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We set off from Finale Ligure, James having only 4 days left in is his 90 day visa free EU allowance. With a possible banning/passport blacklisting on the cards for him he was struggling to focus on the good times for fear of missing the ferry home - booked for 23:30 on his final day.
I was not on my limit of days so was keen to enjoy the trip north by stopping off with friends who live in some of the best riding regions on the continent. Some well known, others still hidden gems for now!
We headed for Verbier to ride with Ludo May. A past top level professional racer both in Downhill and Enduro but more importantly one of the funniest and nicest folk around! I rode for Canyon at the same time as Ludo and enjoyed some good times with him then but hadn't seen him for a few years!
He arrived in his pimped out G wagon and showed us how to properly hook some Verbier turns on board his SCOR bike.
Next up was Francois Bailley-Maitre another past racer. Francois had incredible success racing first cross country being U23 National champion before switching over to Enduro where he enjoyed EWS podium results.Now a guide, business man, trail builder, father and soon to be bike shop owner it's fair to say he is a busy man but took a day to ride with us and show us some of his incredible hand built gold in the Jura mountains.
I've ridden in Freiburg before but James hadn't so it seemed like a nice next stop off being not too far from Jura. The European kind of HQ for SR Suntour it was nice to stop in and visit Hoshi Yoshida after the ride and look through some of his incredible photography from years of covering world cup racing!
James was now getting particularly tetchy about his ferry home but i had heard about a big day out in Roan l'Etape which was 100% worth a visit so i convinced him it was a fairly short loop and off we went. James hit the road hard and sped all the way to the ferry after the ride but was bemused to find i wasn't close behind him!
Credit: Papa Moyn