The Wolf’s Lair (Film)
Montanus retraced the 400km Wolf’s Lair bikepacking route to film the experience and showcase the hidden beauty that fascinated them during their initial exploration three years ago. Watch it here, along with details about their bikes and the revised route map…
The Wolf’s Lair is a 400-kilometer bikepacking route that winds through medieval castles, alpine scenery, and ancient italian villages in the Apennines Mountains. The Montanus duo originally traced the route in 2016 after they felt the need to explore the Abruzzo region to learn more about their culture and origins. Giorgio went back to The Wolf’s Lair to film the experience.
BIKEPACKING.com played a fundamental role in the evolution of Montanus. Reports of great trips and incredible photos of remote places inspired us to travel and explore, and we had our first overseas trip in the Utah desert in 2015. Motivated by that experience, we realized that we could introduce Abruzzo to the bikepacking community and inspire people to explore our land. So, we traced a route that runs across three national parks with the intent of showing the wild and historic side of Abruzzo, from the majestic alpine landscapes to the medieval fortified buildings, from abandoned watchtowers to the ruins of ancient villages.
We scouted The Wolf’s Lair in 2016, and the route has been enjoyed by bikepackers from all over the world since it was published here. We were amazed to find so many photos of people riding The Wolf’s Layer on social media, and we’ve been even more excited to see them with our own eyes.
Our idea was create a route that shows foreign bikepackers the beauty of Abruzzo, but during the trip we were surprised to discover so many amazing places we never heard of. From that experience, we learned to explore our own land more, and to fully appreciate the place where we live. Three years later, we revisited The Wolf’s Lair to try and capture some of the emotions that it provided.
BIKES AND BAGS
When we rode The Wolf’s Lair in 2016, we used gravel bikes with 700c x 40mm tires and drop bars. This setup worked pretty well for most of the route, but we really wanted more comfort and traction off-road. So, this time we back on The Wolf’s Layer riding two Rodeo Labs Traildonkey 3.0s (size 52 Giorgio, size 58 Francesco) with Rodeo 2.0 700c Carbon wheelsets and 29 x 2.0″ tires. Our 2019 setup also includes 46mm wide “flared” drop bars, Ergon SR Pro Carbon saddles, SPD for Giorgio, and flat pedals for Francesco. The “adventure-oriented” dropbar gave us more handling in rough stretches and steep downhills, and we added some spacers under the stem to have a higher and more comfortable position. The other big change was the gearing; we used 1×11 drivetrains (36 x 11-42T) instead of 2×11 (46/36 x 11-32T). This was a little more forgiving when riding off-road uphills with fully loaded bikes.
On the Rodeo Spork 2.0 fork, we mounted a mini pump and a knife affixed with Voilè Nano Straps. The knife is mounted on the right side of the fork, easy to grab in case a wolf tries to taste your calf. That’s half a joke! Three years ago, our bikepacking setup consisted of 20L seatbags, half-frame bags, and drybags fixed to handlebar with a couple of straps. This time, we rode the route with framebags and a smaller seatbag for a better load distribution, shifting most of weight to a more central and lower position to improve handling. Our Revelate Designs bags sets included Ripios framebags (size S and M), Vole seatbags (2-7L), Mag-Tank bolt-on and Gas Tanks on top tubes, and the Proghorn holster loaded up with a small drybag on the handlebars. And we used Egress and Yakataga pockets for carrying cameras and keeping them dry.
The Wolfs Lair 2.0 (ROUTE UPDATE)
After three and a half years, we decided to update The Wolf’s Lair to explore more amazing places, replacing asphalt with singletrack, gravel, and doubletrack roads. This means there are about 65 kilometers of updated roads, 95% of which are off pavement. The new stretches are on the west side of the route, and the old ones are marked on the map with dashed lines. View the full route guide here.
THE WOLF’S LAIR PATCH
We came up with the name “The Wolf’s Lair” while we were riding the route in 2016, since we felt like wolves roaming in their territory, hungry for knowledge and adventure. The design of the wolf head is inspired by a medieval engraving, since the route crosses territories with castles and villages dating back to that period. The three shining stars on the patch represent the three national parks the route crosses. The Wolf’s Lair patch is a tribute at the wild spirit that leads us to discover new places in our own land. Visit this link to purchase The Wolf’s Lair patch and support Montanus project.