From Germany, two celebrity endorsers with a life-time and riding project in mind
Ines Thoma and Max Schumann visited our trail area during the last week of January. Based on PuntAla Camp & Resort as special guests (the tourist facility will reopen its doors on 20.05.2021), they travelled the length and breadth of the Maremma. It doesn’t happen every day to host an award-winning enduro champion and a photographer-journalist who is among the closest to our world, we asked them what project is behind their stay in Tuscany.
Which reason brought you over the German borders during coronavirus times to ride in Tuscany?
Also besides Covid, things are different for us this year. For the first time since what seems like forever we are not preparing for a long race season, but for other personal challenges as we are growing like a little bike family.
As professional mountain bike racers, January/February has always been a time when we would travel to Italy for training. For sure it’s not perfect Summer sun, but the conditions for riding are still so much better than back home in Germany in Winter. Trails are dry, not dusty and temperatures warm enough for long days in the saddle, especially down here, so close to the seaside.
(in the picture) e-bikes would help to go uphill along the coastal gravel road
This year a lot of things are different and difficult. However, we are very happy that we decided to travel to Tuscany for “business” reasons to work on a new project. We found perfect conditions and a relaxed atmosphere here in Punta Ala. People, landscape, trails and food here are simply so good.
Tell us more about your project (timing, collaborations, else), why you choose our region in winter times?
Instead of training, we are using the “free” Winter month researching for a big project that we have had in our heads for years already. We want to write a book!
A book that will collect the best riding in Tuscany. We are definitely excited about it. We want to tell the stories behind the trail areas with the trail builders as the main characters. Together with the locals, we want to discover their favourite spots and find the best trails, bars, restaurants, accommodations and bike shops. A great challenge and experience so far.
(in the picture) Pici with mushrooms is a kind of pasta locals go crazy for
We have met so many great different people along the way, who are really enthusiastic and passionate about the sport that we love. Also here around Punta Ala, it is great to see the diversity of trails from Tirli and Bandite to the sea.
We discovered this place many years ago with the very first race of the Enduro World Series and the trails so cool to be back and to see the development and the progress of the area. There are not many places in the world where you can find proper enduro riding so close to a beautiful beach holiday spot.
(in the picture) Divde also known as “Bibo”, the trailcare man.
Max, your IG bio says “riding bike, taking fotos!”… which is your favorite one at this time and which will be in your next future?
Riding bikes and taking photos are the two things that made me travelling pretty much all around the world. Biking definitely will always be the number one for me, as it perfectly combines my drive for outdoor adventures, exploration, sports, fun and excitement. Taking photos during my rides and trips makes all the great memories last and therefore I love it.
As we said earlier, 2021 will bring big changes and challenges. I am excited to see the shift in priorities. Maybe from this Summer on, biking for once will not be my Number One interest any more. We will see!
Ines, how do you manage 10 to 14 days non stop riding uphill and downhill without racing at all?
For sure I take it easier at the moment. The baby will arrive in April, so pretty soon already and I am super happy that I can still ride my bike and discover Tuscany on two wheels. But I am definitely not riding fast or doing training or anything like that. I enjoy my life, ride bikes (only e-bike at the moment) and take the rest days I need.
Luckily big parts of the book will talk about Italian food, beaches, the best places for coffee and rest day activities, so I am the perfect research-person for that ;).
(in the picture) Ines takes a rest in Cala Violina
See more action photos by Max on IG @maxschumann_
Get to knows Ines’ stories on IG @inesthoma