Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Italy Day 5–Stelvio South Side

Sorry for not posting for a while, life has caught up with me.  Here’s the rest of the Italy trip

Thursday was forecast to be bright and sunny but rather cool.  It sounded the ideal weather to attempt the Stevio.  We had decided to just do the south side from Bormio to the top of the pass and back.  Again it is climbing from the outset with little or no respite for 15 miles.

It was rather warmer than anticipated and we stopped outside town to shed layers.  The first section is a steady 6-7% with a final few switchbacks to a refuge where we stopped for a coffee

Italy 011

There were a more switchbacks before the valley opens out into a high alpine meadow.  The gradient eases and you get a bit of a respite.

Italy 013

As you approach the Umbrail turn off and the snow line, the road kicks up again with steep pitches and hairpins, the road lined with banked snow.

Italy 015Italy 016

The final 3k took 1/2 an hour.  Although it was cold, the sunlight was intense, glaring off the snow.

Finally, after 2 3/4 hrs we got to the top and the Coppi monument.  I was frozen, tired and very short of breath.  At 2758m this is the highest I’ve ridden for 20 years.

Italy 023Italy 024

After a quick lunch of pizza, we set off down.  The Stelvio is very popular with motorbikers as well as cyclists and the road was quite busy.  The bigger bikes can’t manoeuvre as easily as a bicycle and I quickly caught and passed a group of Harley’s.  As I stopped for photo’s every now and then, they would pass and I would catch up and re-pass.  In the end I overtook them 4 times before leaving them behind on the lower slopes.  It took 35mins to get down, taking it easy and stopping for photo’s.

Not a long day at 31 miles, but hard.

Evening meal:

Egg tartlet

Cuttlefish ragout

Beef Goulash

Fruit Salad & Ice cream

Creme Brule

No comments:

Post a Comment