Trail days – Possibly the best festival ever!

Trail days – Possibly the best festival ever!

Specialized Germany puts on an event each year called Trail Days, consisting of 4 days of riding, music and GOOOOOD times on bikes. This Year Trail Day’s was held at Kranjska Gora in Slovenia. We heard about the festival through our friends in Innsbruck and were lucky enough to get tickets on the last release, 10 days before the festival. The festival is completely free. Specialized provide a camping ground for motorhomes and tents, toilet and shower facilities, a chairlift accessing the local bike park, music each night, directions for a range of single tracks in the surrounding area, a full demo fleet of their latest bikes and a mechanic service to fix any minor damage on your own bike. It’s pretty unbelievable that such an amazing event is entirely free. Our minds are still trying to get around how epic it was! It was also possible to get shuttles to the top of a number of the single tracks near Kranjska Gora at a cost of €10 per trip.

Specialized nominated the charity, “World Bicycle Relief” for the festival. There was a tent set up to take donations and promote the work that they are doing to assist people in rural regions of developing countries. The aim of World Bicycle Relief is to improve the lives of people in rural, poverty stricken areas where walking is the only mode of transport, by providing Buffalo Bicycles. A Buffalo Bicycle offers the real and immediate benefit of reliable access to essential goods and services. For example the attendance rate of students increases 28% when provided with a bicyle as the energy and time required to get to school is dramatically reduced. Their website can be found here – https://worldbicyclerelief.org/en/. Specialized incentivized donations to the charity by offering free mechanic work on bikes in exchange for a donation to the charity as well as enforcing a mandatory €50 donation if you failed to return a demo bike with in the 4 hour time limit. It was great to see a big company like Specialized giving back so much to the bike community.

The festival hub, set up with food, coffee, trail guides & music.
—Photo, thanks to the trail days website—

  

@honest_tucker getting artistic with a group of us riding together

The single tracks surrounding Kranjska Gora are pretty good with a solid mix of flow, rooty tech and plenty of phenominal scenery. The details of the tracks are available to download in gpx format or to follow on www.trailguide.net. Our favourite trails at the festival were The Tromeja Italian Track, The flow Track and the Vrsic Pass trail.

Tromeja Italian Track:

This track was our favourite track in the area. The track is accessed from Kranjska Gora by riding westward along the highway to the town of Ratece and taking the sealed / shingle road to the summit of  Monte Forno. The summit of Monte Forno is actually the intersection of Italy, Austria and Slovenia so while you catch your breath from the grind up you can look over three countries (a rather unique experience of a couple of antipodeans). The trail down starts off steep and technical with a few rooty sections before opening up on a fast wide trail where you can really let it have it. In the middle section there is a short up-hill ride for 10min before a long fast flowey section, which flows onto a meadow where you take a 4wd track back to the road into Ratece. If its your last run of the day make sure to stop at one of the resturants in Ratece serving delicous, icy cold beers.

Sharing some skids with Matt Hunter down the Tromeja track!
 —Photo, thanks to the trail days website—

Vrsic pass trail:

The view from the top, after the climb up!

The Vrsipass trail is accessed by riding up the road or getting a shuttle to Vrsi Pass (Slovenia’s Highest Pass) from Kranjska Gora. The scenery at the pass is phenominal, with vertical rock faces in every direction. With a climb of  approx 900m to around 1700m at the trail head a much deserved cold drink can be purchased from a small shack at the pass to allow the view to be taken in. The trail decends from close to the peak of Mount Vrsic down to the Pisnica River. The trail is generally pretty easy, allowing for maximum pace, following a 4wd track for the top section before entering a meadow and then goinging into a hiking track near the bottom. There are a couple of steep rooty sections on the hiking track to give some nice variation. The trial then links up with the Jasna trail at the bottom to follow the Pisnica River back to Kranjska Gora.

Riding along the Pisnica River

Before you get back to Kranjska Gora you pass by the town of Jasna which has a beautiful clear man made lake next to the river. This is a perfect place for a swim, Beer and Ice Cream!

The view from Jasna Lake

Jasna Lake

Kranjska Gora Bike Park:

The bike park at Kranjska Gora is definitely worth a visit for a day. There is a good mix of “Park Rat” tracks (jumps and berms), and more technical Rooty / Flowy trails in the trees. As the chairlift was free during Trail Days the park was reasonably packed so we spent most of our time riding the single track that you had to peddle to get.

Music, Coffee and Food:

 —Photo, thanks to the trail days website—

The notable artists performing at Trail days included DJ Masstricks, Phil da Funk, Sweet Life Society, Davidecks & Drums and Dero & Klumzy Soundsystem. For a Free festival the line up was really impressive and certainly provided all the entertainment you could handle after a long day of slogging around on your bike in the heat.

 —Photo, thanks to the trail days website—

Merchant and Friends provided delicous coffee for the event at the bargain price (certainly in comparison to London) of €2.00 for a cappuccino. You could also go in the draw to win a fancy pants coffee machine ‘the rocket’ if you brought a kilo of their organic mixed origin beans.

That’s a lot of meat!

Specialized provided free samples of fruit and nut (‘scrogin’) mixes and energy bars, there was also a range of local foods available in the base area show casing some of the tastiest traditional sausages of Slovenia. We had dinner at one of the restaurants near the end of the Italian track on the Friday night. Our tip for the food – don’t get a starter as well as a main. Portion sizes are VERY large.

All in all Trail days was one of the best festivals we have been to. If your anywhere near Slovenia / Austria at the end of May next year then Trail days should definitely be on your itinerary. Don’t miss out! Thanks Specialized!

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