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There is a very good reason people use guidebooks and recommendations to choose their routes.

We used a map instead. As a result we are likely not only the first to navigate our way to Monteviasco by bike, but also likely the last. This little town high on the hillside on the Italian side of the border is pretty large on the map and full of tourists on this day, the Italian national holiday. We thought we would find a nice road down from here to give us a break from the incredibly steep and brushy terrain we spent the last hours shoving and dragging our bikes through. But it turns out everyone arrived by gondola lift. This is the first village of such a size – big enough to hold a full-sized church – that I've seen without a road for access.

So we're not badly off. It is lovely and sunny up here, and Dale will take the bikes down by lift while I walk. He's had enough of bikewhacking fun for a day, or more likely for a lifetime. Pushing bikes over rocks like the ones in the video is rough enough. But for the full experience of being where bikes have no right to be, there's nothing like brush. That's why I call it bikewhacking: it's a play on "bushwhacking" only very much worse. We chose a trail on a map, but the map says nothing about what a trail is really like. For that you need to be there, or seek someone else's advice. We chose the former. Bad choice!

But this afternoon we will cruise roads back to the border, and all will be well.

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