Length: 1.800 m
Altitude metres: 180 altitude metres
Ascent: Lift, Forest road
Recommended bike: Trailbike, all mountain
Biking technique: ●○○○○
Biking fun: ●●●●○
Best time for travel: May - October
Across the Brenner and ... Dolce Vita! Why do Innsbruck locals cross the Brenner so frequently? The answer is rather easy, especially for me as a real Tyrolean. Because the Italian coffee surpasses the Austrian by miles even on the motorway, and because the Italians are very biker-friendly people. Although, not every South Tyrolean would call themselves an Italian, but they share the same honest enthusiasm when it comes to mountain biking: people move out of the way with a smile, they greet friendly and you are even cheered on (”coraggio!“)! The usually uneasy atmosphere between bikers and hikers seems to have miraculously disappeared somewhere at the Brenner. Now, you could try to analyse the how and why of these phenomena or you just get the Brenner annual toll ticket and get frequently charmed by the mentioned Dolce Vita.
No sooner said than done! This weekend we are off to Gardena. Having left rainy Innsbruck behind, we reach Wolkenstein covered in wafts of mist after around two hours (including obligatory cappuccino stop at Autogrill). A quick visit to the local food store and our rucksacks are full of Ladin treats (pane scosso - crispy rye flatbread, bacon and South Tyrolean apple crisps). From here, we go deeper into the heart of the Dolomites and take many bends uphill to the Gardena Pass. The fog has not cleared yet - making the chiselled peaks of the Dolomites around our starting point at the pass even more mystical and spectacular. Autumn has already left visible signs: The yellow larch trees offer an interesting contrast to the grey rock formations. Pure drama!
The flow has arrived at the Sella Ronda
The Cir chairlift was unfortunately just undergoing an overhaul at the time of our excursion, but te around 300 altitude metres looked manageable. When you can inspect the trail on your uphill journey already, then getting motivated is especially easy. We reach the Dantercepies upper terminus and the start of the Cir Line in no time. The motto from now on: Brakes open and getting ready for tunnel vision, here is plenty of flow for everyone! Immaculately shaped banked curves, waves, small fun jumps and lots of speed bring the trail smile to our faces. The only disadvantage: It’s over too fast! Thus, we go uphill again, but this time we take the Flow Line in direction intermediate terminus of the Dantercepies lift. Our brakes also enjoy very gentle but immensely playful trail fun here: rhythmic curves, bumps and North Shore elements. If the lifts were in operation, we could take of course countless runs here. But as the saying goes: “Life punishes those who come too late”. We are a bit late in the year; it is October and snow is already falling here and there at the northern side of the Alps. In Gardena, at the southern side, we do not have any lifts but dry and snow-free trails and temperatures of almost 20 degrees.
Thus, we pedal again uphill to the upper terminus and tackle the other line of the Cir Trail, which runs parallel to the first line (and is just as flowy) and meanders to the Gardena Pass. Then it’s time to enjoy a fine minestrone at Rifugio Frara. Having topped up our energy levels, the question is: Uphill again? Of course!