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  1. #1
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    Italy: Barolo Ride report....

    After a nice week of riding in and around Bourg d’Oisans and catching a few TDF stages .(see: TDF Slideshow ride report), we headed over the Alps to that other great cycling country, Italy, for a week of camping and gastronomic indulgence. Destination: Barolo, known for its wine, white truffles and hazelnuts.

    When asked by people who did not have a firm grasp of Italian geography where it was that we were spending the second part of our vacation, we would typically answer "south of Turin" -- which, while technically correct, invariably elicited raised eyebrows and concerned admonishments to continue on to the coast since the plain south of Turin is known to be both extremely hot and humid during the summer months and exceedingly ugly. We replied that our guide book warned of the same but said to soldier on through the plain until the first hills of the Langhe (the region in which Barolo is nested) appear off to the east -- there, the guidebook assured us, rests a paradise of hill-top towns, truffle-bearing oak forests and terraced vineyards. About 70kms south of Turin, just as the guidebook stated -- and much to our relief, given our daughters’ increasingly strident queries of whether we were “there yet” -- the hills of the Langhe appeared to our left and in the next 1.5 weeks were to confirm and even surpass the superlative description in the Guide du Routard.

    We camped in a hazelnut orchard on a working farm that operated both a small campground (20 places in the orchard) and a B&B. The facilities were spotless, the surroundings charming, the owners delightful and the region outstanding. We took breakfast at the B&B every morning under a trellis overlooking the undulating vineyards and despite a grueling schedule of afternoon strolls, wine tastings, siestas, and hill-top village strolls, I was able to sneak in a few rides, the photographic record of one of which you will find below for your (possible) enjoyment.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Italy: Barolo Ride report....-cimg1239.jpg   Italy: Barolo Ride report....-cimg1296.jpg  

  2. #2
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    Rr #2

    First stop: La Morra which actually produces more Barolo wine than Barolo itself. Brick-lined streets, Baroque (w/ a capital B) church and stunning views over the Langhe.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Italy: Barolo Ride report....-cimg1255.jpg   Italy: Barolo Ride report....-cimg1254.jpg  

  3. #3
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    Rr #3

    A few views of Barolo as I work my way to Castelglione Falleto. In the last picture, you can see the next stop: Serralunga dAlba and its medieval castle.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Italy: Barolo Ride report....-cimg1212.jpg   Italy: Barolo Ride report....-cimg1286.jpg   Italy: Barolo Ride report....-cimg1282.jpg   Italy: Barolo Ride report....-cimg1276.jpg  

  4. #4
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    Rr #3

    Two shots of Serra Lunga, followed by two of Montforte dAlba. This painted house just on the outskirts of town is pretty typical of a lot of homes here
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Italy: Barolo Ride report....-cimg1317.jpg   Italy: Barolo Ride report....-cimg1320.jpg   Italy: Barolo Ride report....-cimg1330.jpg   Italy: Barolo Ride report....-cimg1313.jpg  

  5. #5
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    Rr #4

    Finally, I wind my back to home as the dusk gathers that night, we went out to the local trattoria and fueled up on some homemade pasta w/ sage and truffle washed down w/ some Barolo, of course!

    A+

    Philippe
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Italy: Barolo Ride report....-cimg1245.jpg   Italy: Barolo Ride report....-cimg1301.jpg   Italy: Barolo Ride report....-cimg1308.jpg  

  6. #6
    use the crosswind
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    What a great way to finish off your TdF/Barolo vacation!

    Quote Originally Posted by philippec
    Finally, I wind my back to home as the dusk gathers that night, we went out to the local trattoria and fueled up on some homemade pasta w/ sage and truffle washed down w/ some Barolo, of course!

    A+

    Philippe
    My wife and I visited this region last year and had a fantastic time. Arguably the best place to eat/drink Italian food/wine, it is also an absolutely beautiful area (as evidenced by your photos), filled with vineyards. In addition, it also has some great cycling routes, of which, unfortunately, on that trip I was not able to take advantage.

  7. #7
    cruisin
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    Incredible!

    Thank you Phillipe, the pics brought a tear to my eye...... ;)
    Got to get back over there.
    trackdays....because golf is for pussies

  8. #8
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    Cool Wow!

    Gorgeous! Thanks for the vicarious trip. I can taste the wine.

  9. #9
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    Shhhhh, Piemonte is supposed to be a secret.

  10. #10
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    aha... but the vacation was not over yet!

    We finished up w/ a week at some friends house near St. Tropez. I went on *one* bike ride and spent the rest of the time equalising my cyclist's tan. I'll post pics later (of the ride, not of the tanning!)

    A+

    Philippe

  11. #11
    pmf
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    Riding in Italy

    My wife and I did a tour with Andy Hampsten's group in Tuscany as part of our honeymoon in 2000. It was the best vacation I ever had. I'd love to go riding there again. Like one of the guides said -- if you're a surfer, you go to Maui, if you're a cyclist, you go to Tuscany.

  12. #12
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    Thank You.A few questions...

    ...did you use a mirror?Did you have a Camelback?Did you see any other riders and if so, did you wave? Seriously , the pictures are great.Thank you for the trip!
    Charismatic Icon Animal Man

  13. #13
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    no mirror....

    no mirror, no camelback and.... (drumroll)... no helmet! (forgot it back in Grenoble) = no excuse not to ride.

