Trans-Alp: Day Five

Trans-Alp: Day Five

According Garmins fifth letter to the Stravins, Day five was 36.7km long and took 3hrs and 46mins of ride time and consisted of 1604m climbing. But this was not the whole story of day five. What happened was an entirely different story…

 

 

The day started off as usual. After breakfast we hopped on the old bikes and began the street climb up to the Alp of the day. The weather wasn’t too bad. That pleasant mist style rain that doesn’t really do much but does keep you cool. So we were all in good spirits and pressed on. The climb was a pretty nice one. Steep enough to make you feel like you’re earning it, but not that steepness that makes you want to murder someone. Although I think by this stage our perceptions were a little skewed as while climbing you get to a section that is likely around 10% to 12% and you think to yourself “Sweet… A flat bit so I can catch my breath…” it is odd when you think back to it.

 

And so the day started… Looking a little ominous, but good.

 

Pop Pop and I rocking the wet weather gear… As one does when it’s wet.

 

Pop Pop… Still bringing up the rear. Still in good spirits…

Drewbles and I reached a small ‘hotel’ just as the street climb changed to fire road we waited for Left Ear Lopez. During this wait the weather turned on us and it started to bucket down. Once Left Ear had caught up, had a small break and got his rain coat on we pushed on. The next section of fire road was steep. Steep and rocky and loose. So Drewbles and I turned it into a game of who could climb the highest up each section between the hair-pins. Which helped keep our minds off the rain and created some good-humoured sibling rivalry… Just so you know… I won. Else I wouldn’t have mentoined it here…

 

Getting some holiday staps in on the way up.

 

The last section of street climb… Before the heavens opened…

At the next ‘hotel’, the fire road turned into the trail we would use to summit the Alp of the day, Forcella Ambrizzola. The rain was still pelting down, so we stopped, ducked inside the hotel and had a cup of coffee thinking (hoping in fact) that the rain might ease for the summit. It didn’t.

 

The view out from the hotel…

 

Pop Pop making re-joining the pity party…

 

Up that way is where we needed to go.

 

But first… Coffee…

Standing on the porch, just before heading out I turned to Drewbles and said “I don’t know if this is clever, or if we’re just being stubborn… But I really wanna finish…” To which Drewbles replied “I wanna finish too…” And with that we walked out, hopped on the bikes and started the trail ride up to the top.

 

The trail up to the top… This would have been magic if it wasn’t so wet.

 

And still the weather olls in…

I really enjoyed the trail. It was quite bit like a very narrow and rocky fire road. Which made it good to ride but it was also littered with small technical patches that needed to be negotiated. In the rain and cold it was probably harder than it should have been but probably more fun as well. Once we reached the top, we waged war on the descent. The descent was steep, a mix of wet clay, ruts, cow shit and rocks. Combined with the fact that we were freezing our collective balls off, we decided to hike a bike down to where the trail got a little more normal. Which took forever and a day.

Rain, rain… And then some rain.

Once back on the roads the riding was far from pleasant and fast approaching intolerable. So after a few alterations to the course and near convulsive shivering from Left Ear we decided to call it a day, found an alternative hotel and warmed ourselves with beer.

Not many scenery pictures today… Was a tad wet out. But when we did have a break in the rain, the views were still epic.

 

What a day…

The small town we ended up staying in was called DONT. We only discovered this the next day though. They really should rename the town. But that’s a story for another day. While having some beers and discussing how to proceed the next day if the weather was bad, we managed to discuss the (new) climb up to Passo Duran with some old local Italian blokes in the middle of a heated card game and wine session. So… Armed with a route, a plan and knowing we could get back on course we tackled a good few beers ourselves you know… for warmth), smashed some food and turned in for the night. Day five… Dead and buried.

 

Onwards and upwards… To day Six.

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