The Rough Riderz club were lucky enough to be invited to attend the 24hr de Finale racing event in Northern Italy at the start of the summer, kindly arranged by Enza Marino, Riccardo Negro and The Ultimate Bikeshop. After an epic drive of nearly 1100 miles, across England, France and Italy, we reached Finale about 20 hours later! We met up with Riky and Enza that evening, to discuss the MTB event and the best trails to ride on four wheels.
The race event is held about 8km from the city, in the mountains above the coast. It is a non-stop 24 hour race on 11 kilometres of trails, in two separate categories: a solo race, and a team event. We attended both days of racing and created a real buzz with our gravity bikes, even though most people were watching and/or competing in the events too.
Alongside the event, we also got the opportunity to try the trails that had been recommended to us. We drove up into the hills, to a heli-pad next to an old Nato Base, in an area called Calice Ligure. This was our start point for the most suitable downhill trails, with the two trail named after the two main features in this location. We rode both trails as many times as possible during our stay, to familiarise ourselves with the route and the varied terrain.
After a 20 minute drive up into the mountains overlooking Finale, you reach the end of the road, at an old helicopter landing pad near three wind turbines. The entrance to trail is at the top of the woods, and drops quickly into thick vegetation, snaking around the hillside on a rock and dirt surface. The trail width is narrow, with lots of twists and turns to avoid the trees and gullies. This natural route has many features including rock drops offs, off-camber corners and deep berms. It winds it way through the dense woodland, with a steep section of chicanes, before crossing the road and straight back into more thick forest.
The second section is full of similar features, with some very rough, rocky sections to manoeuvre across and tighter turns and berms. It also has a steep drop off into a bomb hole followed by another short, steep chicane section which drops out onto the road once again. Across the tarmac and back into the trees the final descent starts with a series of fast turns, then opens out into a wider, faster rock garden section. After more drop offs and tight bends through the forest the surface turns to rough bedrock, funnelling riders through a steep sided gully. This channel takes you to the end of the trail, exiting on a wide bend further down the main road, in a convenient spot for the uplift vehicles to park and collect riders.
The second trail is slightly longer and more technical, starting just above the heli-pad, behind the decaying buildings of an abandoned military base. Entering the thick woodland again, this trail has a rougher surface, with lots of loose rocks and boulders strewn across it. It twists around the tree line too, with many more rock slabs and drop offs to negotiate along it’s route. The trail is also fairly fast, adding to the adrenaline, as you concentrate to swerve some of the larger obstacles in your path. It also features some very steep, rutted sections, where commitment is essential to avoid crashing on the rough terrain. It winds it’s way down the hillside, permanently covered by thick vegetation and a canopy of trees until you exit onto to road. The final section then links up in the same place as the last part of other trail, dropping back into the trees and exiting from the narrow, rocky gully to the same pick up point.