‘THE UNKNOWN ENDURO PARADISE’
If you ever find yourself thinking about which destination you would like to visit whenever the leaves turn brown and the days get colder and shorter, it’s usually Italy, Spain, Portugal or New Zealand. Those countries always come to mind in the first place, maybe because they are well known for mountain biking or maybe because you’ve already visited them two, three or ten times. You might even find yourself booking the same hotel, eating the same food, seeing the same views, and riding the same trails you’ve already ridden for years in a row. But why wouldn’t you once in a while step out of your comfort zone and take a risk, travel to a country that has never been explored with bikes before. Wouldn’t you enjoy traveling to a destination where the trails aren’t crowded, neither shaped nor you can find them easy on Strava, simply exploring and being adventurous once in a while. Learning more about new cultures is always something truly special and to have a look into other views of life, expectations, and habits those people have.
A few years ago a bunch of professional big mountain skiers fell in love with the adventure, quit the contests, built their own home on four wheels and never ever looked back. Since that day they’ve been approaching the most outstanding countries all over the globe, skied some mountains that never been skied before and produced some storytelling movies.The Snowmads are always up for new challenges and decided to add some bikes to their four wheeled home, named simply „The Truck“.
Last autumn the Snowmads started their journey from Austria to Iran. On their way, once in a while they took out the bikes for a ride in several countries. I made a last minute decision, hoped on a plane and joined the boys in Turkey. Our meeting point was in Antalya, with eight people, seven bikes and tons of gear we were ready to hit the road through Turkey. In the following weeks we had it all, from laying on the beach, tanning to hiking in the mountains and sleeping in tents at -15 degrees. All four seasons combined in two weeks and 600 kilometers later we arrived at our biking destination.
Some impressions of the Truck’s inside in the link below.
GÖREME TOWN / RED VALLEY
Arrived in Cappadocia, the first thing we did was booking a traditional turkish bath massage called “Hammam” after weeks without showers in the mountains, all sweaty and dirty, some spa time was really needed. We took our time to check out some restaurants, coffee places and spent a lot of time searching for trails all over the internet. We went a lot to restaurants, because it’s really cheap in Göreme city compared to bigger cities in Turkey. Our three favorites were the ‘Keyif Restaurant’, ‘Sultan Place’ and the ‘Pide Place’, vegetarian, vegan or meat lover, there’s something to order for everyone and everything’s unbelievably delicious. I fell in love with the ‘Sütlac’, it’s an Turkish rice pudding and I always ordered it for dessert.
We got lucky by finding some trails and some locals who helped us further. Red Valley is the place to be, about an 15 minute car drive from Göreme town. Once arrived we started to get ready for a bike ride, we usually needed at least an hour to finally leave the truck. Half an hour we spent only looking for our stuff, what a madness it always was, but definitely worth it ! In the Red Valley, there aren’t marked trails as we know them, it’s a lot of exploring and we usually started off from the ‘Sunset View Point’ of the Red Valley and rode all the trails that lead down to the Rose Valley, and pedaled back up on the main road. Never before we’ve ridden such a ground like the one in Cappadocia, at first we needed some days to get used to it and of course we didn’t leave the place without a souvenir scar. If you ever plan a trip to Cappadocia, make sure you love Enduro rides, the trails come with a lot of pedaling or as skiers say ‘earn your turns’.
The peaks of three volcanoes – Erciyes, Hasan and Melendiz Dağları – dominate Cappadocia. It was their eruptions, which covered the former plateau of Ürgüp in ash and mud some thirty million years ago, that provided the region’s raw material: tuff, formed by compressed volcanic ash. In the millions of years that followed, wind and water eroded the tuff into odd shapes, including spires, cones, even a camel. In more recent times, a different force went to work on the rocks of this region. People in Cappadocia have been living in caves for literally centuries, right up until the present day. The tuff was soft and easily worked, and people made this place home, hollowing out the rocks, and carving windows, doors, and curving stairways. Locals even carved churches into the rock. In Cappadocia we felt so welcomed by everyone and the locals were usually up for some Turkish tea, no one of us could really speak Turkish so we communicated somehow over google translate. I was really thankful for being a part of this trip in such a beautiful country with the most amazing crew you could imagine, the Snowmads, ‘teşekkür ederim’ means simply ‘thank you’.
The Cappadocia region of Turkey is the most popular location in the world for hot air ballooning. Last year, over half of the world’s balloon trips took place in the region, with almost half a million people taking to the skies. It’s also one of the few places in the world you can balloon almost all year round. Trips run in boiling hot summers and snowy winters – and the landscape looks incredible in both.While on a flight, you won’t just see a few balloons, the sky will be filled with around 100 balloons of differing colours and designs. Every day is like a fiesta.
UNTIL NEXT TIME TURKEY
Every beautiful journey, dream, trip call it however you want it comes to an end once. We ended the journey with a last mini explore through rose valley, a great Turkish meal in the restaurant called ‘Sultan Place’ and some really good wine. A week of riding, exploring, learning all the way through Turkey/Cappadocia was one of the greatest adventures I’ve ever witnessed and made some friends and memories for a lifetime. The Snowmads drove me to the nearest airport and saying good bye is always the hardest part and I usually drop a tear or two, this time I left with the biggest grin on my face I’ve ever had. Fabian continued his journey to Teheran/Iran, with everyone else along. He has been talking about staying in Iran for a year ever since and is documenting his life there until this years November, skiing some crazy lines, riding some nice trails and exploring this extraordinary country.
Snowmads crew // Fabian Lentsch / Markus Ascher / Anjuna Hartmann / Marco Freudenreich /
Konstantin Ottner / Gabriel Indrist / Nick Phalini
Mons Royale / Oakley / Canyon / Sram / Rock Shox / DT Swiss / Maxxis / HT Components / Ergon