Tito Tomasi has Adventure in the Alps Down to an Art Form

Jul 25, 2017
by Tito Tomasi  

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps
Adventure in the Alps
Words, photos, & video by Tito Tomasi
What a feeling to be in the Dolomites. Humbling!

This was a hell of a good time on my bike.

• 4 countries, 1650 kilometers and 58800 meters of elevation in 21 days
• 50+ mountain passes
• 1 flat tire, 1 back tire, 1 pair of brake pads
• 1 dead iPhone, 1 dead GoPro

Views: 2,750    Faves: 21    Comments: 1

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps
Not much gear here. 6 kilos max in the pack, not including the food for the day.

In 2012 I crossed the French Alps on the famous GR5 trail, but then I started thinking about going to Slovenia and finishing the job: I wanted to cross the Alps from beginning to end. I've been planning my trip since last year, aiming for some time in the summer.

Preparation was centred on three points:

• Get the bike setup right. My Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt was perfect with a 140mm fork, it makes the bike a bit more capable in the rough terrain.
• Get the logistics dialled. Having everything I'd need: parts, extra kit, and new shoes... I needed to prepare the itinerary and a backup, so I bought a GPS and loaded the route on my phone too.
• Get ready. I know myself well and my weakness is that I ride too much, so sometimes I can overtrain and be fatigued. I didn't ride in January and March, but in April and May I rode a lot, doing long and technical rides (about 30,000 meters or 90,0000 feet of elevation per month). June was more normal to relax.

June 27 I'm on a plane wearing my bike kit and riding shoes. I landed in the afternoon, got my bike box, unpacked it, and started my ride. Straight to the mountains, I was feeling free and so happy to start a new adventure.

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps


After just one hour of riding the rain came, but I wasn't feeling bad about it. This was the start and I was making the most of this new trip. The landscape was beautiful, with small mountains, deep forests, and castles everywhere. I left the Ljubljana area and quickly started to cross remote and mountainous zones. I loved the rough trail and the nice villages.

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps
Solvenian via ferrata!

But the rain didn't stop. I rode the first three days in the rain. I lost my phone and camera in a big thunderstorm, possibly due to a close call with some lightning? Well, Slovenia was a short, beautiful, and intense.

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps
Flow trails in Italy!


I entered Italy on the trails through a beautiful canyon on a centuries-old path. It was rough, but the sun came out and I passed Venzone with a blue sky. The itinerary brought me to Sauris Lake area, where the riding was as good as the food! Awesome riding to enter the Dolomites. I was so happy to enter the famous region, taking in the iconic mountains was humbling. Eventually I crossed the Alta Badia area before entering the Sasso Patto small range. Here the landscape was unique, with green meadows and deep forests dominated by white and massive peaks. This was the beginning of the South Tyrol region, a beautiful place where I was happy to find so many good trails.

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps
Sasso Patto area is definitely a must visit!

I bought a new camera in Moreno and took the road to the famous Stelvio pass. It was a long long day on a bike lane with a big pass at the end, so I took the detour to find the balcony trail—unfortunately I was out of luck, the trail was destroyed in a land slide years ago. On my way back to the road, I had a stupid crash and cut my calf quite deep, and I had to ride 18 kilometres to get to the hospital. A few stitches later I was back on the bike and climbing the road. The descent from Stelvio pass was incredible, riding this carved trail was impressive! I had a ton of fun, and after a few big passes I arrived in the Livigno area to ride a few smooth trails.

DCIM 102GOPRO G0114653.JPG
The Rhone's sources.


After the Livigno area, there is a 2694 meter pass where I entered Switzerland and the Uris canyon. After passing through the Saint Moritz valley and its beautiful lakes I entered another mountainous area, crossing two or three passes every day. I was on the trail for more than ten days, but still feeling pretty fresh, despite the rain, the efforts, and the camp nights. After Andermatt, I changed my route to admire the Rhône's glacier. The trails up there were sketchy and rocky, but the view was worth it!

DCIM 102GOPRO G0094499.JPG
Droping into Vals valley.

Just before entering the Grindelwald area, a deep valley with massive mountains, the storm came back and hammered me again. The landscape turned apocalyptic. Still, riding near the Eiger was an experience. The grades there are rough, with huge climbs (1100 meters each time!), steep descents, and incredible views of waterfalls, cliffs, and glaciers.

