My First Enduro

Well i’m off to my first enduro, more specifically the Sandy Lane Enduro hosted by http://www.meteormc.com/.  It is on Sunday but i’m leaving saturday morning for it.  Lets hope the bike is in good working order and I come back in one piece, maybe even with a trophy?  Adios i’ll see you on the flip side!!  Hopefully with lots of pics and maybe some video if they let me!

 

Wish me luck!!!  Have you done an enduro, or timed event or even a race?

Riding the Alps – The San Bernardino Pass

The San Bernardino Pass was definitely one of my favorites. Maybe my favorite all around.

We snaked our way up and down the pass after stopping at a small grocery in the town of Splugen.

Water and a snack in Splugen

Water and a snack in Splugen

The way the road is laid out, the quality of the pavement (and the color, which made it very easy to read), the varying landscapes and shift in elevation made for an amazing ride. IIRC (and I say that loosely, some of the passes are blending together in my memory and I find it hard to separate some parts from others), the front side climbed up the face of the mountain, surrounding by bright green grass and a steep set of corners etched into the edge of the mountain. The lush grasses and blue skies added an amazing colorful contrast to the grey snake of pavement – it was absolutely beautiful.

San Bernardino Pass

San Bernardino Pass

The San Bernardino Pass

The San Bernardino Pass

At the top is a small lake and restaurant, much like many of the other passes. We saw a few guys milling around a couple of new Multistradas, with camera crew and photogs in tow – THAT must be a horrible job, being FORCED to test bikes on those roads.

Restaurant at the top of San Bernardino

Restaurant at the top of San Bernardino

At the top of the San Bernardino Pass

At the top of the San Bernardino Pass

Coming down the back side (to us), the road opened up into a racetrack with more fantastic elevation changes and what appeared to be a missile silo (Pimmie later informed me that I was an idiot, and that the silo was actually one of the vent tubes bringing fresh air to the San Bernardino Tunnel found deep below us). Sheesh.

San Bernardino becomes a racetrack

San Bernardino becomes a racetrack

Pimmie and I on San Bernardino

Pimmie and I on San Bernardino

Me and My Sweet, Mademoiselle Fuzzy Galore

Me and My Sweet, Mademoiselle Fuzzy Galore

Riding the Alps – Some quick lessons

Once we left Como on the way up to Bellagio, we immediately learned an important lesson about roads over in Italy – sometimes they aren’t very wide.  Often, you are sharing road space with oncoming traffic in what we would consider a narrow one-way street in the States.   At times the road tightens with little warning, where you can come around a blind turn and suddenly realize there’s just enough room for 1 car to make it through, and you are facing-off with a large metro bus coming in the opposite direction.   Once you’ve spent a little time travelling it becomes a lot more commonplace, but I can say that the first few times it happens it’s rather surprising.

And tunnels.  Tunnels everywhere (which makes sense, sometimes it’s much easier to go through the mountain than around it), and there are tons of mountains (which is why we went in the first place :) ).  Some are lined with concrete, lighted, etc – others are simply holes blown out of the mountain without lighting.  With turns.  Inside.  Hairpins.  In the dark.  Sometimes they’ll punch out some windows through the rock, which offer small one-second vistas as you meander through the tunnel.  They were all very different, and pretty amazing.

I put together a quick vid of some tunnels, hairpins and tight squeezes we found early on in the trip:

You can also find yourself sharing the road with, shall we say, more free-thinking vehicles, some of which might even decide to eat your tailbag if you aren’t paying attention…

Riding the Alps – Our trip begins

After landing in Milan, we stopped in to Rent a Dream (http://www.rentadream.it) where we picked up 2 f650GS’. BTW, I highly recommend them – it’s a FANTASTIC shop with very well-cared-for bikes and a true “rider” at the helm who really seems to love what he does.

We were pretty tired after the overnight flight, and decided our first day would be a quick hop up to Lake Como to do a little siteseeing and zombie walking around the lake.

Translated: We hopped on a siteseeing boat and proceeded to fall asleep for most of the ride :)

Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como, Italy

I will say this – few things are as sweet as a nighttime walk with your sweetheart along the lake sharing a gelato. Oh, and a McD’s cheeseburger because we didn’t decide to eat until most places were closing up. What can I say, I’m a big spender.

A nighttime view from the Hotel Metropole Swisse

A nighttime view from the Hotel Metropole Swisse

The next morning, we headed up to Bellagio to grab the ferry to Verrena – and then to Bormio to meet up with Pimmie who was coming down from Holland.

A calm lake helped make the ferry ride spectacular, and gave us a nice view of the ghetto by the lakeside :)

Lake side, Bellagio

Lake side, Bellagio

Bellagio, Italy

Bellagio, Italy

Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como, Italy

We crossed over Livigno and got our first taste of what Alpine Passes were like

Livigno Pass

Livigno Pass

Livigno Pass

Livigno Pass

We made our way to Bormio, found our hotel and dined on home-made sandwiches under beautiful afternoon sun while we waited for Pimmie to arrive

Albergo San Lorzeno, Bormio , Italy

Albergo San Lorzeno, Bormio , Italy

Flowers in Bormio

Flowers in Bormio

Running the passes of the Alps

We took a trip recently to Milan to rent some BMW f650′s and ride the alps in Italy, Switzerland and Austria. I’ll be posting up photos from various points along the way – but to start, here are a few from the Splugen Pass…

Towards the tunnels on Splugen Pass

Towards the tunnels on Splugen Pass

Switchbacks in the Splugen Pass tunnels

Switchbacks in the Splugen Pass tunnels

Overlooking Splugen Pass

Overlooking Splugen Pass

Pimmie and I on Spulgen Pass

Pimmie and I on Spulgen Pass