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Stories from the mountain summer

Mountain biking

The electric world of e-biking

Anyone looking to explore Zillertal on an e-mountain bike is fully on trend! Fun and action are what it’s all about in the Zillertal Arena in the Zell-Gerlos holiday region. Former professional cyclist Andi Wittmann and local Roman Rohrmoser offer plenty of tips and tricks to their e-bike camp students.

Lean the mountain bike into the bend and push your hip out”, Roman shouts to his group. He sits on the bank at the edge of the trail, filming his students on his mobile as they hit their first bends. The e-bike newbies are certainly working up a sweat. There are lots of things to think about: extend your outside leg, lean the bike inwards, stick your hip out and don’t stretch your arms out too much. It’s certainly confusing in the early days. But his colleague Andi offers some reassurance: “The cornering basics will become second nature to you before you know it,
then everything else will just fall into place.” Until then, it’s simply a case of practice makes perfect – especially for the complete beginners in the wide mix of participants.

A wealth of knowledge to pass on

Even Andi Wittmann started from scratch when switching to an e-mountain bike after a serious injury ended his days as a professional mountain biker. Now, he happily shares the expertise that he has gained with others – as at today’s e-mountain bike camp in the Zillertal Arena. His partner in crime is Zillertal local Roman Rohrmoser, who knows the region’s alpine terrain like the back of his hand: in winter, you’ll find him out and about on his freeride skis taking photos and making films, while in summer, the trails on his doorstep are his favourite place to be. He can be hired as a guide, specialises in trails and happily passes on his many years of experience in the form of tips and tricks. Basic knowledge such as the correct riding position is a must. Roman gathers the group around and explains: “Put your feet at a slight angle and your pelvis over
the saddle!” Only in the perfect riding position can you be well-balanced and truly steady on a bike.

Once the cornering basics
have become second
nature to you, everything else
will just fall into place!”

Andi Wittmann,
former professional mountain biker

E-biking with a view

The sun is gradually approaching the horizon. The two experts have been out and about with their students since the early morning. The two-day camp teaches their protégés all the key things about riding an e-mountain bike while also showing them the beauty of the Zillertal Alps. After an introductory briefing in the car park by the cable cars in Zell am Ziller, the group heads straight to the heart of the Zillertal Arena, where the two guides have their pick of a huge range of routes, from easy forest tracks to technical trails. The setting naturally also offers breathtaking
mountain scenery, with the Zillertal Alps’ countless three-thousand-metre peaks.

The ascent by cable car not only saves time and energy, but above all the bikes’ batteries. “We always like to use the cable cars as they take us up into the mountains quickly and comfortably, ready for an action-packed descent”, Roman explains. The group quickly finds itself at the start of the trail and set off one after the other down the mountain towards Gerlos. The trails are so perfectly designed that after just a short while training with the pros, the participants all get the hang of the banked turns and can push their e-bikes to the limit. “Don’t forget... hip out, bike in ...” Andi frequently shouts over his shoulder as a reminder, just in case. After one or two runs, the bikers all have a good feel for the trail and drift easily round the bends.

All good things must come to an end
Just as the participants are really starting to enjoy themselves, the first day of the camp is drawing to an end. “Let’s get back to Zell”, Roman shouts to the group. And so they head back along perfect, well-marked bike trails. The batteries are slowly losing power. “Want to have a go at one last trail?”, the pair ask. The answer is clear: yes! The group tops off the day by heading along the Wiesenalm trail with Andi and Roman setting the pace. Every bend is taken at full speed – and lo and behold, everyone’s hips are out. Quicker than expected, the group reaches the valley station of the Rosenalmbahn cable car. What a unique day! All that’s left is to clean the e-bikes, then it’s time for bed. After all, the fun starts again tomorrow.

Photo & text: Heiko Mandl
Zillertal magazine summer 2020

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