On the recommendation of the "greatest" bike guides of South Tyrol (who knows who we are talking about) in mid-November we sallied forth on the Schartlkamm Tour. There we were on board Heiko’s shuttle: Tom, Alex, Werner, Oschi, Martin, Kurt, Ines, Michi and of course, Martin.
Heiko took us and our bikes up above the Gasthof Premstl in Val Martello, where we were soon turning into a fairly steep forest trail. The ascent is arduous and despite the advanced season really warm. In summer this route is blisteringly hot. After about one hour we reached an avalanche protection barrier. From here it was a question of shouldering our bikes and carrying them for an hour towards Göflaner Scharte and then sharp right onto the Schartlkamm.
A lot to carry in exposed terrain. You have to be sure-footed and not subject to dizziness!
With every metre in height the view becomes more beautiful. Below you the Val Venosta Valley and above you the glacier in the remotest Val Martello. When we finally reached the highest point, we took a break in the wind shadow of the rock faces and enjoyed the autumn sunshine, the cakes and tea we had brought with us and the hammer panorama, but we did not want to spend too much time there.
The descent from 1,800 metres in altitude was still before us and the autumn days are notoriously short. The first metre runs above the timber line through dry Alpine meadows. It is very difficult to make out the trail. Free choice of racing line was announced before the trail became obvious again. Scarcely have you arrived in the forest, when the trail becomes even more technical. It is lined with rocks and roots, so you have to choose your route carefully to avoid lifting your foot from the pedal. This is not always possible and there are a few blocked sections to overcome. Then it becomes really undulating. We really flew over the needle-covered forest floor.
At this point concentration and clever choice of racing line is absolutely essential!
Once we reached the Kreuzjöchl we had a choice: either straight on and then right to Holy Hanson or sharp left into the Val Martello. We chose the second option, because the sun was shining and we were already familiar with Holy Hanson. The first option is the correct one in summer because of the shade.
Then, once we had turned left, we met a trail with hairpin bends just out of this world. To start with, it is flat, then it becomes increasingly steeper and negotiating the hairpin bends is just fantastic, there is no need to put in any effort. The ground is a good 5 cm deep in needles and this makes the going really slippery.
Perfect hair-pin bends!
Thirty exciting hair-pin bends farther on, we turned into the Steinwandthof and rewarded ourselves with Kaiserschmarrn pancakes and omelettes. We tucked in with a will, for there was still a great deal of the tour to cover!
Having fun with friends!
The tour goes on and after a short interval of pedalling in a flat section of forest, becomes a superb undulating trail. Brakes off and off we go! But take care, two stretches are not without risk. Several of us learned this the hard way. We sped downstream along the Martello River, where short descents let us recover our breath. The farther we went into Val Venosta, the more undulating became the trail, which spat us out on the access to the Latscher Trailzauber and brought us to the ice stadium.
A superb tour with all the ingredients for lasting memories: pleasant people, super guiding, good food and top-class trails.
Would you like to take the tour too and discover the delights of the Val Venosta trail?
Then book your next biking holiday at a Bike Hotel Val Venosta
. Your hosts will take you to the finest trails in a biking El Dorado!