Beta Alp 4.0

A collection of information as it arises. There's not a lot out there!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Day 6 Into the Hills

Pramand is signed 21km east of Bardonecchia on the Susa road so the route is easy to find. A few km out of the village you're warned that the road is poor- proceed at your own risk. Here I met a Swiss rider (who'll refer to as CH as somehow I never got his name) on a loaded-up Tenere. We agreed to go to Pramand and possibly further.

The track is of good quality and afford excellent views of the Susa valley. CH kept up a good pace which on some of the stoney sections I found hard to maintain. At the fork for Pramand fort he wanted to go straight to Jafferau. OK, I wanted to go there but would have liked to do the short detour to Pramand too. CH assured me that he'd done the route 5 or 6 years earlier with his wife on the back of his TT, so it can't be too bad. The track was all fail sound dirt track typical of the region but there is the famous tunnel which was having some maintenance work done on it. It's a new experience to be riding on wet stone in a dark tunnel - at least it's well surfaced. The tunnel has a pool at the west end which is apparently always there; it was only a few inches deep.

The track crosses a col on the ridge at around 2000m and continues along the ridge fro where the fort can be seen on the peak.

Some of the last 800m ascent is cobbled and shook the limited suspension of the Alp. The final 200m was quite narrow and a little exposed on the ridge. I took the odd dab for my own peace of mind but really the track was sound.

The summit afforded excellent views of the Susa valley and Bardonecchia.

We discussed our route into Italy and the various motorbikes we'd ridden and owned. Turns out that he'd only had 1 KTM - that was in the Dakar in the early 1980s. His favorite bike is a rebuilt Yamaha TT600 which he uses for 300km enduro events in Germany and has taken twice to Africa. Are you getting the picture of why he rides his Tenere with confidence?

We both preferred the idea of a circular route so on the advice of an Italian who'd ridden up on his step-thru we went to Fort Foels. By this time the track was gettig quite busy and we didn't fancy meeting a 4x4 in the tunnel. CH's luggage had vibrated loose so while he mended that I watched the traffic. Our vantage point gave an excellent view of the track leading into the tunnel/galleria.

Naturally on the descent I met a 4x4 which had stopped on a hairpin to let us pass. Being far too over cautious I dropped the Alp and broke a mirror mount. Why hadn't I removed them?

One descent from Foels is officially closed but another is open, so said some locals on trials bikes. But yes, the open track was small, passable with care. After a few km it became 18 inches wide across an exposed scree slope. I'd have been anxious to ride across. Luckily CH stopped and said it was too dangerous - we needed "the chicken's way". I agreed, I was a chicken. Yes, him too, he never does drop offs above 2.5m when he is doing downhill MTB competitions. Why can I never find anyone more incompetent or timid than me to ride with? Perhaps there isn't such a person or perhaps they don't ride 1800km to an European rally?

So we turned the bikes, which wasn't that easy, and took the closed route. The sign had been previously demolished and only applied for a km or so. I took these hairpins too carefully too I'm sure.

At the base we said our goodbyes and I headed into Bardonecchia where I met up with some other riders from the UK. Some of them had done the Stella Alpina 27 times, in a few cases on the same machine every time.

Here's a link to a video that shows some big KTMs doing the route in reverse. They come up the narrow route - it looks far wider in the video of 2006 than I felt it was in 2007.

During the saturday afternoon many machines appeared in the town. Naturally there were plentiful BMWs and KTMs but there was the occasional oddity.

81km of which 50km was on the dirt


Post a Comment

<< Home