We are a little confused. We appear to be in Italy, but all of a sudden everything is in German and everyone is speaking German..... We are near the Austrian border and do feel like singing ‘the hills are alive with the sound of music’! we had to check the map to make sure we hadn’t wondered into Austria, but we are sure we are still in Italy. Apparently 2/3 of the population here speak German as their first language, but you go into one shop and they speak to you in Italian and the next shop they speak to you in German. We don’t get it so we are just back to the point and nod.
We have died and awoken in an athlete’s heaven. Gorgeous snow peak mountains seem to reach the sky and are dotted with tiny villages, running and cycling tracks follow raging rivers and windy roads following those mountains to the sky, therefore the rest of this story is of torture and punishment.... and a few minor spills.
I laugh though thinking back to the triathlon training camps in the Grampians and riding repeats of ‘Benny’, the molehill in Lorne, you want a real training camp come to here!
We are still following the ‘Giro’ and trying to ride all of the mountains they are in the race. I will add a few stats of the hills, for you cyclists that may be interested. First up we had the Alpe di Pampeago, which in 8kms rose 753m, with a max gradient of 16%. Willy was very happy that with all the cyclists riding to the top to watch the finish not one person passed him. Even though it is quite cool here you get so hot riding to the top then you have to sit there and wait for the riders to come through before you can descend. Even though we had taken warm clothes I was freezing! On the way down my hands were so numb that I couldn’t feel them and I went to put on the breaks and they wouldn’t work so I clicked my feet out and put them down but because I have new cleats on my shoes for my new pedals they were all slippery and I was heading over the edge of the cliff but luckily (a plastic) pole got in my way and I crashed into it! (no damage to the bike) and I got stung by a bee to top it off! And then I did the most embarrassing thing a cyclist can do, I clicked out but the bike decided to go the other way and from a standing halt fell off sideways......... i don’t think anyone saw, but at least now I look tough cos from the bruises and scratches on my leg I look like I’ve had a fall!
We try to alternate our hill days with flat rides but it’s not really possible here. We went to have an easy day the other day, got lost and ended up climbing 11kms up the Plan de Corones, 1080m with a 24% max gradient! So much for the rest day!
It sounds funny so I have to write it, yesterday we rode to Austria. Yes it’s only a 60km round trip but I like the sound of it. It was a beautiful ride into the mountains
We have found an awesome town to chill in.... got to get back to the race though..... and got to learn Italian and German so I can move here! Yesterday we rode the most gruelling ride I think either of us have ever riden. It was 90kms and included two of the major mountains in the area. I loved how at 60kms away from home Willy mentions to me the next climb we are doing, the Passo Fedaia is the most feared climb in Italy.... great! It was hard especially at 70kms into a ride. You climb 1059m in 10kms with a max gradient of 11.4%. I don’t know how I physically made the last 1km, Willy had to get me off the bike at the top because I would of fallen off otherwise. It was the most beautiful and scenic ride I have ever been on though, this area of Italy is stunning, we will certainally come back here...... maybe for the whole of next summer.....
Still to come are some awesome hill climbs. Tomorrow will be the Passo Gavia (one of the highest peaks in Europe!)the pass is at 1361m in 18kms with a max gradient of 15% and somewhere along the track Passo Giau, 922m in 10kms with a max of 9.4% So fun times to come
The race finishes in Milan on Sunday, I keep forgetting to say to you all to have a look on SBS it is probably televised and you can see where we are and maybe Willy will do a streak or something to get us on TV!