04 July 2009

Horrors of the Transalp - Day 6

This was the big day. Third and last of the "major" passes (Passo di Gavia - just over 2600 meters elevation) this trip, 3770 meters of climbing and 181 km distance. Our strategy was to attack from the beginning to end.
  • Passo d'Eira
  • Passo Foscagno
  • Passo di Gavia
  • Passo Tonale and
  • Passo di Mendola ("Mendelpass" in German).
David J and Juliane were 69th place today in the mixed group. Siegfried and Brunhilda lost another 10 minutes.

Jerome and I had our best stage finish - 156th place. We are now 162 out of 179 in the Masters general classification, up from 166. Messrs Dupont and Dumond (actually Messrs. Roux and Mestre) retook the lead of the Masters category.

Highlights of the day's ride --
  1. I was actually up the first two passes and Gavia with Juliana and David J and a few minutes ahead of Jerome ... a new experience for me this trip. Juliana says I am her hero, hauling 98 kgs up those hills! Maybe it was due to the leg stretching I did at the starting area:

    ... or maybe it was a result of raising my seatpost a few millimeters so that I could sit back and spin more smoothly on the steeper slopes?
    Rickard Lindkvist poses for a photo with the Positivo Espresso team, as the three chat about the day's upcoming "Queen Stage" of the race:

    Leaving Livigno:

  2. Jerome the monster climber appeared on Passo Tonale.

  3. Jerome and I pulled a train along a long flat stretch after Tonale. Eventually a tandem (not officially in the event but riding passed our group and motioned for riders to draft off of them. I jumped at the opportunity, as did a rider named Andre. We had a very fast ride the rest of the way down the valley.

  4. Gavia was less spectacular to look at on the climb than Stelvio, but offered a 3-4 km flat section on top -- like another world. The descent was ridiculous -- narrow road, hairpins, -16% grade at spots, construction, potholes, and traffic coming up at us.
Mission ... almost accomplished.

P.S. Transalp camp in Kaltern, another gymnasium, has no hot water in the showers. The sleeping quarters, however, are very hot, and without apparent ventilation. So we took our camp to the graffiti-covered back porch. Jerome started to sleep out under some trees, until the ants came. Then he moved to the top of the concrete ping pong table (right side of photo), but was able to take over a spot from another sleeper next to David J. (left side of photo) when David J.'s snoring drove a stranger to seek indoor accommodations in the middle of the night. This is what it looked like at 6:30AM, when everyone else had already started to pack up for the day:

No comments: