Dual Wed 29 August 2018

CHALLENGE BEYOD PASSION: HARDITAROAD

My mobile phone rings; it’s my friend Elio, the craziest friend I have who, concise as usual, says: “Harditaroad, you, Pietro and I, let’s go!” “What is it?” I answer and him: “Look it up on the web. Talk to you, bye”.
As soon as I check it out I’m up for it, so I tell my fiancée Laura who asks. “I’m coming too, right?”
I never even thought about it: Trento-Trieste in 36 hours, day and night non-stop, 850 km, 40% paved and 60% dirt, two on a motorcycle! We look at each other and say: “Are we crazy or can it be done?”
We contact Maurizio, the organizer of the event explaining our idea.
Shocked, he calmly replies: “You are crazy! No one ever did it two up, it’s a long way, especially the dirt trail part. Laura! Are you sure you don’t have anything better to do, like shopping for example? I’ll convince Alberto to give you his credit card.”
He couldn’t have said something worst or better to Laura, the preparation for the big challenge is on!!!
We find the right motorcycle on the internet, it looks nice, we call and three hours later we are in Udine to buy it. The original seat is too short, we need a passenger seat, so we take the yankee of the Vespa and shorten it; we then install it together with an additional night light, GPS and tank bag. We buy Laura a pair of motorcycle boots and we borrow the rest of the riding gear from my brother Lorenzo.
We are ready for the test, back and forth from the plateau of Asiago for a whole day. The hardest thing for Laura is to move with me, standing and sitting when I do, leg dampening all jumps so as not to lose foothold on the pegs.
It’s hard, she says, I need to practice!   
For 45 days straight, two hours a day she exercises legs, back, arms, shoulders, especially the shoulder that had surgery 4 months earlier and that hasn’t healed yet.
Friday, July 27th, it-s finally time to leave, but my friend Elio isn’t coming for unforeseen work problems.
After we load the bikes on the trailer our dear friend Gianluca drives us to Trento; he’ll also come at get us in Trieste when we arrive on Sunday 29th.
At the meeting point we are briefed on the event: groups of three motorcycles will leave every three minutes; our group includes us, Marco – a new friend we met here, and Pietro, a long-standing friend.
Saturday at 7am we are ready at the start for the picture with Marco, Pietro and the great Franco Picco, who needs no introduction.
The challenge is on!

We find the right motorcycle on the internet, it looks nice, we call and three hours later we are in Udine to buy it. The original seat is too short, we need a passenger seat, so we take the yankee of the Vespa and shorten it; we then install it together with an additional night light, GPS and tank bag. We buy Laura a pair of motorcycle boots and we borrow the rest of the riding gear from my brother Lorenzo.
We are ready for the test, back and forth from the plateau of Asiago for a whole day. The hardest thing for Laura is to move with me, standing and sitting when I do, leg dampening all jumps so as not to lose foothold on the pegs.
It’s hard, she says, I need to practice!   
For 45 days straight, two hours a day she exercises legs, back, arms, shoulders, especially the shoulder that had surgery 4 months earlier and that hasn’t healed yet.
Friday, July 27th, it-s finally time to leave, but my friend Elio isn’t coming for unforeseen work problems.
After we load the bikes on the trailer our dear friend Gianluca drives us to Trento; he’ll also come at get us in Trieste when we arrive on Sunday 29th.
At the meeting point we are briefed on the event: groups of three motorcycles will leave every three minutes; our group includes us, Marco – a new friend we met here, and Pietro, a long-standing friend.
Saturday at 7am we are ready at the start for the picture with Marco, Pietro and the great Franco Picco, who needs no introduction.
The challenge is on!

