Sunday, 17 June 2012

Italy Day 4–Mortirolo

Wednesday dawned sunny and fairly warm.  We decided to head to the Mortirolo.

First was a 20 mile, 800m drop down the valley to town of Grosotto.  It was a very pleasant ride following the old SS38 road, most of the traffic going through the tunnels of the new road. Italy 007Italy 015Italy 018

Eventually we reached the bottom of the climb.  Of the three routes up the Mortirolo, this is the hardest.  It was the route up in this year’s Giro, although I don’t think they went all the way to the top.

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In total there are 33 hairpin bends, all conveniently numbered.  Each house or farm on the way up also has its altitude on their name plate so you know exactly where you are, there’s no kidding yourself you’re nearly there.

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Part way up is a tribute to Marco Pantani, apologies for the poor picture, it was taken on the move and my camera was a bit sweaty.

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At this point my average speed had dropped from 5-6mph to 2-3 mph.  Some of the sections were brutally steep, only achievable after the respite of a flattish bend.

Eventually, after 1hr 45mins of climbing, I got to the top, in one go, no stopping.  I was knackered.Italy 028

Ian was next up a few minutes later.  He and the others had stopped to regroup a couple of times, to pick up the slower riders.

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followed by Graham and Jemima

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Alison, who got a mexican wave from some Dutch riders,

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and Karl and Chris.

We were all quite proud of ourselves.

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We dropped down the other side slightly to a Cafe where Jemima “inhaled” a plate of spaghetti, there is no other word to describe how quickly she cleared her plate.  We were still cold and tired and the weather looked like it was closing on the mountains to the north, so rather than do the Gavia as well, we set of back over the top and down to Grosio.

This was a fast switchback descent, lots of gravel in the corners, but great fun.  I raced some Dutch guys down, but after one too many hairy corners let the faster one go.  The views on the way down were stunning.

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After a long drag back up from the valley to Bormio, we arrived back at the hotel weary but satisfied.

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54 miles

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