I finally entered the Valais region around the resort of Les Diablerets and was pretty happy about that because from there I knew the people spoke French! A beautiful zone, with awesome riding. I went through the region quite fast and reached the Tour du Mt Blanc shortly, which meant a fantastic ride with some of the best views in Europe! After Val Ferret, I entered Italy for a quick visit, where I knew a balcony trail that gives me a huge smile every time! I was so pumped to be so close to France and to realize I was actually crossing the Alps for good.

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps
Around the Mt Blanc. Means epic trails and breathtaking scenery.


When I passed Courmayeur and the Italian Mt Blanc, I crossed the Seigne's pass and entered France in Savoy. I had to stay high in the mountain and cover a large distance in the Beaufortin range, famous for its cheese but not for the alpine trails. It was the third time I was actually crossing the French Alps, so I knew about the options, the climbs, and the downhills. I made my way through Tarentaise Valley then Maurienne, finally arriving in Galibier range making a stop in Briancon right before starting the last part of the trip. Entering the Queyras, I arrived in the southern Alps, with beautiful landscapes, warm and dry weather, and most importantly, awesome trails! I posted on the Izoard side and remembered the ton of fun I had on the balcony trails following the valley. I posted the different and classic cool of the Queyras while entering the Ubaye region. I saw the landscape changing again when I got into Verdon valley, with high alpine trails, massive mountains, different vegetation and the Mercantour National Park very near. I love this place and always have a good time there! The closer I was getting to the sea, the dryer it was, with rocky trails and warm weather.

The riding in the region of Nice is just mind blowing. The twentieth day was the longest and most physical one, with almost 4000 meters of climbing in one day. I camped near Valberg for that very last night, and my dad joined me for the company. It was a good time, and emotional also as I was getting to the end of the trip. I was ready to finish with it, and close this chapter of my life after planning it for so long. This feeling of achievement is always strong, and gave me so much energy for the last day. I needed it—this last day was hard and hot, and especially because I choose to climb one last mountain. This mountain is also the mountain where I first learned about big mountain biking, twenty years ago.

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps
Queyras region delivers the good time. Always.

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps
Riding my childhood trails.

I rode the last mountain, crossed the river, and followed the Var river to the sea. Riding the bike lane, I was reflecting on my trip, from where I started three weeks ago. I ended on the beach, happy, shivering, and tired. My mom and one of my best friend were there to meet me.
I don't have many words about it. The moment was strong and represented why I do this, for the adventure, for the achievement, and for sharing.

This is my personal story that I hope will inspire you to take your bike and ride.
Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps
This is pure happiness and a little bit of fatigue...

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps
The trail and border to Italy.
Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps
High pass in Switzerland. What an atmosphere!
Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps

Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps
Always with my diary.
Tito s Adventure Crossing The Alps
Not always the time to draw...

MENTIONS: @TitoTomasi

Author Info:
TitoTomasi avatar

Member since Aug 31, 2011
58 articles

  • 15 0
 That looked big, impressive, inspiring and beautiful. I'd love to be able to do a quarter of your journey in the Andes, big kudos!! Si tu as envie de faire un tour des volcans patagons entre décembre et mars fais-moi signe!
  • 13 1
 Great achievement and what a journey!!
  • 12 1
 So BIG Tito!! Your reportage are the more beatiful part of mountainbiking!
  • 5 0
 Thank you so much!!
  • 5 0
 Holy Crap!!!

I don't know if I'd get anywhere on that ride cause I'd be looking at all the cliffs and spires all the time (hence the problem with being a biker and a climber).

Nice work! and good English translation. Wink
  • 8 1
 well done man , certainly inspired me !!
  • 7 1
 Looks like you've really got this down to a science! Super impressive results!
  • 3 0
 Epic achievement. Average 80km/day, average 2800m climbing per day... when you factor in slow parts of the route like that via ferrata, that's impressive.