The first roundabouts are a nightmare, at least 6 exits each and I get three in a row wrong, after a few km we enter the woods and start climbing, the landscape changes, alternating pavement and dirt roads. The first obstacle is a tree trunk right in the middle of the road that the rangers are trying to move; after a few minutes we are told to take a side road up the mountain; the GPS often loses the signal in the woods and this causes us to go in the wrong direction more than once… but we aren’t the only ones!
At 9:15am we reach the CP1 (check-point 1) in Arsiero: we already feel like heroes, we are complimented and receive pats on the back, and the destination feels unachievable, but being on mountains so near and known to us encourages and gives us the strength to continue. We proceed for the plateau of Asiago along the Costo road, famous for being a racetrack for extreme riders, we take a side road before Trescheconca, south of Cesuna we head for Turcio and then turn right towards Sasso to reach Gallio heading for the Ortigara. Here the way becomes a bit harder, the bike pipe-bangs like a charm, but we agilely overcome any obstacle, until the GPS takes us to the rifugio “Adriana Marla Moline” for lunch at noon.
Proud of what we did ‘till now, our group sits at the table. Near us there are two other participants and we discover that one of them is 69 years old: we are happy to realize that we still have a long time to live our passion but on the other hand our self-esteem dissipates a bit. But he is Bruno Bibes, a long-standing Dakar rider, used to travel on sand with a 300kg bike (… and a new dream is borne, but this is another story …).
We regain our strength and continue for Enego, then for Monte Grappa. Arriving from the north the top is to our left at about 1 km, CP2 at 3.50 pm, but the track makes us take a turn to cover 30 km more on roads never seen, before reaching the top. It’s a pity the clouds are so low our friends can’t see the unique and spectacular landscape; more than once, on the clearest days, I was able to see, unaided, the Adriatic Sea.
We stop for a hot tea and then head east along the road that looks over the plain; we ride down to Pederobba, we cross the Piave river towards Valdobbiadene and then we climb to the PIanezze, always on unknown little roads. When we descend northbound it starts to rain, we look over Lentiai, Trichiana and Limana never descending until we reach CP3 Montegarda. The rain keeps coming harder, so we stop to wear our rain gear. A few km later while descending a dirt road, we cross a truck, that, to give us room, slides into a little ditch with two wheels; we stop to push it out and after various attempts we succeed. The driver thanks us and we are back on the road heading for Ponte delle Alpi, destination Longarone CP4, which we reach at 09.15 pm, little more than halfway, where dinner and our hotel under the stars, which just came out, are waiting. In truth, at half past midnight after a quick shower in the locker room of the soccer field, dinner, a brisk bike checkup and a nap on the guest team bench, the phone rings: it’s Pietro telling us it is time to go.
We wear our gear, hop on the bike and leave northbound. Pietro tells me to take the lead: we ride along the old state road for Pieve, Domegge and Santo Stefano di Cadore. Since the planned hard off-road trail is closed off due to the rain, the organization staff make us deviate; we continue alternating paved and dirt roads following the tracks without having any idea of where we are, until at 4 am we reach a rifugio in the middle of the mountains where a special breakfast made of fresh bread, butter, jam and a giant pie is awaiting us. 30-min break and we hit the road again.
It’s dawn, the landscape is breathtaking. At 6 am Pietro gets a flat rear tire. After helping him to fix it, we separate and continue, but we have no tracks since they have disappeared from the GPS. We descend the mountain and head directly for the Italian border, skipping the last part of the CP5, it’s now 7 am.
At 8 am we reach Uccea, our CP6. I luckily meet other participants who invite us to follow them for the last track in Slovenia that will end in Re di Puglia, where we will all meet to cover the last leg to the Unità d’Italia Square in Trieste, all together escorted by the police.

In 850 km we went through all the seasons, from warm to cold, from sun to clouds and rain, from the 190 m above sea level of Trento to the 1990 m indicated by the GPS on one of the many peaks we climbed, in Trieste directly on the sea; with bends and hairpin turns, on paved roads and even more on dirt roads, from morning to evening and, above all, in the night! A new experience: to ride off-road crossing rivers and narrow and steep passes, illuminated by the moon and our additional light that saved us more than once.
Laura and I have become as one, I hardly felt her hands on my waist when I stepped on the gas nor when I changed direction, she wasn’t afraid but was so nimble I felt no opposition to my maneuvers. She perfectly followed all my movements. It really takes a lot of patience, perseverance, strength but above all a great courage!
It has been an unforgettable experience for both and we will surely participate next year too.
Our thanks go to Maurizio and to the organization, to all the new friends we met that appreciated us, especially Marco and Pietro that guided, supported and put up with us during the 36 consecutive hours of this extraordinary and spectacular event.

Text: Alberto and Laura
Photos and video: Discovery Endual
Video equipment: Garmin VIRB Ultra 30