Alpine mtb in Ticino

Just as we thought summer had arrived the weather made a dramatic return to snowy winter timed perfectly with Easter weekend. The solution? head south and chase the sun! Fellow Irish exile Fiola Foley and I had a road trip to Ticino for some big-mountain biking. When you pass through the Gothard tunnel everything breathes a sigh of relief and relaxes, the buildings are colourful and disordered, the weather sunny and snow-free, the language and food Italian – only the Swiss francs and the incessant ringing of church bells confirm that you’re still in Switzerland.

Day 1 didn’t quite follow the weather forecast and was a bit of an adventure with a monster steep long climb up to 1400m, river crossings, hike-a-bike, riding in the clouds, mud and rain, a fast fun descent, soaking wet kit, an enforced coffee and lunch stop due to gigantic thunder and lightening storms, a more sheltered xc ride, more rain, hail stones, more wet kit and finally a well deserved Italian pizza.

river crossing


the top

big climbs

looks like Italy!

The next day the sun came out and another long, steep and extremely windy 1500m climb took us up to Refugio San Lucio on top of a ridge surrounded by spectacular mountain views. After welcome stop for hot coffee and a chat with some super friendly Germans in the hut we hit a singletrack climb along the ridge dodging the occasional snow drift before starting an awesome long decent. Unfortunately just as it was getting good, Fiola snapped her mech hangar and had to take the fireroad down whilst I hit some rocky, rooty, fast, flowing, switchbacking singletrack down to the bottom. Lugging the ‘Green Monster’ (Ragely mmm bop) all the way up the mountain was suddenly worthwhile!

Refugio San Lucio

Singletrack climbing

1000m decent!

Excitingly this all took place only 2.5 hours drive from where I live! bring on the summer…

more photos here.

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