The Mission Workshop Acre Alps MTB Tour – Day 02

For the past seven years, Scott and Dickon from Santa Cruz have spent their post-Eurobike recovery in the hills and mountains of the Black Forest, just outside of Freiburg, Germany. Coincidentally, when Lyle from Mission Workshop and myself had a few extra days laying around before our Alps tour began, they invited us to join them.

That meant traveling from Glarus to Freiburg, before heading back to Zurich on Wednesday. That meant a lot of driving but surely it would be worth it. All the details and accommodations were made. Scott and Dickon knew were to stay, where to eat and were mostly familiar with the trails… What other reasons did we need? Back to Germany we go!

Yesterday morning, we engorged ourselves with one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve had before beginning our journey. I suited up in the new Acre gear, tuned my bike and hopped off through town before we all found ourselves in a tower of switchbacks up and out of the valley.

The Black Forest is a sacred place, filled with lore and mythology. While we saw no Slender Man, or nymphs, I could feel the presence of something the whole day and it wasn’t the eggs from breakfast… Nature still owns the forest. The trees hummed and resonated with the wind. If you break yourself off here, there’s no telling what would happen to you once the sun settled in for the evening.

After a mild case of “lostness” and bordering on bonking, the whim to “take the other trail” turned our planned 3-hour jaunt into an 8-hour expedition through the absolutely stunning trail system. Some were extremely technical and steep, while others were fast and smooth. Then we hit the backside of Kandel with its fast, steep and rocky descents. We all wished we had pads…

We got a taste of everything and for me, the technical, rocky terrain was just a teaser for what awaits in the Alps. The total for the day was about 35 miles and 4,900′ and today, my legs are thanking me.

Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery!

  • Jack Luke

    Man, I went walking in Austria a couple years ago and it was the splitting image of this. Beautiful riding, so jealous!

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      It’s pretty amazing… These are only a fraction of the photos, too!

      • Jack Luke

        Sounds like plenty of excuses to stop and recover from the gu-nar ;)

        Enjoy the rest of your wee tour!

  • Ian Stone

    #19 looks brutal

  • http://www.rideforadream.ca/ Micah

    “the absolute most insane shit I’ve ridden”

    What mountain biking is all about!

  • http://hannes-brt.github.io/ Hannes Bretschneider

    You realize the sign said: “Only hiking please, no bicycles”

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      Yes, but that was a new sign that appeared overnight. Mountain bikers made those trails and the city just closed it. There were no signs at the bottom of the climb, so we didn’t know (nor did the other locals who we passed going up).

      • http://hannes-brt.github.io/ Hannes Bretschneider

        Sure – I wasn’t meaning to berate you. And in any case, this being Germany, you could always argue that the sign does not conform to EU/DIN/ISO/StVZO/StVO and the public consultation process was too short and not properly implemented.

        • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

          Totally. The guys we were with were just up there a few days before and there wasn’t a sign. We got done and were like “ooops”.

  • Tony McCue

    Great set. That looked like a blast

  • Ahab

    Great stuff. What bike were you on?

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      Santa Cruz TRC 26″ trail bike

  • Jason

    The last 3 photos are on point!!! And the light balance in the last one is nuts! Incredible shots!

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      Thanks! It’s hard to force myself to spend time post-processing all these photos. Those last three are dialed though!

  • Sean Curran

    Ive really liked seeing you cross over into the MTB stuff this year. I feel like photographers in the MTB industry don’t do a whole lot different (while there is some good ones out there), and i’ve been looking at the same photos for a long long time. Its real good to get your fresh perspective on it.

    Ive considered moving to Germany, you got me thinking I’ll need to bring a few bikes now.

    • Europeantouches

      move to freiburg, its your dream-come-true cycling heaven. it is great for both MTB and road…

  • hans

    these are so good man!

  • Gregor P

    hey john are you using any of the vsco lightroom presets on those?

  • Kate L.

    Some real stunners in here.

  • Gene Oberpriller

    Love the “insane” part, and no photos. Imagine it!

    • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

      I was in survival mode! We fucking flew down that shit. So much fun.