing curves and making virtual jumps in our minds. Imagining what lies behind crests, which lines could be ridden and what type of dirt can be found.
While watching this mountain from our window during the lockdown our imagination was strong. We were eager to ride it. Wishing to be teleported by some kind of magic.
This is not the story of getting there but being there.
When the lockdown ends, we checked some maps, took our bikes and gears, and headed up to see what’s what.
The summit culminates at 2800m above sea level. Behind it, a valley climbs to reach a mountain lake surrounded by the peaks that form the natural border between Italy and Switzerland. It is a raw landscape.
Brutal yet beautiful, rock faces dispute the space with waterfalls. Light fights against the dark—the weather changes quickly up there. Patches of snow were still hanging onto the northern faces. The soundtrack wasn’t bad either and we could hear rocks falling from the peaks.
The whole ambience was stirring our imagination of impossible lines to ride. We stick to the feasible—not everyone is Brett Tippie! But there were plenty of options to have fun.
The steep slick rocks were perfect for riding and the ridge free of snow created a striking aesthetic. The trail connecting the valley to the mountain refuge wasn’t bad either. Loose and fast.
Rain jacket on and off, sunglasses or not, chin bar on and off. It’s better to be prepared for all possibilities! That includes having some rest by the mountain lake.
Back home, checking the pictures of the journey and watching once again the mountain by the window, it seems to us different. It’s not an anonymous landmark any more—it’s ours.
Text and Pictures: Ulysse Daessle