Emily Horridge here. I’m a UK elite downhill racer and also a student which means that from the end of May until the start of October I don’t really have much to do but ride bikes. I’m already set for that, gonna be working for Trail Addiction during August, but after some friends of mine did a big euro trip last year, I was keen to follow in their footsteps. Mid June I got a text from my friend Andy saying he needed trip compadres in July. My old uni mate Adam was gonna be over visiting the UK form Malaysia at the same time and I was pretty sure he’d be keen for a trip, so I got on the case, and here we are in Verbier on day 6 of our trip.
So far we’ve been to Bad Wildbad, Todtnau, Crans-Montana and now Verbier. Tomorrow we’re going to Pila and then a few more swiss places after that which are all a bit below radar and for which you need a map, a good sense of direction and a bit of local knowledge. Rochers de Naye is going to be amazing. I rode there a few years ago with Guy and Sara from Flowmtb and have been itching to get back ever since. Amazing natural trails, they’re walker’s tracks in reality, but so much fun to ride. We’ll hit up Morgins too and probably spend a couple of days in Morzine.
Bad Wildbad is well rocky. It was quite a track to start our trip on, nothing like throwing yourself in at the deep end, but it was geographically the first one we’d get to. It was good, the IXS cup track was the one to do, nice and flowy and loads and loads of lines to pick. Worth stopping to check which ones are the best. Todtnau was less rocky, but quite rough, rooty and technical. I really enjoyed it but it was hard to get a full run in on it. There was another track there which was just some berms and some jumps, good for a couple of goes, but the IXS track was again the main attraction. Todtnau is expensive at €34/day, but the liftee said we could share a pass, so we bought a 20-goes pass and shared it – 22 euros each between the three of us, bargain. I was happy with 6 runs and the guys took 7.
Crans-Montana is amazing. If you’re considering a roadtrip, then make sure you put it on your list. Up the Simplon valley high above Sierre in Switzerland, it is mint. You can smash full runs without stopping, and there are two worthwhile tracks there – red bermy jumpy fun track which the guys sessioned all day, or my personal favourite of the trip so far, the black. A little more gradient and variety, lots of stuff to keep you on your toes, and around about a 5 minute run time. It’s a lot less physical that Todtnau or Bad Wildbad, and much higher speed. I love it.
Yesterday we got a mini-tour round some of the lesser known stuff in Verbier thanks to my friend Jess who is working here this summer. 20-25min singletrack descents anyone? You’ll definitely need a guide for them though! We also went up to La Tzoumaz which I think is supposed to be a bike park but it doesn’t have any signs. We got lucky and found a minto loamy fresh track just by chance, and its been carefully dedicated to the memory bank ready for a revisit later in the summer. There’s a bike park here which is pretty rad, though its all pretty steep and there’s some big jumps which the guys are loving. I’m having a day off because I want to smash the hell out of Pila tomorrow. It’s only been three years that I’ve been meaning to go so wanna be super fresh and ready.
We’ve done super well with our camping spots so far. For resorts which are based in a valley, head for the tennis courts or swimming pool. It seems always to be good flat ground, quiet and both of ours have had rivers by them too, perfect for a quick morning dip every day. Verbier we found a brilliant place high up above the town with a stream and amazing view. Crans was the “worst” camping spot, and it wasn’t even that bad, it just didn’t have a river! We’ve had some awesome fires thanks to Adam’s superb fire skills. So far nothing ridiculously crazy has occurred, only one massive crash on my part and that’s it. I can confirm that Leatts are really good though. I would definitely have had a much sorer neck without it. Got some good foliage going in my helmet as well, turns out they’re quite good for plant collection when you plow your head into the ground!
If I can rinse some more free interband again, there may well be a further update same time next week…
Emily rides for Transition UK, Dakine, Biketart, Maxxis