Sometime life can bring you to places where you just feel good and you don’t want to move anymore. Some people fall in love with big cities like London, some others with big mountains such as the Austrian alps.
Who are you and how would you describe yourself as a Mountain Biker?
I’m Samuel Blanc, 26 years old, born and bred in France but I’ve been living in Innsbruck for 2 and a half year now. I’m passionate about mountain biking and I also enjoyed doing a bit of Ski touring during the winter. I would say that I’m a joyful mountain biker that loves nerdy bike details and occasional Enduro races but especially having fun with my friends on two wheels pointed down the trails. I’ve been enjoying mountain biking since I’m a kid now. I think it’s an amazing sport, and that for a lot of different aspects: All the travels, the friends I’ve made, the feeling of being free in the nature in remote places, the sensations you have on a bike and all the tech/geek discussions about our bike. I love it!
Trails and food are that bad in France? Is that why you moved to Austria?
Not exactly! During my last year of study in France I did a two month internship in Innsbruck and really loved the place. Then, when I got my degree I decided to move to Innsbruck to work there as a R&D medical engineer. Great decision! Innsbruck is an amazing place for summer and winter sports.
What was your first feeling with the country, the trails, the MTBikers?
Here it is quite different than where I come from in France, trails are mainly hiker’s trails and mountain bikers can sometime be seen as the bad guys. But with time you learn how to deal with it and by meeting locals it gets better and better. Actually, it was quite easy to get in touch with the local riders as there are a lot of mountain-bikers around Innsbruck but it took a bit of time. I was riding alone most of the time at the very beginning. With a tool like MTBNB it would’ve helped, for sure. I think it’s a really cool tool to get in contact with the local bikers and discover the trails.
What is your favorite tour in Innsbruck?
Around Innsbruck my favorite at the moment would be a tour that starts from a village next to Innsbruck so I usually take a 15min train trip to it. Then you pedal up the fire road for around an hour to the start of the single trail. The way down is quite long (around 1000m of D- for around 10km) and there is a bit of everything, tight and steep alpine switchback, roots, less steep section with some slalom between trees, off cambers, etc… It’s great! Arriving at the bottom you can go up again onto two different trails depending of the form of the day!
In the last years Innsbruck became a trendy MTB destination. What are the reasons?
Well first I think Crankworx last year brought a lot of visibility and did put Innsbruck onto the “to ride” list of a lot of people. Another reason is the location, it’s in the middle of the Alps and you can really go to so many places from here: Leogang, Solden, Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis,… (To quote only the most famous) all this biking spots are very close to Innsbruck and it makes a day in the bike park very accessible. The airport in Innsbruck also facilitates the access to more distant country.
What are your hobbies aside biking? Eating frogs and drinking wine isn’t it?
Oui Biensûr! Ok you got me here, aside biking I love to do a bit of skiing in the winter but yes, food and wine are amazing hobbies! From making to eating I just love it!
You are the kind of lucky guy who can have great afterwork riding? How does this impact your life?
That’s a total game changer for sure, I can also go for a ride on my lunch break too! From my work (or my flat) to the trail, its 2 min and it completely transform your day. No matter how bad your workday was you know that very soon you’re going to be riding your bike with your friends and have a beer after that. That enlightens the day! The only drawback is looking at the window during worktime when the sun is shining and trails are calling. But hey, you’ve got to have the money for all those shiny bike parts!
You mentioned that you will head to TeL-Aviv during the year?
Yes, I will go to Tel Aviv in October to a conference for work. I will stay for a couple of days after the conference and I wanted to take the opportunity to try the trails over there. I actually have hopes that thanks to MTBNB I will find some locals there that can ride with me and show me the good trails. That would be amazing.
Do you want to explore Austrian Alps?
and ride the most beautiful trails in Europe