mercoledì 23 agosto 2023

The 58km Ring of the Ducklings Trail under scorching heat!


Shot along the route

I knew that today (Monday, 10th of July, 2023) was going to be an extremely hot day; nevertheless, I wanted to embark on this 58km walking adventure because I have other plans scheduled and couldn't postpone them... I try to make the most of the summer break from work, even though it's not true relaxation because I'm constantly engaged in my Osteopathy studies, which take up several hours a day, although I'm nearing the end of my training.

The 58km loop

So, this morning I woke up at 5:00 and started preparing the gear to put in my backpack. It's always important not to forget anything because it comes back to haunt you when you're alone during the excursion! I started at 6:15 or a little before. From Madonna delle Grazie di Envie, I immediately took the cycle path 'Via della Pietra', then headed towards the sewage treatment plant and crossed the ford of the Ghiandone river, which I easily crossed as there was little water despite the flood some time ago. However, the ambient temperature at that time was really pleasant. I continued towards Crocera di Barge, passing by the restaurant/riding stable 'Cascina Nuova', and upon reaching the main road, the first issue presented itself: a private property with a lowered bar. It's frustrating to see the road you need to reach just a few meters away and not be able to get there due to these "nuisances". So, I improvised on the spot and noticed the raised edge of a rice paddy which I followed for a while. Then I had to descend into the cultivation, staying along the edge, otherwise, my ankles would be covered in water and mud! I then reached the main road towards Saluzzo for 200 meters and crossed that very busy stretch to reach the inner countryside road towards Cardè. It's a dreamy place, immersed in nothingness, with a few large farmhouses scattered around. The temperature here was still quite bearable. However, that tranquil area didn't last long, as I was forced to take the old road that connects Cardè to Crocera di Barge. There isn't much space for pedestrian passage here, and the white line is close to the edge. Quite dangerous! I wonder when they will decide to create a cycle path alongside every road?! It would be a big step for everyone's safety and a sign of civilization. But perhaps, as often happens in the context of roads, the various administrations always wait for an accident before taking action...

A bridge over a tributary of the Po

A glimpse of the Po

I reached Cardè after a few kilometers, and fortunately, before reaching the bridge, I met an old client of mine from the Tempio del Fitness gym, who provided me with useful directions to the entrance of the Ducklings Trail. In fact, I wanted to go on the right side to be already oriented towards Moretta, but he informed me that that side had been blocked due to the last flood and in some places, it would have been difficult to pass. So, I opted for the left side.

It's a very natural trail with panoramic views of the imposing Po river, which grows in size as you proceed towards Villafranca, becoming truly impressive in some spots! I encountered several passersby, which shows that it's a highly frequented route. In about five or six kilometers, I reached the bridge that connects Villafranca to Moretta, to join the cycle path. Here, the heat was starting to increase, but it was still tolerable. Along the cycle path, I appreciated the presence of a fountain in the shade, which I fully utilized. The cycle paths in our area often lack water and shade. In a short time, I reached the center of Moretta, a really charming village with its large central castle. So, the much-awaited coffee at the bar, an almost constant stop in all my walking adventures. I crossed the village without knowing it was market day, but no big deal.

Coffee break in Moretta

Retracing the cycle path towards Villafranca, I realized that the heat was becoming intense. I passed through Villafranca to head towards the San Luca hamlet, towards Cavour, and I had to wear a cap since in the summer I tend to keep my head shaved and the sun can be dangerous. So, I looked for shaded areas and fountains (completely absent) along the route from then on (11:30). Along the way, I found an isolated tree not far from the road with a shadow that caught my attention, so I sat there and it was an opportunity for a very "natural" meal. Then I continued under an increasingly intense sun, hoping to find some water at the Church of San Luca, but there was none. In that area, I even reached the point of asking a local person for water. Continuing on that long country straight, I noticed an irrigation canal full of running water, which I promptly used to wet my cap and cool down as much as possible, even though I didn't think it was a good idea to drink the water.

Snack break under a tree

Kilometer after kilometer, I finally reached Cavour, and the first place where I could find fresh water along my route was the cemetery, with welcome shade and not one, but two fountains ready to quench my massive thirst! I filled up the half-liter bottle I had with me and took the opportunity for a quick snack.

Marchierù Castle


A small but charming chapel


Moretta Sanctuary

The most challenging part, however, would come shortly after, going beyond the Rocca loop, passing through the Cursaglie area. I managed to find a fountain along the route. Then I continued towards San Martino. I have to write, though, that after 2:00 PM, I couldn't take a single running step anymore due to the extremely high temperature that surely exceeded 40°C (104°F). Once I passed San Martino di Barge, the situation worsened even more due to the heat, and the water in my water bottle was almost gone. I noticed a peach field with a drip irrigation system and went to refresh myself again in that watery environment, although it didn't seem appropriate to drink the water.

GPS data on the cell phone

Having reached the Ghiandone river once again, I felt close to home. So, I took the Via Vecchia di Barge, passed by the sewage treatment plant, and finally arrived home at 3:59 PM, the adventure concluded in 9 hours and 43 minutes total for a distance of 58.5km (36.3 miles).



This walking adventure was also prepared according to the principles of the Weekly Mono-Training technique, explained in the book 'UltraTrail with Mono-Training' - Fusta Editore.


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  




Nessun commento:

Posta un commento

Cerca nel blog