sabato 1 giugno 2024

A 72km walk/run from Envie to Alba.


Arrival, in front of CAI Alba headquarters

Today, Saturday, June 1, 2024, was the day I finally embarked on this project that had been postponed for various reasons over the past few weeks...

In relation to the Autumn Conference on very long walking distances prepared with the technique of Weekly Mono-training, I set the alarm for 4:30 AM to leave Envie around 5:30 AM, heading towards Alba. It's a city that means a lot to me, as I worked in that area a few years ago (Vezza d'Alba, Canale, and Govone). So, for me, Alba is a beautiful city, but so are many of the surrounding municipalities...

Returning to the route, I passed through the inevitable Saluzzo, taking a stretch of the main road, since the ford was impassable due to the Po river being in flood. This caused a significant loss of time, even in terms of kilometers.

Abandoned tracks Saluzzo Savigliano

Just before the bridge over the Varaita

After Saluzzo, I was undecided about which road to take, and my choice led me to discard the main road to Savigliano, considering its danger, in favor of Lagnasco and then the countryside of that area, with roads that are really not busy. I used the abandoned railway tracks of the Saluzzo-Savigliano line to cross the bridge over the Varaita stream, thus avoiding the dangerous main road (I wonder if this route will one day be redeveloped as a bike path, as it would be really useful; there's no talk of a train!).

One of the many rivulets with fish!


I then headed to the hamlet of Maresco, where I had a small snack sitting on a makeshift bench... I couldn't help but notice a mighty church now abandoned, with the imposing Tapparelli palace in Maresco behind it, a building completely frescoed with a portico. A truly imposing structure that, from what little I could see, seemed to be in a state of severe decay as well! Such a pity. I often wonder how old wealth, as there have been so many in the past, can fade away like this. What happened to the heirs of a family that was once so powerful? Why do they let everything go so wildly to ruin? In Italy, this is a very widespread situation...

Beautiful church with a palace behind in Moresco

I continue walking to reach Savigliano. I must say that, zigzagging through the country lanes, the kilometers really added up.

I arrived near the train station of Savigliano to continue through the countryside in this case as well... Here there were some route errors, but in the end, nothing irretrievable. Onward for several more kilometers to reach the area of Marere, where just before I was fortunate to come across the Mondini locality. A little church recently restored, with an adjacent nice picnic area and respective tables with a fountain! A quick meal with something I had in my backpack and then a few more kilometers to reach Marene and cross its center. In Marene, the opportunity for a good coffee presented itself in the center, in a bar that was right on my way (the first one I had consumed in Savigliano). I set off again to venture into the surroundings of Cherasco, but without passing through this town, and thus I started on some small roads that run alongside the highway. At a certain point, near Roreto, I traveled a very long stretch of the main road, a really difficult situation to reach my goal, also considering the huge traffic.
Mondini Chapel with picnic tables and fountain

I stopped near Roreto at a bar in a gas station. I wonder what the managers of that station thought, because I don't believe many people use their services on foot! Here, I was very hungry, so I treated myself to a barley cappuccino with a Nutella cannoli, which I savored to the last bite. However, my hunger was not satisfied, but when walking long distances, one must always be careful to avoid overeating, as it can activate digestion too forcefully and potentially end the journey prematurely...

In the hairpin turns below Roreto, I noticed a dirt road cutting through the fields, so I took the opportunity to cover a couple of kilometers and stay away from traffic. Moving forward towards Pollenzo, but here there were no alternatives and up to that town, I was 'fighting' with the cars that sped by fast, since I couldn't find alternative routes even consulting the GPS. Pollenzo, on Saturday, was a town in celebration and many roads were closed; however, I managed to find a fountain, losing a few minutes. Here too, a wrong turn, but quickly recovered.
Entrance to the old royal toll booth

Majestic Tanaro with a view of the old Royal Pedaggera

I reached the old Pedaggera Reale on the Tanaro, now in decline due to the new bridge. I must say that the Tanaro is truly a majestic river, rich in water like few others!

The journey to Roddì was tough, given the almost constant absence of a roadside, which forced me to run on the line for several kilometers, still battling with the intense traffic. Here too, however, I found no alternatives for walking. It seems there is a bike path, but I discovered it at the end of the day, so that will be for another time...
Caffè di rito in un dei bar incrociati

Upon arriving in Roddi, the situation transformed, and I was able to benefit from some alternative passage solutions thanks to some back roads full of fishermen, and then a nice 'life-saving' sidewalk. Before the start of the bike path towards Alba, I allowed myself the last snack.

The bike path in the final stretch towards Alba was well-received and very smooth, although, given the fatigue from the over 65 km already covered, my pace was really uncertain! I continued on to the vicinity of the urban center, with the first apartment buildings and supermarkets clearly visible. Moving forward towards the full center and here, as on other occasions in my urban travels, the end made up of many steps at the edge of the sidewalk becomes really tough every time I have to step up to the new sidewalk. Having arrived at the majestic central square, adjacent to the new headquarters of the CAI Alba, I took the classic ritual photo and then rested a bit before the final coffee. Then the wait for a car ride back to Envie.

GPS route on WikiLoc:

It has been a beautiful adventure with a touch of exploration, given the many unknown places I have encountered. I have always been passionate about old churches, and the more remote they are, the more I like them; on this journey, I saw many and will certainly return to examine their details more closely. Let's say that walking distances are not only a sporting opportunity but also decidedly a cultural discovery.

Track Map


In these 72 km across various towns in the province of Cuneo, completed in 12 hours and 17 minutes with a mix of walking and running, it was an opportunity for strong meditative engagement (as always) but also relaxation, aided by a powerful physical effort as only a very long distance can entail. There were also snacks, photos, videos...

I reiterate the effectiveness of the Weekly Mono-training technique for long hikes, which is present on the official web page: Bertinetto Bartolomeo Davide's Ultra Trail




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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