Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pietro Meets the Stelvio, Chapter II

Peter, aka "Pietro", files his fourth report, now riding with the Andy Hampsten tour.

"Saturday, August 29, 2009: Day 2, Stelvio Bike Day (road closed to motor vehicles). Ride from Bormio to Stelvio Summit, 21.5 Km climb to summit @ 2758 meters, 38 switchbacks, all numbered, Out and Back day.

7 AM wake up, my legs are fatigued and I’m tired. Breakfast is @ 7:30 AM. Ride leaves @ 9 AM. Am I going to make it up?????

I wear light vest and put rain jacket in back pocket. I send rest of stuff up to summit in van. Van leaves early so it gets onto Stelvio before they close road at 8 AM. Unfortunately, weather forecast does not look good, clouds and rain forecast.

We start out and weather is good. But as we climb, it gets darker and darker. We go through first tunnel. We are early starters so not that many bikers on the road. I start to feel rain drops. I stop and put on rain jacket. I see Rich and he says he is going to turn around if it rains. I decide to push on a little further. It’s cold and raining. I don’t have enough clothes on. Andy comes along and informs me that it is pouring the top of the mountain. He continues. I go around the hair pin and see a bolt of lightning. I don’t know how long it is going to rain, it’s cold, not enough clothes and I decide to bag it. I make a U-turn and return back to Bormio. It get’s warmer and brighter as I reach town. Bikers keep going up the mountain.

There were several of us that returned to save our energy and fight another day. We shower and go out for lunch. Weather is improving. Two of the guys decide to bike to the Stelvio summit after lunch.

It turns out that the weather improved throughout the day. It only rained for 15-20 minutes. It was in the 40’s at the top. Many riders were coldddddddddddddddddd. Weather reduced number of bikers doing climb on Stelvio day.

For me, discretion better part of valor. Rest day! I live to fight another day.

After dinner, in honor of Andy’s epic climb over the Gavia in the snow, he is selling his maglia Rosa jersey replica from his Giro win. I buy the jersey so I can wear it tomorrow on the Gavia.


Event photos: clouds moving in, hard rain, later it clears a bit, Pietro will be heartbroken that he missed the sausage at the summit

Stories, including cycling trip stories, for the Italian Cycling Journal welcome; contact veronaman@gmail

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