From Zero to Capanna Margherita - a new record (14h 18m 21s) by Nico Valsesia

Published on 04/09/20

In the previous weeks I had been on Monte Rosa with the mountain bike champion Marzio Deho and with Mattia Torraco, my dear friend. During the day we had climbed from Alagna Zumstein, Margherita, Parrot, Balmehorn, Corno Nero, Cristo delle Vette and Piramide Vincent. It felt very good to imagine trying to lower Marino Giacometti's time, but I wasn't sure at all. After all, his time of 16 hours and 30 minutes to go, by bike and running, from the beach of Genoa Voltri to the Capanna Margherita, passing through Alagna Valsesia, had held up for over twenty years. Twenty-eight to be precise. This summer two or three had already tried to break the record, but no one had succeeded. We might as well try.

 We organized everything in a few days, so we left. My son Felipe went up to Gnifetti with Mattia, to wait for my passage. It is always nice to be able to share these experiences with them.

Initially I had imagined leaving Genoa around 8 pm on 9th August then, given the temperatures at high altitude, I preferred to anticipate the departure by two hours. Better to sweat on the bike than to get to altitude with temperatures that are too high and not be able to run easily.

 I must say that the start of the time trial was a liberation, I was finally able to leave the Voltri beach behind me. All that dirt and rubbish scattered all over the sand left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Throughout the pedaling I tried to always be constant, without ever stopping to push on the pedals. I practically never stopped, managing to keep an average of about 30 kilometers per hour up to a few kilometers from Alagna. There the slope increases and consequently the pace drops slightly, especially after all those kilometers. However, I managed to reach the square after 7 hours and 30 minutes of pedaling.

Leaving the bike I took a twenty minute break, Marzio and Diego (who had already been with me on the Rosa in April 2018 when I made the Genoa-Gressoney-Capanna Margherita record. That time I used the bike and the skis, taking 14 hours and 30 minutes from the sea to the top) they prepared me something hot to eat, then I took poles and shoes and we left for the Gnifetti hut. Here I checked the weather noticing that I was on time with my forecasts. A quick greeting to my son then, linked to Mattia, I continued towards the top. I was expecting more wind, instead just so much cold. I don't know if I've ever felt it so strong, probably due to fatigue. A tiredness almost disappeared at the sight of the hut. When I reached it, the clock showed 14 hours, 18 minutes and 21 seconds.

 It has been at least a couple of years that I have not felt so fit, also thanks to the team that supported me in every moment of the project. It was a unique experience, a journey in some ways.


GRIVEL products used

Mountain Runner 20 Backpack

Mistral harness

RAN Light small crampons