A dream comes true – Gran Paradiso 2008

Wie steht es eigentlich um die Bikebergsteiger aus dem nicht deutschsprachigen Alpenraum? Die Zollgrenzen mögen abgebaut sein,  doch die Sprachbarrieren bleiben bestehen. Und so wissen wir leider viel zu wenig über die Bikebersteiger-Szenen andernorts.
Um so interessanter ist es, wenn doch einmal aktuelle Neuigkeiten von den  ”Berg-Verrückten” unserer Nachbarn zu uns durchdringen. Wie z. B. von Victor Brumotti, welcher dieses Jahr den Monte Cevedale (3.769 m) erstbefuhr und im Frühjahr nächsten Jahres mit dem Bike den Mount Everest (8.848 m) bezwingen möchte!
Allerdings erreichen uns die meisten Geschichten überhaupt nicht und wenn dann nur durch einen glücklichen Zufall.  So wie bei Marco “Deju” De Giuseppe, welcher sich vor drei Jahren einen ganz besonderen Traum erfüllte, an dem er uns nun hier teilhaben lässt:

There are moments in life that will live with you wherever you’ll go, emotions so strong and intense that you cannot describe them simply by words.

I’ve always believed that a man is nothing without dreams. They are part of our life and keep us living, they fill our life of different colours and open our views far beyond that horizon we can see everyday through our window.

The idea to climb the Gran Paradiso Peak started some years ago while looking at some picture of this beautiful mountain. With its 4.061 m height,  the Gran Paradiso is the highest peak lying completely inside the Italian State.

I was attracted by the idea to ride it down from top to bottom, one full ride on the top of my bike.

I got the dream, all I had to do was to figure out how to realize it. Due to its height I would have had to ride on  glacier terrain, then rocky and finally a singletrack on the last part of the descent. I like to call it “mixed terrain”, taking the term directly from the alpine vocabulary.

And what about the training? I would have had to carry my bike on my shoulders for many hours to reach the top of the mountain. Not an easy climb this time.

I started to organize everything, I asked a friend of mine to join me with this crazy idea. And only among people that share your same passion you can find someone who understands you and my friend’s answer was positive.

We decided to fix the date for the 23th of August waiting for a full beautiful day which really came. Sun and warm weather, the best that Mother Nature could have done for us. We started from Pont, a little town that is the starting point for the normal route. We reached the refuge Vittorio Emanuele late in the morning, we had plenty of time. The view of the Ciarforon and Tresenta Peaks were simply amazing. The whole Gran Paradiso National Park is one of the most beautiful places of the world, you cannot stop looking around you.

As soon as we reached the hut we took some pictures of the place and we went out for some funny riding around it, finding some singletrack on a sandy terrain that gave us all the energy for the next day.

Wake up call at 4 a.m. in the morning…I’d have liked to sleep a bit more but the route is quite long. And since it is on a glacier you have to climb the mountain and return before the sun heats the surface, which increases the risk for collapsing snow bridges and makes the descent really dangerous.

Our feeling was really good, walking on a Glacier is a unique experience. There is silence all around, you can hear only your crampons on the icy surface and feel your breathing coming more and more deeply, trying to get more oxygen from the thin air. Due to the altitude it’s harder to breath, so you have to care about your speed, saving energy for the top.
Also the coldness of the early morning (-10°C) didn’t help us in our movements. But at a certain point the sun came out at the horizon. Its rays reached the mountain, warming the air around.

Moments like that are unique in life. We stopped, looking around all the peaks. We saw Monte Bianco, Monte Rosa, Monviso, Barre des Ecroins and many others 4.000 mt peaks. I could have spent my life there but I had a dream to realize, so we started moving to the top.

Looking back at the pictures I don’t remember all the moments of the day but sure I remember what I felt once I got to the summit. It’s such a strong feeling I cannot describe but I’m sure that everyone who has climbed a peak with his bike can understand it.

I turned back to my bike and on the top of it I looked down…the track was amazing, a complete mountain all for me. I mounted on my bike, put my feet on the pedals and released the brakes.
Riding free, that’s the only way to describe my emotions, my feeling of that moment.

 

The spikes of the tires had good grip on the ice and even on the most “vertical” part of the route I had a full control of the bike.
However, the glacier is a dangerous place, full of crevasses. So I had to look out for them and control the descent. A fall could have grave consequences.

My friend was behind and sometimes in front of me until we were side by side, riding that mountain together, sharing all the feelings and all the emotions of the ride.

Once we reached the rocky part of the route we had to change our tires. It took some minutes, so we could relax ourselves a bit before launching our bikes into the final part of the descent.

This part of the trail has been quite difficult because there was no track, so we had to ride the rocks trying to imagine the best way to go down. We used full suspension bikes and it helped us quite a lot to control the ride.

We reached the hut in the morning, just few minutes to change our pants and shirts and we started the last part of the trip. Epic riding, epic moments. It was a real singletrack, fast and clean, many curves inside an amazing forest.

We were really tired at the end of this dream but full of new memories and emotions.

I’ve had the view of the top of the mountain coming out in my mind for many days and even now while I’m writing these words I can remember it as it was yesterday.

But it is time to start dreaming once again and while I was looking at the sunrise I’ve noticed another peak, another project for the future. Monte Rosa, that will be my next dream.

Dream Big
Marco “Deju” De Giuseppe


Alle Fotos unterliegen dem Copyright Marco De Giuseppes.

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