I’m on my way back to Armenia, but not in too much of a rush. This morning I woke up, had breakfast and headed out with nothing less than an epic mountain-bike ride in mind.
I climbed quiet, steep mountain roads through cool and fragrant pine forests to the upper slopes of the Austrian Alps, near the Italian border, and decided to go for an extended loop of the valley. I rode rocky, rooty single-track trails past high alpine meadows of brown and white cattle, scorched down the mountainsides on dirt tracks through shady woods, stopping only to water the occasional tree, and eventually ending up back at the village, five hours after I’d left, feeling utterly invigorated.
Mountain-biking is my ideal pastime, really. It’s got a little bit of everything I want from a sport. Today I climbed a thousand vertical metres along around 40km of off-road trails. It was fantastic and made lunch taste a hundred times better than normal. It also helped me come to an agreement with my body about my current level of fitness, which I’ve been struggling with since I stopped dragging 50kg of bike and luggage around deserts for months on end, and it re-ignited my appreciation for off-road mountain-biking; arguably the one thing that got me through university and out the other side with a decent degree!