Matto: a crazy tour for crazy people

Landscape
Fun
Fisical strenght
Tecnical difficulty
Average

Among many tours I read in the Monviso and Cuneo areas, this captures my attention with the promise of an epic adventure.
The guys at Cicloalpinismo.com are talking about how such challenge will evidence the character of a biker and his legs, something that will change forever yourself and so I declaire to Sergio that this should be the tour of our vacation.
We decide to break the bike tour in two days, the total ascent is 2200m, maybe we would have been less epic but certainly happier.

We leave from Sant’Anna di Valdieri and biking a pleasant asphalt for about 8km, arriving in Valdieri Terme. The road to the Valasco Rifugio is nothing more than a dirt road that rises, it becomes more and more hard and insidious. Fortunately, it is not long and after 5km of balance on the stones, we can refresh ourselves at the shelter with excellent beer and food. The rest of the afternoon we are going to relax on this beautiful plain, just below the mountains that will be waiting for us tomorrow. Everything looks too good, at the end the 800m today have been easy and Sergio complains that he could not do more, today he is beleavig to be epic”.

We awaken loads and rest to face the best of the tour, today is a clear blue day and at 8:30 we are in the saddle. The road we bike is a military inside Valscura , it’s kept very well, but the continual landslides certainly do not make it smooth. We proceed slowly because the road has sloping slopes on stony stones, which does not help, until we reach the lower lake of Valscura . We know that here ends the easiest part of the ride.

We take the path that rises to the right toward Valrossa and leaving every hope of pedaling. We start a comfortable pushin-bike with a bike on a side.
After some zigzags we arrive on a plate that continues pedalable. The view is magnificent: Valrossa on the left and Monte Matto on the right. Like a mermaids who sing of fantastic adventures, we follow the path hypnotized by the landscape. The road starts to go down decisively, with many curves, Sergio is happy as a baby with his nosepress … I think about how much of ascent is lost.

Arriving at a mountain pond, the road begins to climb slightly and continues pedaling, dizziness and leg allowing, getting more and more in the valley, with the cradle to make us a guard. We arrive shortly in the lower lakes of Valrossa , where we find two guys just got off the Paur . They ask us curious where we go, seems we are indicating the same point they came from. Of course the name “Paur” from them just pronounced (and of which I had no memory) is all a program and along with the Crazy, they start to waver my conviction of being in the right place. We continue pushing the bikes on the back, knowing that the toughest part of the ride is just before and think back to the amused eyes of the two guys. To us the spectacle of the valley is gorgeous, fire rocks that swallow us: on the one side Fortress of Paur with whitewashed shades and on the other the Black and silver Mat on the blue sky.

Leaving the lakes of Valrossa the portage is compulsory, but is short as well as tiring, it becomes a balancing exercise. We begin to jump from one rock to another, trying not to give a nasty bang to the butt, we realize that to get to the top of the hill we have to climb an old landslide that has left huge boulders on the ground. It’s like walking on the rocks, but this time uphill and with the bike on the shoulder. The trail becomes a series of marked rocks and head down in precarious equilibrium, as we get closer to the hill, the rocks diminish to become an insidious and steep brecciolino, where at every step risks to slip badly. I admit a portage so we never did. We do 270m in an hour and a half and when we get to the top we are destroyed and tried, for the accumulated tension.
We’re at the top (14:00), the panorama is amazing, an endless array of mountains form the horizon with the Monviso as a king os the skyline.

We take a reas and after a shor sandweech we wear downhill protection.

Nothing is easy here, from the hill of Paur you have to go down at least 100m still pushing or carryng the bike on the soulders, get off from here is even more unpleasant than to climb. The landslide of jaiant stones magically leave the place to a path, probably another military road, now almost disappeared that goes down at least for Sergio skills. The path is never easy, the descent is technical with many tight bends, loose rocks and inconsistent parts and at the limit of practicability. I walk very often, Sergio tries daring maneuvers. The view is beautiful and we pass a series of mountain lakes in cobalt blue colors. Every now and then you climb up a hill pushing the bike and go back down, climb up and down again to the Soprano lake. We see in the distance the Refuge Livio Bianco but it seems very far.

The descent continues inexorably never too steep, but always many part are moved and collapsed, does not give you a rest. We are looking for cuts on big stones where you can enjoy a safe grip for a few seconds, but in the end you have to go back to the path. I lose the rhythm or never took one, Sergio looks like an icebreaker in the middle of big icebergs.
We arrive at the Rifugio Livio Bianco at 5:30 pm in the afternoon after 9 hours of cycling. We eat something and prepare to face another 1000m of descent, with many doubts.

Fortunately, the last part is totally different, the road is more flowing, many rocks and bends, but you can see that it is crossed by people on foot and the conditions are better, finally I’m not forced to put my foot on the ground continuously and I find my rhythm, we have fun and relax, let’s run fast in the middle of a myriad of chamois that come out on the sunset. In less than an hour we finish the last 1000m with a path that comes right to the car.
We are tired dead, totally blended by the stones found that have never abandoned for a second, but also full of landscapes, emotions and happy to have completed the tour … really a crazy ride to do at least once, well aware of what awaits you.

This tour is not a joke and I think that splitting n two days was a very wise thing, enjoi.

Total distance: 42.77 km
Max elevation: 2890 m
Min elevation: 920 m
Total climbing: 2275 m
Total descent: -2157 m
Total Time: 08:28:52
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