Following an impulse purchase a week before our holiday, it was now Monday the 20th of February and my new YT Capra had just arrived, weighing around 14kg and delivered at 9.23 am I was totally in love. Following a quick build up, sag set, and roll around the car park it was time to dismantle it, pack it into the box on the back of the van and bid farewell to Dorset as we headed for Finale.
Having only made the jump from my trusty On One hardtail to a full suspension Lush in October I spent the 800 or so mile trip, ferry crossing and a day in the half of driving in the van feeling nervous and excited but mostly nervous about riding a new bike, in a new place and all whilst trying to keep up with my husband and our trail dog and travel companion George, the crazy Labradoodle.
We had decided to stay on a campsite for this trip, as our usual free camping approach is much more suited for our surf holidays then building up bikes and getting hot and sweaty negotiating mountain trails. The campsite was situated right near the start of some of the 24 hour Finale trails and some All Mountain, Enduro and Downhill routes (plus fresh cakes, bread and pizza were available everyday on site, sweet!)
We took it in turns to build up our bikes and went out for a couple of hours ride before sun set to see what we had let ourselves in for!
On day two we checked out some of the trails from the evening before, these were all part of the 24 hour finale xc route. The loose rocks made for an interesting start, I lowered my tyre pressure but suffered a puncture on the second trail, although the wheels are tubeless ready there hadn’t been time to sort this, so I changed my tube with a view overlooking the sea, if your going to get a puncture then a nice view takes the sting out of the snake bite!
The ups are as challenging as the downs in Finale, and I was finding them a real struggle. Watching my husband shoot on up them made me more determined and I set a goal in my mind to try as much on the downs as on the ups! We took a trail called ‘Manie’ into Noli for lunch, it started well for me with little drops, big rocks and flowing as it headed into the trees. Half way down I was faced with a massive drop, I had to negotiate my bike down it, and hop back on to finish the trail. It got more technical the lower we got, but the Capra seemed to have inspired some confidence and I made my way over some tricky sections with a new found ease, that was until I hit a post with my bars, wide bars are new to me, luckily bramble bushes broke my fall off to the side of the mountain and after a few giggles we carried on into town.
After a huge bowl of pasta we made our way through town to find the up route, after looking lost for some time, a local stopped and got out their car to show us the way. As we started to climb we thought perhaps the guy was having a laugh but sure enough it was the way up! Fuelled on pasta we cycled, pushed, cycled some more and then popped out back near the campsite. We then decided to take an Enduro route back down the other side on the mountain, ‘Dh Donne’ this was the most challenging route I had ever done, it was fast, huge ruts, loose, edged along the mountain and featured some large drops. I was disappointed in how I was handling the trail but my husband was grinning from ear to ear. As I looked out over the mountain to the sea below, I thought this is epic! The fact I could only ride half of it didn’t matter!
Day 3 we warmed up on some of the 24 Finale trails as you can make them into a nice loop and then decided to take another Enduro route down the mountain. Dh Donne alternative starts the same as Dh Donne but then splits off to the right to a much narrower trail, again edged along the mountainside and in places only just wide enough for the bike. It is less rocky then Dh Donne but still as challenging. The afternoon we decided to explore an Enduro trail over the road from the campsite. It was fantastic with a flowy start and straight into the woods. It had some rock garden sections, tight corners, steep sections and two big drops. I managed to ride almost half of the trickier features of the trail and was determined to tackle more of it next time! The climb back up was steep, but this was day 3 and time to push myself, overtaking the husband was a bonus 🙂
On days 4, 5 and 6 we decided to tackle some of the same trails we had done on the days before and with each attempt I got better along with increased confidence. We found some more 24 Finale trails that looped back on themselves and a great fast bermy trail that lead us right back to the campsite. We did a few more runs into town for lunch and the technical climbs got easier the more I did. Apart from day 6 when my legs were tired and needed a rest, and a beer!
Whilst we were in Finale, my friend text to ask how I was getting on, I said ‘had a great morning challenging myself but wimped out on a lot of stuff in the afternoon’ she replied ‘it’s not called wimping out, it’s called saving that challenge for later’ (cheers Jess) she’s totally right. You don’t have to be the quickest rider, the one doing the biggest drops or getting air on jumps, you just need to challenge yourself, push yourself when you can, push your bike if you have to (and push I did on some of the crazy stuff my husband was flying over) but you do have to remember to enjoy the ride. Finale reminded me of this, all with epic trails, challenges, views and great food as a bonus!
We didn’t opt for any uplifts whilst we were there as we like to involve our doggy as much as we can, but the €5 trail map gives you a great idea of what’s available and how everything links in.
So why Finale and why the new YT Capra? Well back in January I brought a ticket to a crazy downhill race, so I’ve got 4 months to go from Megaaverage to Megaavalanche , wish me luck!
Thanks to Carly for sharing her trip to Finale Ligure and good luck with the Megaavalanche, we’re sure you’ll be Megaamazing and we can’t wait to read all about it.
Follow Carly on Instagram @carlsie1
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