At the end of May we had the pleasure to ride our bikes to Lower and Upper Svaneti and Racza. For mountain bikes it is quite an early date in the Caucasus. The snow, still visible on the peaks, strongly cooled our ambitious, high mountain trails, which could have been still walked on skitours. Despite the high water level in rivers and streams, we managed to check the state of the already known paths and even discover new ones.
We started in the area of the Ashki plateau where, unfortunately, to our surprise, we encountered a heap of snow. The northern slopes were completely covered up what is strange on the relatively low height of the plateau about 2100m. The pleasure was negligible, so after a few old covered avalanches we decided to put our pride in our pockets and turn back. Well, nice terrain, paths just under expectations. To wipe away tears we hiked along Okatse Canyon and Martvili Canyon - very interesting forms, we recommend. 

Lower Svaneti  

It was still better, though not wonderful. At the end of May we spent under the southern slopes of the Svaneti mountain range and the Laila peak towering in the massif. The reality brought mud and a high level of rivers. The routes on which we looked before our arrival again turned out to be covered with snow or under the rubble of stone avalanches. We turned around Lentekhi and Mananauri, assessed the condition of the trails and their suitability for this season's riding in order to move to the neighbouring Upper Svaneti after a few days. Unfortunately, the road through the Zagari Pass was still inaccessible for 7sensestravel off-road car supporting us. Only the classic, winding along the river Inguri, equally unusual and scenic road remained, through Khaisi to Mestia. 

Upper Svaneti - Mestia - Heshkili - Hatsvali - Zabeshi

Mestia and the neighborhoods have not failed as usual. The classic Koruldi point of the program, great for mountain bikes, both classic and for more demanding ride. The driveway from the east, where the 4x4 road runs, is also easy for cyclists. Descent straight into the city on the southern slopes where there are great singles with tight turns. The elevation - "only" 700 meters. After the drift you can jump right away on the cool Natachtari :) A bit tired of the previous days we decided to go along the our famous trails. On the next throw we choosen Hatsvali and Heshkili, we have at least three great routes. One is quite difficult, almost all the time under the lift, the other in the direction of Heshkili and the third is a more serious ride, a bit of pedalling, a lot of technical sections - starts from the top of Zuruldi and ends near the access road to the resort Tetnuldi. There we focused on the next few days. The ski lifts themselves did not work (Tetnuldi in the summer season usually open from mid-June) and the snow was up to about 2300m. Although the 7sensestravel team helped us again, there was a lot of pedalling. Our efforts were rewarded with epic descents, very difficult technically (really, it was extremely difficult!). One of the paths is obviously forgotten by shepherds, a road for cattle with large boulders, large thresholds and many very narrow turns - great, although the streams flowing through it could be a little smaller. We made two new paths in the area, unknown to us so far, but the enthusiasm was not exhausted because the areas of the ski resort have much more to offer. The western slopes are extremely steep, we know them from the winter off-piste. We left a few spots for ourselves again, we will soon check what they look like. 

To sum up, a week of driving at maximum speed is all we were able to do without interruptions. Unusual in Poland elevations reaching even one and a half kilometers, singles which we could not do at once, the highest altitude limited only by snow 2700m, a lot of pushing and carrying bikes where we wiped new tracks (not every new path turned out to be the perfect one), dozens of cow cakes, lots of meetings with farm animals (fortunately without victims on both sides), local food and culture. We have got many GPX tracks if You ask! 

MTB Season '19 in the Caucasus - started

10 June 2019