76km Cesana Torinese to Baudenasca
We made the most of our luxury night in the hotel, sleeping in late, eating a huge breakfast (coffee, juice, croissants, bread, jam, nutella, museli, bananas and cherries) and taking two showers each. Then we practiced the art of dawdling as we packed up, waiting for the skies to clear. No such luck. The rain just kept on coming down so we decided to head out anyway and hope for better weather on the other side of the mountain. The hike up to the Colle di Sestriere at 2035m took us two hours but it wasn’t as tough as we’d expected, with even a flat stretch thrown in to help our muscles recover for the final slog to the top. We also took inspiration from the thought of the great Italian cyclist Fausto Coppi making his way up the same road, on the way to a win in the Giro d’Italia. We took a quick picture in front of the marker at the peak to prove our successful arrival and then began a 56km glide down to Pinerolo. Normally a downhill run that long would be great fun, but today it was rather hard work with no fantastic views to compensate for our efforts. The rain kept on falling, soaking our shoes, and the cool weather meant we put on all our winter gear – rather unexpected in June! We really had to concentrate on the twisty road to make sure our bikes didn’t slip from under us in the wet conditions. The Chisone river roaring down the hill beside us left us in no doubt about the amount of water around. Its sound was deafening. When we finally got to Pinerolo at the bottom of the mountain we were very glad to see blue skies appearing overhead. In fact, it felt like we were in a completely different world. Sunny and humid compared with wet and freezing at the peak. After a stop to stock up on groceries and a quick visit to the tourist bureau we carried on in search of a place to pitch our tent for the night. There aren’t many campgrounds around Pinerolo so we opted for a spot in a peach orchard in the rural area around the town.