Inspired by the sense of freedom in riding new, unknown, unpaved roads and by some Rapha videos this winter I started drawing on the map a one-week trip on the western Alps between Italy and France.
This area is full of old military road that can be ridden with a road bike fully loaded, the mind is already on the road.
We start our trip in Susa and with a short first stage we reach the Giro's most famous gravel road of Colle delle Finestre, then we follow the stunning Strada dell'Assietta till Sauze d'Oulx, down to Bardonecchia and the day after two climbs to reach Briancon, the Col de l'Echelle and the very hard gravel of the Col du Granon.
For the fourth day we take a pause and reach Embrun via the Col d'Izoard by a whole-paved stage, then came the bad luck. The cold and long winter cause the legendary tunnel on the top Col du Parpaillon to be still closed, we need to leave this pass for another time and reach Barcelonette by the Lac de Serre Poncon with a short morning stage. The day after the plan is to take the Cayolle road and when in Bayasse turn left on the gravel of Col de la Moutiere, but also in this case the guides of the Parc du Mercantour told us that the road n the top in not passable due to snow, bad luck strike again.
Another change in the plan, but in this case the alternative is a great one, despite I rode the Bonette also two years ago it still remain a magic place, moreover with a perfect sunny day.
Two gravel stages has transformed into paved ones, but we can't do nothing against the power of nature...
Last stage took us from St. Etienne de Tinee to Cuneo via the Col de la Lombarde, a little bit boring on the french side, but a gorgeous landscape on the italian descent.
Seven stages, seven pass (six above 2000 m), three gravel stages, six sunny and one rainy day, around 10120 m of ascent in 425 km!!!
A great bike trip, I love gravel!!!
Music: Garands - Young the Giant
Camera: GoPro Hero 3