September 2021 was a special month. It marked the inaugural komoot Women’s Torino Nice Rally (TNR) – the 700-kilometer route over the cols and stradas that lie between Torino, Italy, and Nice, France. The dream child of Lael Wilcox, 20 women from around the world gathered at the start in Turin, picking others up along the way. A week of unforgettable camaraderie and adventure ensued.
The original Torino Nice Rally (TNR) was dreamed up as a self-supported bikepacking event that represented a challenge for the riders, not to finish first, but to get up and over the huge climbs and finish the route – such a beast it is! This year, the famous rally was extra special. Not only did komoot sponsor the official event, but a couple of weeks later, our very own ambassador, Lael Wilcox, brought together a diverse group of women to ride the same route together, yet apart, in the last week of September.
Lael has dreamed of riding the incredible route for many years, and she has long been an advocate for more women bikepacking. As she put it in a Radavist article, the concept of a Women’s TNR marries two of her dreams. She says organizing events breathes life into routes and the rally format creates an incubator for big dreams and ideas:
“Bikepacking is inspiring— when you get the opportunity to bounce ideas off of others with few distractions and all the positive energy, you start dreaming huge. Group starts are more effective for this than races because without the pressure of competition, riders get more of a chance to mix it up.”
Now the Women’s Torino Nice Rally has been and gone, it thoroughly exceeded expectations.
Katherine Moore joined the rally and found it an amazing bonding experience and just as Lael suggested, a great way to get pumped and inspired for future adventures:
After deliberating whether I’d be able to ride the full 600 mountainous kilometers, I took the plunge and signed up to join riders from all over Europe and beyond for a week in the mountains. The Komoot Women’s TNR was more than just spectacular high Alpine passes, Italian espressos, and oven-fresh French bread though, and I’ve returned home with a whole new raft of inspirational friends. I find you make really deep connections with people when you face challenges like this together, and the WTNR was no exception.
Throughout the week, Lael was stoked to meet and catch up with awesome women like Katherine, women who were as excited by the challenging route as she was. They leapfrogged their way up and over passes, giving each other heads up about resupply stores (mainly espresso bars and pizzerias), good bivvy spots, and in one instance, an open hut to protect them from the raging weather up in the Alps.
A bike adventure wouldn’t be complete without punctures, mechanicals, some bad weather, and resupply challenges, and the Women’s TNR was no different. But the memories that remain were those of new friendships made, great vibes, views, and mouth-watering pizza.
Read Lael’s kit list on the Radavist or check out her Collection on komoot.
Until next year…Happy Bikepacking!
All Photos © Rugile Kaladyte