One thing that I don't get about these long adventure rides is how to keep the GPS alive - lots of batteries, or is he using one of those solar chargers? Anyone know? Been toying with one of these rides (scaled down!) but this always seems like a sticking point to me.
  • 1 0
 It certainly is an incredible and inspiring achievement. As for the GPS and camera batteries, I had wondered about that, and have two possible solutions. You could run a small solar panel on the top of your pack and trickle charge that way. Or, you could build up a new front wheel around a dynamometer hub. Several companies make these, including Shimano, SRAM, and Supernova. These usually pair up with a bar-mounted USB port, and would be the best option as they will produce regardless of the weather.
  • 7 1
 Great article and biking. Thanks!
  • 6 0
 Love your travels Tito... always inspiring
  • 5 0
 Excellent my friend, congratulations! What a great adventure! Keep living life to the fullest and thanks for sharing. Cheers
  • 5 0
 Wonderful Tito. Put up the gearlist and packing. It was impressive how light you went
  • 11 0
 here is what I rode on my fb:
So here is a post about the gear and organization for a light bikepacking trip. I talk about rough trail with rocks, hike a bike and hard conditions.
The bike is a Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 120 mm at the rear and I installed a 140 mm fork to have more head angle and confort. I rode the Mavic XA pro carbon wheels, 650b with Mavic tires too, using the xl casing. Transmission is 30T oval front and 46-11 back, enough. The bike is about 12.4kg but I added the water, the tool, the tube and a little luggage for tools and batteries.
I installed the sleeping bag and the mattress on the handlebar.
In the bag (a Mavic 25L) i take a few tools like pump, strings and tape. The clothes: two bike tshirts, one short, two chamois, one hot coat, one light wind jacket, one goretex, four pair of summer socks, one dry socks, neck warmer and a pair of gloves. Than for the night I have a very small towel, underwear and a coton t-shirt.
I also take a diary, pens and watercolor kit, a knife, lighter, a camera and a gps.
I take the minimum for body care and a small emergency kit with the necessary pils for infection, stomach than I have strips and tape plus the minimum for patches.

In terms of organization, I like to stay free and so I love to have my gear to camp. No need for a tent because it's easy to find a shelter, but when it's ready I like to sleep in the refugios and try the local food.
I buy food in the village during the day and try to stay light, riding with care to prevent a mechanical.
Everyday i wash my clothes of the day so I stay clean and it's better for the other!

One of the most important dimension is the map reading experience, it's important to know how to read a map and find the trap to avoid. Like a steep section, rocky section and more problem. So it's important to spend some time on the map and understand it properly, than plan the itinerary and know the options. Mountain biking in the mountains is always about choices and options, finding the best trails and the best views.
So don't hesitate, take a map, get your helmet and have fun!
  • 3 0
 @TitoTomasi: Thanks Tito. I tell people about mapreading all the time but they never listen. Most just spend their noses buried in a GPS. Well done again
  • 3 0
 @leelau: It was the first time I was using a gps but maps are definitely the way to go. Except that the amont of map for this trip was +5kg! so I used app on my phone. and when my phone died with the lighning I was glad to have a gps as a back up!!!
  • 1 0
 @TitoTomasi: Thanks so much for sharing. We spoke shortly somewhere in Valberg in '15, after you'd done (if I recall correctly) a tour camping out in abandoned villages.

Can you share what bags you use? I once did a 4-day Tour de Mont Blanc and felt like a complete imbecile with my 32 l Osprey packed to the max.
  • 1 0
 @flappie: i use the mavic 25L
  • 6 1
 That looks epic. Im very jealous.
  • 5 1
 Ahh, that looks awesome! Any chance you'd share the GPS file of your trip? Smile
  • 10 0
 It's all on the website of my buddy Pascal www.integralpes.fr
  • 2 0
 Awesome Tito, keep up the great work!

I'm curious, have you done any adventure rides that took you through Greece?
  • 1 0
 Incredible! And so valuable that we keep inspiring fellow bikers to live the adventure and dream big. Congrats and many thanks Tito!!
  • 2 0
 This is definitely on my bucket list.
  • 2 0
 You're a machine. Thanks for sharing
  • 2 0
 Tito, you are always inspiring me! Thank you for sharing and keep it up!
  • 3 1
 I'm inspire :-)
  • 3 1
 Maybe some day,.........
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 Absolutely incredible. So jealous. Thanks for sharing!
  • 1 0
 Pretty much what these here mountain bikes were made for. Much respect!
  • 1 0
 Awesome photos, thanks for sharing
  • 1 0
 Epic! Awesome job. Thanks for sharing the adventure.
  • 1 1
 No comment...
Below threshold threads are hidden

Copyright © 2000 - 2023. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.048099
Mobile Version of Website