“Oh, that’s pretty steep” – this was my first thought when I stood in front of the downhill trail. “And we’re going down there?!” – oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained! Our very first day of downhill mountain biking began at the Rabbit Sports by Hasenauer at 8:30 a.m.
Dressed with protectors, a long sleeve top, knee-deep shin guards and a full face helmet we felt armed and secure enough to start this adventure. Fritz Steger from Hotel Hasenauer acted as our guide for the day and met us at Rabbit Sports. The owner of Rabbit Sports by Hasenauer gave us our downhill bikes and then we finally set off on our way to the Kohlmeisbahn in Saalbach.
First tips for downhill mountain biking
With the first cable car we got up to the mid-station, which was our starting point to the Milka Line. Arriving there we encountered our first challenge: getting into the cable car with all our bikes. The bikes upright and our hands on the handlebar we managed to cram all five people into one cable car. After arriving at the mid-station – Fritz gave us the first instructions:
- Put your saddle down – you either ride standing or you push, there is nothing in between!
- Keep your upper body parallel to the floor!
- Put your weight on the front-wheel and your chest into the direction of the handlebar!
- Always remember the gorilla stance – elbows away from the body and lean forward!
- Pedals parallel to the ground – this is the safest option for beginners!
- To break you will use just one finger each hand. You need to do it evenly & simultaneously!
Five minutes later we went downhill! At the beginning we were still very careful and therefore rather slow. But as we gained more trust in the good breaks of the downhill bikes, we more and more got into the “flow”. This is how downhill drivers call the feeling of motion flow. Fritz’s essential tip followed soon after: “Look straight ahead, especially when entering turns.” And this is what really did the trick to anticipate the curves better and enjoy driving.
Earning the Hacklberg Trail & our way down to Hinterglemm
Our tour continued with the Schattenberg Express, which brought us up to the “Hacklberg Trail” – one of Fritz’s favourite trails. This fantastic natural panorama trail starts at the west peak of the mountain. “But you have to earn the Hacklberg trail first.”, Fritz told us. And it is true: We had to push our bikes steep uphill to the peak for around 10 minutes. As we arrived at the top we were not only rewarded with a 360° view of the mountain panorama but also with the anticipation of a 10km long single trail with an altitude of 1000m – the combination of Hacklberg trail and Buchegg trail all the way down to Hinterglemm. With little stops on our way we drove by blueberry bushes, cross-country over wooden sticks, stones, roots, and through woods and meadows, always enjoying the landscape.
The feeling after our first day on a downhill bike
A really indescribable feeling during which you can completely forget the world around you as you are fully concentrated on riding downhill and taking in the breathtaking nature. Fritz told us that he can enjoy this every day: either he rides down the Hacklberg trail with his guests or on his own after work. After about one hour we arrived at the bottom and decided to bike down the Z-Line at the Zwölferkogel for the finale. With its small ramps it offers a little bit more of a challenge. Safe and sound and a little bit wiped out we arrived at Rabbit Sports by Hasenauer at noon and gave back the gear.
Our conclusion: Half a day is more than enough for beginners because concentration and strength fade quickly. For everyone – also children from ca. 8/9 years – it really is an unforgettable experience for everyone who likes mountain biking and a little bit of action.