From Kozakov we had a new travel mate; Swedish pretty boy Rasmus Klintrot would join us to Peyragudes. Together we drove to Graz in Austria to crash at a house, housed by some skaters we knew, one of them being Georg Mekisch.
After chilling here for a day we were taken into the mountains for some open road riding. Unfortunately this pleasure was not long enjoyed since the cops came right after the start of the second run. Luckily we got away with a warning so we moved on to the next spot, or at least tried.
Our van had a ‘slight’ problem, the gearbox didn’t work anymore. After trying to pull the van up with another car (and fail) we called in the big gun, a local farmer who pulled us uphill with his tractor.
From the top it was only a small way down to the spot we had planned to visit; a small tiny road where the people living next to it, supported the locals riding it, as long as it gets closed of so they won’t be startled when there’s someone hurdling down the mountain. We did several nice runs on road as well as off road, getting speeds up to about 80 km/h.
After these runs we were taken to a big-ass house in the mountains by Hias & Dana, with an outdoor pool and a nice terrace. It was the weekend residence of Dana’s parents and they were on holiday. There were plenty of beds, a fridge an power to recharge cameras or phones and beer was brought in by wheel barrow.
We already came with a crew of 10 people, then during the night more people dropped by; Jürgen Gritzner, James Kelly, Tyler Howell and Anna, a girl who switched cars from our crew. Then the next day the RAD crew also dropped by with Jimmy Riha, Max Ballesteros, Jackson Shapiera and Tony Graves, so it was a house filled with about 18 people, having fun, chilling and awaiting a new day to skate some awesome roads.
Big compliments to our cook: Georg Mekisch who made the nicest vegan dishes.
The drum set, guitar and didgeridoo in the living room were soon put to use by Jackson (drums), Georg (guitar) and James, who used the didgeridoo as a microphone which gave us our own private concert, while Jürgen tried to play some songs on a half-ass synth.
Unfortunately there was only one real window to skate but at that moment, everybody was chilling, drinking beer, playing stupid games and having lots of fun basically (with most of them still wasted from the night before). On the day we had planned to leave to Italy a small sunny period of time announced itself and we immediately jumped in several cars to do some more runs in the area.
After that it was time to leave and with 2 cars we drove of to the Italian Dolomites. We arrived around midnight in the dead of night, not being able to find the RAD crew which was also on the mountain somewhere. When we woke up around they just passed us going downhill hard.
We got ready to join them when they would come down again, which was a bit faster than expected so no go there and this was lucky because they were pulled over by cops to receive a ticket, except for Jimmy Riha who was quick enough to dive into the woods and was able to avoid a ticket. Although the height of the fine was laughable, 17 euros per person.
The cops ordered us to leave this road so we scored some Italian pizzas and espressos and were on our way to the next track but unfortunately our car isn’t that fast, so we decided to leave the crew and head straight for the Tour de France road Col d’Izoard, about 600 km West, driving through beautiful sceneries.
We stopped for the night, close to Lake Garda before we drove the last bit, arriving at the top at 2360 m. around 7 at night, with a completely empty road. Needless to say we did a few runs; 3 short ones and 1 long run down to La Haus, about 10 km down.
We drove back up to go to the restaurant close to the top to charge all our stuff and decided to spend the night here, me in a room, Rasmus in his tent next to the road and Nadine in her van. The history of the building (built in 1858) told me this was one of 6 retreats, owned by Napoleon Bonaparte. Kind of a cool thought, sleeping in a house where Napoleon once chilled… Oh and they served the nicest home made pies.
When the owner saw our videos, she remembered seeing some other skaters as well, which were Elena Corrigall, Dillon Stephens, Alex Dehmel, who we missed by a few days.
The next morning started at 6:00 to ride a completely empty road until about 9 when more traffic came up the hill. We did a few runs and chilled in the sun before leaving to our last ‘open road’; Mont Ventoux. The road I couldn’t ride last year due to rain, but now all weather reports seemed perfect, so we we’re looking forward to it.
There’s always so much wind on this mountain nothing grows on the top side, so you have a long winding open road on which you can see far ahead. When we arrived we had time for one run, half way down, because it was just almost too dark to see.
We got up again at 6:00 and bombed the upper part until about 8 in the morning before ‘discovering’ the bottom part was even nicer and faster but with more traffic coming up the hill, we could only do 2 complete runs.
In my last scheduled run, one of brake soles flew of while overtaking 4 cyclists, so while finishing the track with one brake sole was hard and not long after the 2nd flew of as well, so that was it. Exit Mont Ventoux :)
From Mt. Ventoux we drove to the beach of the Mediterranean to get a quick break in the sun before we continued to Peyragudes Never Dies in the French Pyrenees for the last race of the Euro tour.