After two days of late starts, we realize there has been no suggestion of when we should actually set out on our rides each day. Today we’re beginning earlier, about 9 a.m. Outside it’s cloudy with no rain, but the thunder in the distance is unnerving. The route today looks to be the longest that we’ve taken so far. I’m itching to get back out there, the riding yesterday was so different from anything I’ve ever experienced on a mountain bike.

Everywhere we go we’re passing unnatural history–there are ruined castles and military infrastructure everywhere. It’s eerie to think about the things this region has experienced in the last couple millennia. Although without the world wars, many of the roads and trails we’re gushing over wouldn’t be here. Everyone’s digging into the Nutella and bread–hearty breakfast for hearty rides.

The descent into Fanghetto was 30 minutes of extremely fast cobblestone trail. It was wild. The original purpose of these trails is probably so far from how we used them."

Eventually, in the shadow of Mont Torrage, we found an overhang. Lunchtime. Joining us under the overhang was a group of sweatpant-clad, wine-drinking locals. They were underprepared for the weather, but I was jealous of their vino.

The cliffs tower above and below. We dropped almost 2,700 feet in no time at all. The trail was relentlessly steep; we were on the brakes forever. But the coffee in Fanghetto was getting closer by the minute.

Twelve hours in the very wet saddle, 4,100 feet of climbing, and 25 miles, but we weren’t finished yet. At the café, we received our next set of instructions.

As the sun disappeared we drop onto the dark passage. Unlike the other trails we have ridden this week, this trail is months old, not centuries. It has loam, lots of it. We are squinting to see where we are going for almost 20 minutes before riding into a creek bed. Fireflies are all around us, a million of them.

Tonight, we are going to camp on top of the mountain above Sospel. We’re going to light a campfire so we can hopefully dry out our shoes–I feel like I might be getting trench foot at this point.


The journey continues:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 4