Video: Tito Tomasi's Summer Solstice Alpine Bikepacking Adventure

Jun 28, 2018
by Tito Tomasi  
Views: 3,021    Faves: 17    Comments: 0

Wild crossing to celebrate the longest day of the year.

Summer Solstice is awesome have fun
Summer Solstice is awesome! have fun

I have always had a special relationship with the solstice, I see the rhythm of the sun and the dance of the seasons. Summer coming is a sign of the biggest adventures, the exploration, the good time and the hard one. When comes the longest day of the year I like to go on a special trip and sleeping outside to see the shortest night of the year, enjoy the changes of light and ride a lot on the first day of summer.

Epic traverse
Epic traverse

This year, I've chosen a subrange of the Alps, near Grenoble and Chambery. I knew this range and always loved the atmosphere. Chartreuse range is well known for the population of monks who have been living in the mountains for 1000 years, building their massive monasteries, praying and making the sickest liquor!

The place is strong in history and energy. The population have been building trails all around for centuries, using it for their animals and for farming. The very mountainous range remains wild and beautiful, offering a hard terrain for mountain biking. But a few years back I worked on the itinerary with my friend Antoine from Grenoble, putting this route on the paper. I was waiting for a good opportunity to go and cross the range.

Thursday morning, after my breakfast the sleeping bag is on my handlebar and my bag is loaded with food, time to go. I leave my cousin's house and start my ride, a huge climb is waiting for me, with a long road to the first pass. I finally reach the trails pretty fast, riding the bike with some extra weight always feels strange at the beginning but after a little while I feel good and have a blast. I make a few passes and found some sick mud in the area! Deep in the woods the dirt is holding moisture and makes it tough to ride on flat parts.

After the fourth pass I enter the area of Dent de Crolles, which is one of the most iconic summits of the range, I climb right in front, enjoying the view. Trails are fun and the hikers are stoked with me. I'm having a good time and from the altitude, I can check the rest of my route.

Down in the valley, I take a long break to avoid the hottest hours of the day, eat and rest by the river. My last climb of the day is a tough one, going from the village to 2000 meters above sea level! 1200 meters on dirt roads and then hike a bike. Tough sections, impressive views, long climbs, … this last part of the day doesn't disappoint. Finally getting to the summit wasn't really the end of the effort! The trail that goes down is tough and exposed, I have to walk and take care. But at a small pass, I can spot a mountain house and some welcoming flats, hoping for water and rest.

Alpine jungle
Bike packing is awesome and Chamant Som a beautiful peak
Alpine jungle and bike packing at its best! With Chamant Som peak in the visor!

Near Chamechaude summit
Nice trail under Chamechaude summit.

Typical Chartreuse village architecture. Saint Pierre en Chartreuse.
Typical Chartreuse village architecture. Saint Pierre en Chartreuse.

The spot for the sunset is beautiful and silent. Nobody there except birds and wild goats. I prepare my stuff and eat my quinoa. The night comes slowly and I fell asleep fast, waking in the night I see a sea of clouds covering the mountains and entire landscape! The wave is huge and impressive.

In the morning I'm in the clouds and the atmosphere is different, but I loved it. Riding in the mystical forest, where we can't see the top of the tallest tree just like they disappear in the sky.

The ride of the day was way shorter but with some serious climbing, also some of the downhills where steep and technical, hard. Riding a long and tough ridge I finally reach the last pass above Chambery where I start on the last and fast downhill. Awesome! My friend Antoine was right in his advice.

Eventually, I found a bus heading back to Grenoble. As the bus drives through the vineyard, rocking me gently I fell asleep and wake up after missing the stop for my van. After jumping off the bus I need to pedal another 40 minutes in the heat to finally get back to my van and drive home!

This was a sick ride, I feel happy to finally made that crossing and blessed to have those opportunities to explore and express myself.

Vive la Vie!

In the Grand Som summit the sun is still high.
In the Grand Som summit, the sun is still high.

One of the many fountain in the range perfect
One of the many fountain in the range, perfect!

the traverse under the summit.
The traverse under the summit.

Jumping into solstice ride
Jumping into solstice ride!

simple life
Simple life

MENTIONS: @mavic @RockyMountainBicycles @foxracingshox @julbo

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Author Info:
TitoTomasi avatar

Member since Aug 31, 2011
59 articles

  • 6 0
 Wow, very impressive!
maybe someday I will be able to do something like this..........Wink
  • 1 0
 Bravo Tito, always amazed by your adventures
  • 2 0
 Nicely done
  • 1 0
 Looks really fun. Next summer, this is my general goal! (Alps)
  • 1 0
 Tito’s adventures are always the best!
  • 1 0
 Bravo Tito!!!
  • 1 0
 Trop Malade!
  • 1 0
 Would love to do this!

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