FIN. Finale trails, as smooth and creamy as good Gelato

Another interseason, another trip to Finale. Following the annual MTB migratory route to the Italian Riviera (except the bit where you head back to the frozen north after a few days, seems we’ve still some learning to do from them birds).

It’s good to get in on copying your favourite pro’s social media which, until recently, will have been filled with #preseason #shakedown and #testing in the sunny south. Or even your friends who will have been busy with #newbikeday and getting some dust in to try out their new whips.

OK, so Rohan's not on a new bike, or doing a whip, but Rollercoaster is a good trail none the less.

I saw the trip the other way round, a last chance to ride my bike before it goes to a new owner. I try to avoid unbridled enthusiasm, or even any enthusiasm, it’s just not what the cool kids do, but my Canyon Strive has done me well for the last 2 years and I’m pretty sad to see it go. Through races, bike parks, mud, dust, rock and root it’s just rumbled along not complaining and, except for the odd puncture or crash squinted saddle and pulled cable, never have I had a mechanical. Well, except the first shapeshifter unit, but it just got left in DH mode all the time anyways.

The strive might be a great #enduro bike, but alas it doesn't make the rider able to do great #enduro turn-downs.

But, it’s sold and gone now, so I’ll save you any anthropomorphism of an object and get back to the more interesting bit of the trails.

Last spring we rode Isallo Extasy and declared it the pure bestest trail ever in Finale, so figured it would make a grand first trail of the trip this year. Only it’d been raining solid for the previous three days and our shuttle driver asked us no to ride it. A bit of guessing later we headed down an only slightly slick roller coaster, which was good but not as good as Isallo.

Choose Finale, choose a trail, choose Rollercoaster above the Mediterranean sea.

It also turned out not to be as good as Toboggan which too goes from the Din drop off point and was mibbies all four of our favourite trail. Rohan because he didn’t have me getting in his way, Gabrielle because she didn’t crash on it and didn’t have me and Spence getting in her way, and me and Spence ‘cos we managed to have a conversation the whole way down. And didn’t crash.

We didn't get any photos on Toboggan, too much fun to stop, so here's Gabrielle getting heckled somewhere else.

Completing our three days of shuttle to Din we final(e)ly went and rode Insalo again, only to discover later on Strava that our previous favourite trail is, in fact, called Fast and Furious. The names don’t really matter anyway, I wouldn’t want to declare which is better and fortunately we’re not in some contrived tv gameshow where we have to choose, so I’d say go and ride them both, 2 great ways to start your day. Or, if you’re like our new friend Rainer who we met at the base of Toboggan, him having arrived from Isalo looking very not-covered-in-mud, ride them both in the same day with just a few thousand meters of pedalling up inbetween.

Rainer on Cacciatore, in between a mere 2500m of climbing for laps.

I find the closer I get to Finale town the less I enjoy the trails. Not the the trails closer to town are bad mind, more that the style of the trail becomes much more physical and, if I’m honest, more like it’s trying to break your bike. As my bike was no longer actually MY bike on this trip, I was more keen than usual to avoid breaking it. Breaking myself is something I can manage anywhere.

Sun, dust, scrub and rocky trails. Quintessential Finale riding.

The exception to the rule would be the trails leading back into Orco Feglino town itself from Chiesa San Rocco which, like the nearby Pino Morto trail, don’t bother with any of that pesky mid-trail uphill rubbish or require any great finesse to ride. Just lots of holding onto the bars and not the brakes fun, swing the hips about, look where you want to go and holler on through.

Rain stopped uplift on the 4th day, but the sun came out to play for the afternoon, Gabrielle in the light and on Rugetta/EWS '14 special stage 3.

Trails that are so much fun, when we went to do a few shuttle laps on the last day before heading home I got all anti social and just kept doing top to bottom laps rather than sharing the fun. It was my last play out on the Strive, let me have my moment. I’d never ridden Little Champery before this trip (no idea how, I’ve ridden past the entrance often enough) but it got the questionable honour of being the last trail I rode on the Strive, a fitting last blast.

Time for a change.

Do you even #lightbro? Spence on the fine combination of Kill Bill/Madonna.

Off to Scotland now for some mud and ALE.

You thought the racers were struggling to see in Lourdes, think how we felt. DH cat don't care tho.

Cheers Spence, Gabrielle and Rohan, and Canyon, for yet another grand trip. FIN