statue mary on rocca della sella

Visiting Mary In The Clouds

Rocca Della Sella – Caprie, Piedmont


Whenever I go for a ride I always seem to have in my mind that I will go for a quick hour or two but when I finally find a hill to go and conquer, that road climb turns into a hike-a-bike and that hill turns into a mountain all too often and before I know it i’m exhausted, hungry and rushing to finish the ride before dark.

I set out to do a 2hr ride with around 600m climbing near Turin to get the legs spinning, I picked a hill and set off. I ended up riding for almost 4hrs30 and did about 1100m climbing, a lot of which turned out to be hike-a-bike.

rainy grey sky above small italian mountain village in piedmont
As I was driving there the rain got pretty heavy – motivation was low, when I arrived the rain had stopped – motivation was high, not long after I set off the rain started again – motivation was average
shed built under a rock cliff
The atmosphere was quite spooky with the cloud and little contraptions such as this one
carpet of leaves on trail in piedmont italy in winter
The first section of trail heading up the hill once I came off the road. Was built dug down into the gulley and had filled with a carpet of leaves! I was looking forward to riding back down through this!
mondraker foxy xr in the mist in piedmont
A little higher and I was into the clouds properly. I couldn’t see far ahead and the climb seemed like it lasted forever! On my map it looked like the climb to the top from the end of the road was about 3-400m but it turned out to be about 550m, the fact that I couldn’t see far ahead made it worse as I had nothing to aim for, just to keep climbing. literally climbing, it was a proper hike-a-bike, this was one of the few sections that was rideable
grey clouds from rocca sella towards turin
When I first arrived at the top the cloud was thick and I couldn’t see much but as I hung around it moved and cleared and you could see the towns down below
high peaks of piedmont covered in snow and cloud
…and some big 2000m+ peaks in the other direction
snow and clouds over piedmont mountains rocca della sella
Clouds opened up and closed down views as they passed over the mountians
mondraker foxy xr on technical trail in piedmont
The descent turned out to be super slippery and resulted in a very tentative ride down after several falls at the top. The top section was covered in snow then the type of rock lower down was super slippery in the wet meaning many shapes were thrown attempting to control the bike and stay upright
old stone agricultural buildings on trail in piedmont caprie
The trails lower down the hill were littered in old settlements or buildings which I guessed must have been left over from an agricultural past
cobbled or paved trails in susa valley piedmont
All of the trails in the bottom half of the hill were built like this, carved out through the rocky terrain and covered in cobbles with little walls down the sides, ever now and then I would ride past an old abandoned building or two as the trail snaked its way down the hill. It felt like these paths had had a lot of work put into building them and had probably been here for years and years
Thing is ... they were like riding on ice! A slight covered of moisture and they were incredibly slippery which resulted in a lot of foot out!
Thing is … they were like riding on ice! A slight covering of moisture and they were incredibly slippery which resulted in a lot of foot out!

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