Under the Tuscan Sun

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Historically speaking Tuscany is considered a birthplace of Reinessanse; its traditions, history, and art had enormous influence on high culture. Florence, Pisa, Siena are just few cities with endless ancient monuments, that can take you back in time. Fast forward 500 years and Tuscany was once again a place of origin for something called EWS.  It hosted first ever Enduro World Series race, which was held in Punta Ala.

I made a decision to go with Outdoor Station in Punta Ala a long time ago. It was my second time with the team and it felt very homey. We all met at Agriturismo Punta Ala, a nice apartment complex build near family home of signore Stefano, not too far from the shore.

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Agriturismo Punta Ala

Trail system in Punta Ala is well marked, but you’d be better off with a guide. There are few riding areas that can be reached by pedaling or by shuttle. Trails near the coastline were primarily used for transportation, when farmers ran donkeys through thick maquis shrubland to markets. After conflicts, every farmer soon made his own path and this is why we have so many trails nowadays.

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My morning view

For winter time the trails were maintained properly, here and there few loose rocks and broken branches, but nothing unreadable. Trail teams in the area are doing extraordinary job building and taking care of the trails.

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Carbonai is one of the most flowy and fun trails out there

To ride the trails that have seen the first battles of Enduro World Series racers was phenomenal. Rock-Oh, Sentinel, Carbonai, The Guardian, La Torretta are only few of the historical trails that were used in the early days of enduro boom. Although being old they are still proper tracks that can challenge every rider; by lenght, technical sections, uphills etc. In one week I didn’t pull a single whole run down any of them.

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Ascents are often nice and mellow

Rock-Oh is considered a cornerstone of trails in the area. It is 3,5 km long and it took racers under 7 minutes to get down. Rock gully at times and singletrack at others it includes a sprint from the start on and a rock slab at the end with base constantly changing. It’s probably the most diverse trail I have ever ridden.

Massa Maritima is a trail area a few kilometers inland. Trails here are more artificial with objects like berms, jumps and drops. We had a blast riding Scorpine trail, Rock’n’roll Queen and Cicalino Freeride. Thnx Janez Grašič.

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Sea to sky

The year was coming to an end but we had few days still ahead. All eager to ride some more it was nice to spend New Year’s eve on the beach just chilling. I have never done that so I guess I ticked another box on the list. 1st of January was just another riding day, so we didn’t stay up late. After some wet riding in 2018 it was time to go home.

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Spending New Year’s eve on the beach is something special

But not just yet …

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Florence: the cradle of art

History of the trail area is nothing compared to cultural and artistic history of Tuscany and I’m fascinated by ancient architecture. Florence lies right on our way home and I was excited all week to lay eyes on the city of art. Riding through tight streets and vast markets with the bike was fun. We could cover more ground in short amount of time and we saw all the important structures and art pieces in the city. I’ll be back to take a walk through galleries one day.

May it be the cultural richness or historic venues I felt like I was a part of history. I was right there and then, I was in the middle of it. History is not finished, it lives on through us, with our presence. It is still shaping, with every rock I move on the trail, with every step I take on the streets, it is constantly changing. 

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When art and sport meet

Words: Matej
Photos: Matej, Martin Železnik

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