Thursday, September 08, 2016

The Great and First Torino-Nice Rally Day 3 - Assiette to Briancon via Montginevre 38 miles, 1027m ascent

All that is and was, will be
We got up to frost on the ground... at least we put our down coats on and stepped out into the wilderness to look for the sunrise before breakfast.

There's chronic confusion over coffee and hot milk which causes a lot of hairy Italian ranting.

Hitting the ridge at 09:05
The barracks above the Refugio
After breakfast and packing there was a lot more warmth in the sky as the sun has righted itself.  We rode straight out of the refugio and set about catching up JJ.

All present and correct.

The moonscape is dotted with grass and exciteable marmotts which were a welcome distraction from the legs and the occasional Range Rover.

We rose up past the Marmotte ski station where life was closed for the summer.  I've skied here before.
TSK with the Marmotte lift station on the summit behind.
Eventually the rambling sections of up reverted progressively downhill until we arrived in Sestriere which was deserted except for an open coffee shop.  Half way through our brew Lawrence arrived, looking for JJ.  We knew they were behind but he heard they were in a supermarket and set off to look for them.

Life through rose-tinted glasses
We departed Sestriere on a beautiful backroad away from the SP 23.  After a few mianders along the road, the route departed left on a dirt track through farmyards before tipping steeply downhill towards Champlas Seguin.  A momentary lapse of concentration saw us following a  more direct down hill trajectory and fighting briefly to keep our back wheels on the road before rejoining the road in Champlas.  I photographed this beautiful ruin without realising there's a much older fort in the trees behind - only visible on google maps - or possibly, if we'd stopped to read the literature of the place.

Champlas Seguin
Over the border into France and we were waved through by officials without a second glance at our whimpering "bonjours".  By the time we arrived in Cesana Torinesse, everyone agreed that a short day was in order.  We popped into the tourist information to find out if there was a shop open to which the assistant responded, "Non, c'est tout ferme".  Fine.

We had a chat with the dutch guys and Sergio then left them to talk to JJ as we set off to finish our day with a little Munro-sized climb back up to Montgenevre at 1836m.  Then it was time to head downhill again to Briancon and head in search of both icecream and campsite maps.

City life in Briancon
We met up with the Dutch in Briancon but then set about camping up and going for a swim in the campsite pool.  Finally we caught up with them later as we staggered in from a steak at a trendy restaurant in Briancon city.  Just a tiny element of civility in an otherwise filthy world.

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