When you meet Carlo, you immediately get the impression that nothing is too wild for this guy. His preferred conditions for riding are cold and wet – long, chilly rides interspersed with food stops for a good local meal and wine, and a chance to warm up.
Read on to find out why ‘El Pillar’, as he is known online, prefers solo rides and why exploring his home turf never gets boring.
“I like to get lost and then find the right way again, I love that feeling of panic that comes at some point. My head is spinning, my heart rate is rising, I have to think fast, I am there, in the middle of the wilderness, in the silence, in the rain, in the sun, it might be very hot or freezing cold. All I need to do is keep moving and in the end, I always find the road again and start laughing at my previous panic.”
As you can imagine, when Carlo goes on a ride, there’s always a certain degree of adventure involved.
“Cycling is my absolute favorite mode of discovery. I still don’t know how to classify my explorations exactly, but I’m working on it… recently I heard the term Gravel Cross somewhere, maybe that’s a good way to put it.”
The man who describes himself as ambitious, generous, strong, and – wait for it – dangerous, prefers to ride solo when he finds the time to explore and get lost.
“I prefer solo explorations so I don’t have to be responsible for the well-being of others. I think there’s a big difference between solo exploring and group rides. I usually go exploring with one good friend whom I really connect with. We are in sync when it comes to adventures. We both have kids and a social life, so it’s not simple to find time to go on rides together. But we love riding when it’s raining outside …
… our families are at home in the warmth and we are out on the bikes!”
Originally from Vicenza, Carlo spent six years between Bologna and Milan but moved back to his hometown with his partner when their son was born. His favorite trail in the area is Sentiero Lumignano. The many obstacles on the route mean it’s not always a clear trail to follow, and sometimes you’ll have to hike-a-bike.
“It might be one of the best trails I’ve ever ridden. It’s a nice mix of everything you can find during a ride in the remote parts of our Berici Hills. There are some very technical parts, sometimes you’ll take a jump, it’s very wild. In the middle there’s a small river. I remember one winter after big rains it was impossible to cross it on the bike. It was really muddy for 1.5 miles (two kilometers). The most beautiful thing about this Highlight is seeing nature change across the four seasons. But beware, if you don’t like to push and hike your bike, this is not the right place for you.”
El Pillar also has a favorite loop he likes to ride when he can spare a couple of hours in the woods. The local hills, Colli Berici, with their vineyards, woods and huge meadows of tall grass make his heart beat faster.
“I think this is a nice tour to get to know our hills. It’s not too hard, it’s not boring, it’s not too wild. I think it’s great for most cyclists. The Colli Berici are really beautiful, it feels like you’re surfing when you ride through the tall grass. There’s a lot of different surfaces to ride, it’s really wonderful.”
Carlo enjoys all types of rides but he particularly loves wild, remote rides that challenge him in some way.
“The most exciting trip I’ve ever done is the 7RANDO this year, on the Asiago Plateau. On the first day, we rode about seven hours in heavy rain. The tour was amazing, we came across magical places. The forest in the rain was incredible – the smell, the fog, the fatigue.”
Sometimes even Carlo needs a break from the rain and cold, so they stopped at the Malga mountain hut at 4600 feet (1400 meters)…
“The owners brought us red wine, cheese, cured meat and to top it off at the end, coffee and mugo (a local grappa). Obviously we got a bit drunk, but we still had a big climb and some kilometers until the end. It was really fun. When we arrived at the base camp at 6233 feet (1900 meters), the atmosphere was fabulous. There were lots of other riders passing through and we ate and drank again, and laughed a lot with the many new people we met.”
The next day the sun was shining. There was a perfect, clear blue sky so instead of battling the weather, they battled a hangover. Luckily it didn’t affect their enthusiasm.
“The second stage was still great, even though we didn’t feel super fit. The plateau is really beautiful and great to ride, and the people living there are really kind.”
And while we are heading into the darker season of the year, Carlo is excited to keep riding and has many plans.
“This year I would like to explore my local area more in-depth – there’s still a lot to discover. I would also like to combine some of my Tours around Colli Berici, creating a unique Tour that’s not too hard nor too easy. And in the near future, I’m planning to go on a family Tour with bikes, tents, and nature.”
As one of our most active users, Carlo explains what the platform means to him.
“I like how easy it is to use komoot. It’s really intuitive and fresh. I like the interaction with the other users – seeing their tours in real situations, with unedited pictures. I like the realness of their reports. I like the limitless opportunity for planning new routes, leaving a digital trace with tips on what I actually did.”
And since he likes going on longer rides, Carlo tries to minimize his battery usage when recording his Tours.
“To make your battery last as long as possible, switch off the wifi, the Bluetooth, and record with your phone in standby mode. Always bring a battery pack with you, because sometimes you’ll run out of battery without realizing it.”
After offering a tip, he’d like one thing from his fellow komoot cyclists:
“For Highlights, I encourage everyone to show their favorite places on komoot, to add pictures and to show what trails in bad conditions actually look like. I personally love to create Highlights for food and beverages, I think they are always useful – a beer, a glass of wine, a sandwich… Always a good idea!”
Follow Carlo on komoot to stay up to date with his explorations.