The Torino-Nice Rally isn’t really just a race, but more of an adventure with friends. It takes in 700km across old military mountain passes and historic trade routes from the western Italian Alps down to southern coastal France. Last year, Bombtrack ambassador Joachim Rosenlund rode the rally on a steel Hook EXT for some picturesque, unsupported bikepacking. With Europe’s highest mountains as a backdrop, Joachim couldn’t soak up enough and is signed up to do it again this year. Get a closer look at the bike setup that got him over the Alps, plus a really beautiful taste of the scenic nature of the trail.
The Norwegian rider took 4 1/2 days to complete the more than 18000m of climbing and more than 700km with about half on gravel roads.
Joachim gave us a recap of the ride last fall, and talked about how surprisingly technically difficult some of the sections were. Calling them gravel roads was sometimes a stretch, as segments of the route were more big loose rock than what he expected for gravel, and required several hike-a-bikes. He said he suffered of some of the many extended climbs, especially mentally, but being so isolated in the beautiful nature and many national parks kept him going.
The bike he rode is Bombtrack’s Hook EXT, a fat plus-sized double-butted steel gravel touring bike that takes advantage of 650B mountain bike tires to get the float to handle the roughest tracks imaginable. It essentially is just a modern fat tire gravel road bike, something of the recent trend to build a mini monstercross for off-road adventure touring, with 2.2″ tire clearance and the ability to run a double chainring.
Joachim’s Hook EXT was decked out in Apidura bikepacking bags to haul his gear. Out back he their fully waterproof rubberized Saddle Pack Dry, matched to a Handlebar Pack Dry up front. Then add on the lighter weight fabric for the Mountain Frame Pack inside the main triangle, the front Accessory Pocket, and a Top Tube Pack. All it he gets a max of about 39 liters of storage strapped securely to the bike, plus two full sized bottles.
Long, sketchy alpine descents. What better on-the-bike meditation could you ask for?!
Joachim plans to return in 2017, but will probably take more like 10 days so he can ride less each day, stay in some high mountain lodges along the way, and just take the time to enjoy the mountains even more.