domenica 11 settembre 2022

Hybrid Bike / Trail adventure of 110km Envie-Colle Sellerie (or Sellière) and back

Jervis refuge

Panorama Pra
Waterfall on the path

In fact it hasn't been long since they arrived but I decided to sit down and write a piece about today's hybrid bike / trail adventure, Sunday 11 September 2022. Yes, you read that right, I also wrote the word 'bike' since from a few years ago I carried out this experience on a new itinerary.

Granero Lake
Hill between the Po valley and Pellice
Refuge Granero

Many years ago, when I was still a child, let's say at 7 or 8 years old, I left with my friend Paolo for the 'escapes' in the Vigonese countryside to 'disappear' with my little bicycle in the true sense of the word. Needless to say, my family was incredibly alarmed, at that time I was probably already 'crazy', and today I'm getting closer and closer to 50 but I haven't changed! I've been thinking all night about whether or not to do this "adventure" today. In the end I decided NOT to go out, but only to contradict myself, the obstinacy just got out of bed took over and in no time at all and so I prepared the backpack, the food, the bicycle and I left ... I had to go ahead with my studies for the next university dentistry exam but nothing, I don't want to have regrets for things not done and since this was the last window to realize what I had in mind, the impulse was stronger than me. I couldn't help but hold you back. Around 8 in the morning I jumped on the bike with my backpack, sticks tied to the frame and boots on my feet. I cycled for 42 km to Villanova, after Bobbio Pellice starting from Envie. The stretch between Bobbio and Villanova was quite uphill and even if in the last few laps on the bike I covered 100 km per exit, I was always on level ground. However, it went well and they came pedaling to the Villanova parking lot, tying my 'vehicle' to an iron grate with the hope of finding the bike on the way back. It was about 11:00. From that moment on I started walking, which I hadn't done since the tour of the Island of Elba. Then continuously uphill towards the Pra, a place that fascinates me with its Jervis refuge, because it is a place completely without electricity. Each house has its own generator or solar panel, yet there are margari living up there and they are very well, I think better than us despite all the comforts of urbanization we have. It is useless to write that on Sunday all the stretch between Villanova and Pra there was a lot of people! In fact, the full house of the Jervis refuge is completely different from the number of people present at the Granero refuge at an altitude of 2380 m.

42km one way bike map Envie-Villanova
Trail: Villanova-Colle Sellerie and return 26km


Bike return 42km Villanova-Envie

After the Pra to reach the Granero the climb is very steep and concentrated in a few kilometers where the step became very slow under the scorching sun, even if the clouds at a certain point began to appear worryingly. Arriving at the refuge shortly after 2 pm, I had to have a much desired coffee to satisfy my usual ritual, I add that the staff of this place is extraordinary! Here only French visitors. I continue towards Colle Sellerie for another 400 or 500 m in altitude, arriving, according to my estimates, at over 2800 m on the watershed / border between Italy and France. From Granero the difference in height 'rises' decisively. The clouds reach me and I begin to be pessimistic about the positive outcome of the adventure since this means in the middle of the mountains, be being shrouded in fog! Well, I was lucky and the sky remained clear. I reached the goal at 3:20 pm and to my surprise there were a couple of chamois up there (mom with her cub, I think) that didn't want to leave. Basically these two animals stayed 10 meters away from me the whole time while I was having a snack.

Chamois towards Colle Sellerie
Lake Granero
Always Colle Sellerie suede

The view from that point was breathtaking, I had already been there a few years ago. You could see the French side of Monviso, even from a distance it was equally impressive. Just below the Monvisò refuge, very far away. Looking from the opposite side all the highest hills that surround the Pellice Valley and the clouds below me. On the side I had the tip of Colle Sellerie, wonderful. Time to shoot a small video, some photos and start the very steep descent of that stretch for the return. The chamois no longer care about me and are always there. The GPS indicated 13km of distance starting from Villanova. I go quickly, the speed is more than doubled in the descent and I stop only when I see fountains down to fill the bottle, since I drank a lot for the whole return because of the enormous sweat in going up. After passing the Granero I continue the descent without pause, I arrive in a short time at Jervis and I begin to think that if I not run stop in the night. To avoid the darkness that advances I go ahead quickly and take the wrong way to a crossroads, losing 10 precious minutes. Once back in Villanova I decide not to have the snack before the bike and I immediately consume a second coffee in the Locanda, a place of other times, wonderful.

Monviso French side


Mother and cub on the watershed
Monviso panoramic rear side

I quickly prepare everything and jump on the bicycle at 6.30 pm for a 'crazy' descent to the Bibiana roundabout, in order to 'fight' the passing of time. Cars start to have low beams on and this is not a good sign. I do not stop pedaling and continue to Bagnolo, where I take the cycle path for my safety. Darkness is looming and I reach Barge, so after I am forced to continue for a long stretch on the main road, it is still day but the sun is gone. I take my usual street 'via vecchia Barge' and I approach the house more calm even if I do not give up with the speed. Complete the return by bike at 20.09 for another 42km. A great adventure that once again demonstrates the effectiveness of Monotraining both for cycling and trail / ultratrail.

Pellice Valley above the clouds
Colle Sellerie

The whole thing lasted exactly 12 hours, consisting of 42km of bikes for the outward journey, 13km trail with continuous ascent on foot and the same number of descents, then another 42km of cycling back. A total of 110km. 

Bike with sticks tied to the frame
Departure by bike from Villanova (return)


I get home, Lola's parties

Now I rest for the next few months, I have too much to study and I have to take a break from sport to finish the fifth and final year of Osteopathy ... Even if I am in line with the exams I have to dedicate all my time to achieve this goal, aware that at my age learning is no longer so agile. I will definitely start again later with all my mileage adventures!

Live video of the adventure:


Below is the detail of the reference links related to my ultratrail and trail articles:

Very long distances | Routes | Competitions | Solo adventures | Publications | Training strategy | UltraTrail eBook





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