    I had a blast. The roads were lightly travelled and several roadside fountains were all I needed to fill up the waterbottle -- I especially liked the "Blue" fountain just outside of Murazzano. It is reported to have special healing virtues... I had to wait for two elderly women to fill up a few days worth of water before I could have a turn. The water was sweet, cold and I swear I rode better after I drank some! I saw a few riders and rode w/ one guy for a few kms. He was a fellow amateur racer and we spoke a little, me in my pidgin Italian and he in his broken french, of our mutual dislike of the many 18yr olds that seem to populate our racing category.

    A+

    Philippe

  14. #14
    "Talkin part's done boys"
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    Talking That tears it!...

    I will go to Europe to ride.

    great pics & stories
    Thanks for sharing
    'the place was really jumpin to the high-watt amps, 'till a 20 inch cymbal fell and cut the lamps...

  15. #15
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    my backyard!

    Agree Phileppe, Langhe region is a fantastic place. I usually head for the area in the winter since I am located in Torino. All the hills there are good practice for the French Alps! :-)
    To me the place I fell for is Savoie. I did 5 consecutive weekends in France instead. I had a total blast. Last weekend I did 3 day giro around Monte Bianco, with the longest leg being in the France.

    Salute!

  16. #16
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    Savoie..

    Savoie is right up there on my list of favorites too -- although I've done a few too many races in the region for riding there not to be indissasociably linked to mental strain, the taste of blood in my mouth and searing lactic surges in my legs -- perhaps someday those memories will become attenuated...

    The tour du Mont Blanc is incredible -- if only there was another road in to Chamonix! Did you take the Nationale from les Houches to Chamonix or did you suck up and go over the pass via Vaudaigne?

    A+

    Philippe

  17. #17
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    stroke of luck

    I did the loop starting with Grande St Bernardo and finished with Piccolo St Bernardo (well, not really, I added ah-hoc Val Veny to the circuit upon arriving on Petit St Bernard), so I took the national form Argentiere into Chamoinix. By sheer stroke of luck, I rode into Chamonix towards 6-7pm Friday and finished up in Servoz around 8pm. Exiting Chamoinix there was a some clug up of cars other then that the streets were empty. On Saturday morning I started at 8:30 and rolled into La Fayet to get a breakfast at La Brasserie (sp?). In all I had minimal car presence on the roads. The shock came in Val Veny on Sunday where it seemed every Iatlian, French, Swiss, German, and British car wanted to get up that valley!!!

    By the way, what is your opinion of Italian drivers vs. French drivers in regards to respecting cyclist? I find riding in France much easier, drivers are extremely cortious in my opinion. In Italy people have a tendency to honk the horn sometimes to forewarned thier coming up from behind. :-)

    Ciao

  18. #18
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    my experience exactly...

    [QUOTE=ZvierBoy

    By the way, what is your opinion of Italian drivers vs. French drivers in regards to respecting cyclist? I find riding in France much easier, drivers are extremely cortious in my opinion. In Italy people have a tendency to honk the horn sometimes to forewarned thier coming up from behind. :-)

    Ciao[/QUOTE]

    But in Italy, the Italians honk like they breath ... so I don't take it personally. I assume in most cases it is a warning, in some cases an encouragement and very rarely in anger.

    A+

    Philippe

  19. #19
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    Thumbs up age of enlightement

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Chinaski
    Shhhhh, Piemonte is supposed to be a secret.
    doesn't happen too often that foreigners known the proper Italian region name, usually being familiar with the Piedemonte, well of course unless one has been there and learned that the firshand (like myself)
    :-)

    la vita e bella!

  20. #20
    $4000 bike - two bit legs
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    Your pictures are going to cost me a lot of $$

    My wife was looking over my shoulder while I read your post. Her only comments were..."I want to go" and "let's start planning". Then when I told her that you drove from your home in France, she said (tongue in cheek, of course)..."I hate him".

    Now to start planning a vacation to Italy...
    Paul in Northern Kentucky

    Across the mighty Ohio from Cincinnati:
    The Obesity Capital of the USA
    (Explains a lot of the intolerance about us riders, huh?)

  21. #21
    Go Blue
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    The Authorities in Paris are not going to like this.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulCL
    My wife was looking over my shoulder while I read your post. Her only comments were..."I want to go" and "let's start planning". Then when I told her that you drove from your home in France, she said (tongue in cheek, of course)..."I hate him".

    Now to start planning a vacation to Italy...
    For years I have speculated on this board that Philippe is a secret agent for the French Ministries of Tourism and/or Culture. After I saw these pictures, I, too, began thinking about a trip to Italy. The authorities in Paris are not going to be happy that Philippe is (inadvertently?) diverting our travel Dollars from France to Italy.
    I try to be perfectly civil, until someone really pisses me off.

  22. #22
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    aha!!

    but historically, the Piemonte has been part of France and/or the Savoie in several instances... so my mission remains untarnished!

    A+

    Philippe

  23. #23
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    incoming!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by philippec
    but historically, the Piemonte has been part of France and/or the Savoie in several instances... so my mission remains untarnished!

    A+

    Philippe
    I suspect you have verified prior to writing this statement that the board was not manned by the Italians... Somehow I have feeling that would disagree with that statement :-)
    saying they gave France Savoie as a gift for political reasons and etc, etc, etc.

    Ciao

  24. #24
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    Back in the day

    Quote Originally Posted by philippec
    but historically, the Piemonte has been part of France and/or the Savoie in several instances... so my mission remains untarnished!

    A+

    Philippe
    A picture of better days (at least for France) http://www.usc.edu/schools/annenberg...ages/634bg.jpg
    (Napoleon crossing the St. Bernard pass into Italy)

    Now, I hope that your homeboy Jacques C and you don't get any ideas . . .
    I try to be perfectly civil, until someone really pisses me off.

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