The Big Picture | Christmas Riding in the Flow Valley
Even in mid-December, the boys & girls of the Flow Valley Community look to be having a great time, check out the pictures of their end of the year review. At Christmas, the co-founders of the movement Robert & Andrea did their last tour of the season before the winter covered all the Bavarian Alp trails with snow.
It’s the day before Christmas eve, I am sitting in front of my desktop at the hotel’s reception and I am annoyed about the cancellations due to the lack of snow.
Suddenly my phone tells me I’ve got a message. Päris is texting: “nice and warm weather tomorrow, let’s rock a trail, winter is finally coming in the next days and then the riding season will be over….” But it’s christmas eve tomorrow“ I hesitate, “No worries, we start early in the morning so we will be back right in time for gift giving with our dearest family”.
The destination is found easily: our favourite trail in the Flow Valley: the longest, nicest flow, technical riding over rocks and roots. It’s just the perfect trail, as we would built it if we had to. Unfortunately it’s alignment is not southern, so we are wondering if it’s gonna be rideable due to the snow situation on the higher mountains, but we agree: let’s give it a chance! Just in case we pack our “Grödeln“ (non-skip chains for hiking boots) into our backpacks and head to bed early to be fit for the next day.
It’s Christmas eve, early in the morning. I take a glance out of the window: clear blue sky! I jump out of my bed, taking a sip of my cappuccino to wake up and then quickly leave to reach our starting point. Some fog lies beautifully on the lake’s surface.
Minus 3 degrees celsius, we turn the cranks uphill, we are getting warmer. Then the gravel road ends in the middle of nowhere. Now it’s time to carry our bikes on our backpacks on a steep and adventurous bushwalk uphill, branches scratch our faces until we suddenly hit a hidden track used by hunters and venison. “Yeah – found it“ I am shouting happily as soon as I stand on the little track, each time it’s a welcome moment after the sweaty battle with the trees and branches on our steep uphill in the deep forest.
A little bit later we hit a small hut. The sun is burning the sky and we enjoy it’s warm beams on the hut’s wooden wall. Time for a break, luckily we took some Christmas cookies with us. We fill up our water supplies with crystal clear water from the little spring – well prepared now for the long descent. The last meters to the summit are icy, so we slip our “Grödeln“ over the soles of our fiveten shoes, this is how we perfectly scramble any summit in wintertime. On top of the mountain a warm wind is blowing, and a stunningly clear view reveals a 360 degree view into the Karwendel summits.
Excitedly we pull on our kneepads, with a fat grin on our faces, since we both know, a long, epic trail on the ridgeline without a soul around us is what we are expecting. And so we start our ride, the first 150 meters in altitude difference are full of snow, but it’s not deep and it surprisingly has a lot of grip. We are trailsurfing with a big smile and cheering in joy in the sunny Christmas light.
Soon all winter feeling is gone and the trail is getting dusty, we have in mind it’s Christmas Eve today and this is our special gift.
Soon the technical switchbacks are slowing us down, but we manage to ride all of them, we have done this awesome ride plenty of times this year, but this time it’s the icing on the 2014 cake. Winter: now you are welcome to start.
If you wanna see more awesome pictures visit the: Flow Valley Facebook.
Words & Pictures: Andrea Kohlndorfer & Robert Werner