Thursday, 14 June 2012

Italy Day 2–Gavia

The forecast wasn’t great but  it turned very warm and sunny as we got ready.  At the last minute i swapped my rain jacket for my gillet, but did thankfully shove the jacket in my saddlebag.

The ride today was a straight out and back to the top of the Gavia.  Pretty much climbing for 25K from Bormio via Santa Caterina to the top of the Gavia and back down.  From Bormio to Sanata Caterina was about 13K an 600m of climbing.  I passed a guy on an old 5 speed carrying a bag on his back and a large carrier bag slung on the handlebars.  As we approached one of the steeper sections, this guy shot back past me.  Should I chase or let him go?  I chose to let him go, the humiliation of being overtaken would have been compounded exponentially if I failed to catch him.  This became the “Tim Diamond Challenge” whereby old people on unsuitable bikes would be pitted against me in races.  Very funny Karl, ha ha!

When we arrived in Santa Caterina the weather on the mountain tops had started to change, but didn’t look too bad.

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We set off up the remaining 13K and 800m of climbing.  Although I set off first, I was quickly overhauled by the stronger guys on the first few hairpins.  I settled into a steady tempo, 6-8 mph on the flatter bits, 4-5 on the steeper.

As I got higher, it started to rain.  Karl,Ian, Chris and Graham were waiting at about the 12mile mark.  I shouted to them that there was still 3 miles to go, Karl shouted back “and 500m climbing”.  I carried on, Ian shouted that he’d come and join me so I eased for a bit, but he never materialized.  The rain turned to sleet as we cleared the tree line.  I debated stopping to put on my rain jacket but figured I was warm enough and already wet.  I’d press on.  Then it started snowing.  The road pitched up even steeper for a bit. 

Eventually the Refuge came into view and I could get some warmth.

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Ian and Chris showed up soon after, equally wet and cold.  Then the others trickled in.

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There was a family at the refuge with two small children.   The father had told them that maybe with the snow, Santa would arrive.  Sure enough, he did!

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We waited til the snow cleared before setting off on the 15 mile, 45mph down hill back to Bormio.Italy 011

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Another short day, only 31/5 miles, but another Giro pass ticked off.

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