Thankfully all of the spills were at low-speeds but un-thankfully I was one of the stunt-cyclists and landed on my right knee...no blood, just bloody sore, hah-hah! Probably bruised pride but I was fine to ride...at least as well as I was before at any rate!
|The faff before the falls started!|
|Upstanding citizens. Not for long.|
|Dennis Waterman's chair?|
|Picturesque but busy.|
|Much more like it...loadsa orchards yet no cider?|
We had a smidge over 50 miles to lunch and the start of the climb, mainly along busy roads but also bizarrely an orchard, or an apple vineyard as one of the chaps referred to it. Mind you, this is the same fella who used Google to find the Italian word for Cannelloni. No names, no pack-drill. Take a bow, Ant. Tremendous.
|The trudge up The Stelvio begins...15 miles and 48 hairpins. Pizza cake.|
|Ice-cold and so inviting looking...|
|Would rather it was a steak house though.|
|Bit of a view. Can do better...|
|...yes, getting better...|
|...yeah, I may be struggling but this helps...|
|Dig in son!|
|Caution: wide load. Don't look up. Or down, for that matter!|
|Oh, so we're not too wrecked to show-boat then?|
|Every climb we do, I ask myself "Did we really do that?". Still not sure we did!|
|2700m up. 2hrs and 50mins of slog. So, so chuffed. And cold, hah-hah!|
|Could've climbed in to be honest. Perishing outside, thanks.|
Andy and myself adjoined to the nearest ski-lodge/cafe for reviving coffee, hot chocolate, Mars Bars, you-name-it...as long as it was hot and/or had loadsa calories then it was fair game. We met another bunch of Brits who had climbed Il Stelvio from the other (easier, ahem...) side, and I was indebted to one of them who gave me a newspaper to use as a wind-cheater for the descent. Cheers mate...life-saver!
|This was me only a few hours ago. Hard to take in.|
|From the top of the descent from the other side...the highest pass in Italia!|
This was a real hard day again, as it was meant to be, and it saw another rider hospitalised briefly for altitude sickness and some other guys put in the broom-wagon. Again, Andy and I were the first guys back to the hotel at about 6.30pm...for this tour, that qualifies as an early finish and worthy of a beer. So we did!
Let me assure you, we seriously depleted our hotel's stock of pasta that night...and a vino rosso or two of course.
|Extra, extra...the fourth estate was a life-saver to be honest as the descent was a wee bit baltic!|