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The Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen) and their breathtaking mountain panoramas, the Ore Mountains with their unique mixture of deep forests, steep climbs and demanding trails, the beautiful Salzburg mountain summits, the glacial Swiss Alps, and the mystical landscape of the Belgian Ardennes – in addition to impressive landscapes, all of these destinations have one other thing in common: They are all home to the Stoneman, the mountain bike routes where you set your own challenges for one-of-a-kind cycling experiences. And at Bike24.com you’ll find everything you need to rock the Stoneman! » Read more
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With five very different destinations, each Stoneman Challenge is a bike adventure of its own. It was created by well-known South Tyrolean mountain biker Roland Stauder, who helped shape the sport of international MTB during the 1990s and 2000s, competing at the top level for two decades and winning races all over the world – even becoming overall World Cup champion. Now 49 years old, he never lost his fascination for mountain biking and the breathtaking beauty found in nature. For this reason, after the end of his professional career, he began to build MTB trails around his native South Tyrol using stone figures, called "Stoanerne Mandln" (Stone Manikins) in the local dialect, to mark the way and the idea of the Stoneman was born. In 2009, with the introduction of the Stoneman Dolomiti, the first official Stoneman was introduced.
The “Stoneman Principle” is as simple as it is ingenious: It’s not a classic race with a start and finish. Rather, tackling a respective Stoneman mountain bike track takes place without competitive pressure or stress. You can set out on any Stoneman Challenge whenever you like. What matters is that you ride the specified route and reach each checkpoint to collect stamps along the way. To begin your Stoneman adventure, a starter pack can be purchased at various local issuing offices. Anyone who manages the challenge within the time allowed will be marked as a finisher on the Stoneman website and is eligible to receive a unique Stoneman trophy, which Roland Stauder himself designed for this project.
The variety of available Stoneman Challenges proves that this idea has been well-received. The original South-Tyrolean route created by Roland Stauder, the Stoneman Dolomiti, covers 115 kilometers and gains over 4,000 meters of elevation. Starting any time between June and September, you have a maximum of three days to reach all the checkpoints, stamp the various symbols on your race bracelet and thus win one of the Stoneman trophies. The principle is similar with the Stoneman Miriquidi: this bike adventure meanders the border between Germany and the Czech Republic along trails throughout the Ore Mountains (editorial note: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the route is currently limited to Germany). In contrast, one can enjoy a mountain bike tour of Switzerland at the Stoneman Glaciara: MTB trails that snake between glaciers and over countless 4,000-meter peaks as the fascinating mystique of centuries-old mountain villages introduce you to the beauty of Valais.
The Stoneman Taurista in turn leads you to breathtaking vistas, through lush alpine meadows, past rustic mountain huts as you tour the summits of the Salzburg region. The last Stoneman destination, located in Belgium, shows that you can wonderfully combine the Stoneman with bike touring. At the Stoneman Arduenna, you get to explore the trails of the Ardennes and thus discover a whole new mountain biking area with exciting MTB routes. By the way: Depending on your destination, the Stoneman is not only available for mountain bikers, but also for road and gravel cyclists, trail runners and hikers.
The special thing about the Stoneman is that it appeals to riders of all levels. Ambitious mountain bike racers for example try to complete the respective Stoneman course in one day to secure the coveted Stoneman gold trophy. If you want to ride it at a little more relaxed (but still sporty) pace, you can spend two days on the mountain bike tracks. You will receive a silver Stoneman trophy if you complete the Stoneman in 48 hours. When you're still new to mountain biking and are looking for a special MTB adventure – without having to hit the downhill courses at full speed – the three-day Stoneman is just the thing for you. Here you can still earn a Stoneman trophy in bronze.
Whichever Stoneman trail you choose, good preparation is key to any successful bike adventure. In terms of fitness level, you should be able to cope with demanding mountain bike tours with steep terrain, and even some hike-a-bike, to conquer the distance. But good Stoneman preparation does not just include classic fitness training. Because when it comes to riding technique, you should also be prepared to master the other aspects of a Stoneman Challenge. After all, there are numerous fast-paced downhill trail sections. Additionally, routes are often peppered with difficult, technical sections that require balance and skill if you don't want to end up pushing your bike. Therefore, the Stoneman in gold can only be achieved by savvy, experienced riders, and if you don't see yourself at this level, it’s best to start with a silver or bronze MTB tour first.
However, the best preparation helps but little if you don't bring the right equipment. In particular, having the right bike for the journey plays a decisive role in mastering a Stoneman challenge. Whether you ride a hardtail or a full-suspension bike, it’s hard to say which is the best, the choice of mountain bike depends on the nature of the specific route as well as on the rider’s respective ability. You can access the detailed route description of each Stoneman via the destination overview page (editorial note: currently only available in German) so that you can find out in advance about the nature of the designated mountain bike course. Regardless of the course profile or whether you want to ride the Stoneman in one, two or three days, at Bike24.com you will find a large selection of mountain bikes – from cross-country hardtails and enduro bikes to all-mountain MTB machines for your mountain bike trip.
This individualized approach also applies to the rest of your MTB equipment. In all performance classes, for example, a good MTB backpack with a hydration bladder is essential. If you choose to take on the Stoneman course over several days, you can also use bikepacking equipment with a handlebar bag, frame bag and saddle bag. Tools for fixing possible breakdowns on the way are also a must for your Stoneman adventure. This is especially true considering that many Stoneman MTB trails cross remote, difficult terrain, so it’s always possible you may face a mechanical issue alone and in the middle of nowhere – but that's exactly what makes this a bike adventure right? By the way, if you are missing something in terms of equipment – be it a new tire, a multitool for traveling or the right clothing – www.bike24.com is sure to have it. A look at the Stoneman packing list (editorial note: currently only available in German) will help you to keep track of everything you need.
Regardless of which Stoneman trail and which of the Stoneman bike adventures you choose, in addition to a sufficient level of training, the choice of the best Stoneman bike and appropriate equipment, it is also important to bring along the right nutrition for your mountain bike tour. When combined correctly, energy bars, gels, sports drinks, protein bars, dietary supplements, energy gums and creams can all help get you where you’re going. Used specifically before, during or after training or competition, these can help boost endurance, strength and overall health. Bike24.com offers a large selection of nutrition options so that you are always perfectly prepared to stay fuelled up.
As different as each Stoneman destinations is, they are united by their journeys through spectacular landscapes. It doesn't matter whether you master the Stoneman in one, two or three days – or whether you are just out and about with your bike on the Stoneman Trail or do it as a solo bike tour or with friends. In the end, what counts is the experience of having conquered a true bike adventure. BIKE24 has launched a social media campaign with the hashtag #YouRockStoneman, where you can share your personal Stoneman adventure with the world. And best of all: each entry goes into a lottery for monthly prizes powered by BIKE24 So, what are you waiting for? Go rock Stoneman and subscribe to BIKE24 at Facebook and Instagram!