The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - Austria -

abound in cy­cling, ripe for de­bunk­ing, but just one look at the drop-in was enough to con­vince me to let this one lie.

Luck­ily, the Ar­zler Alm – a new red trail on the same face – packs plenty of thrills with­out the po­ten­tial for in­jury. It has a pro line with jumps and big­ger ob­sta­cles, but a mod­er­ately pro­fi­cient rider can see it all through; there is al­ways a bail-out op­tion that skirts to the side of the jumps. I mostly dodged them, but whether through bravado, stu­pid­ity or sim­ply not know­ing what was com­ing next, I in­creas­ingly found my­self tak­ing risks I never would at home.

“North Shore” sec­tions – stretches of wood­work named af­ter Van­cou­ver’s North Shore, where they first ap­peared – are a case in point. I usu­ally draw the line at a wall ride; here I found my­self inch­ing fur­ther up the al­most ver­ti­cal planks, packed tightly around sev­eral cor­ners.

Fur­ther afield at the Ty­rol Bike Park, also in­cluded on the Bike-City pass, even the blue-graded trail comes with some of this de­monic car­pen­try. Crazy Heart, as it is called, is the per­fect prov­ing ground for any­one want­ing to get a feel for the rougher, tougher ter­rain of the Alps.

Ty­rol Bike Park is 30 min­utes’ drive from the city cen­tre, and is one of the few lo­cal rid­ing spots that isn’t ac­ces­si­ble by pub­lic trans­port. Do your­self a favour and book a day with an in­struc­tor here. Man­fred Stromberg runs bik­eride moun­tain­bikeschule, and, de­spite his ap­par­ent fear of cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion and word spac­ing, is a good-hu­moured coach. He can also ferry you around in his very smart van. He had our mixed-abil­ity group whoop­ing and hol­ler­ing in the man­ner of ex­cited teenagers. High-fives were dealt out in pure joy in­stead of ironic self­aware­ness. We were stoked, to use the ver­nac­u­lar of cy­cling magazines.

Now is a great time to ride in Inns­bruck – it is truly com­ing into its own as a moun­tain bik­ing des­ti­na­tion. Next year will be even bet­ter: Crankworx fin­ished its 2017 run in Whistler this Au­gust but will be back in Inns­bruck next June. By then, all of the new trails will have bed­ded in and the hills will ring to the sound of rub­ber on dirt; cow­bells and gearshifts, the back­drop of the Alps a spec­tac­u­lar au­di­to­rium to the noise.

There is no purer bolt of adrenalin to rid­ing by the very seat of your pants, skirt­ing the line be­tween tri­umph and dis­as­ter.

But as to what moun­tain bik­ing ac­tu­ally is? I couldn’t tell you. Fun, I guess.

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