September 15, 2013 0 Comments
Ed. – This is the last blog from Jack following his Italian adventure. Thanks Jack.
Day 7, Como – Sondrio, 93km (and a ferry)
After a second night in Como, the weather had improved and the roads were dry. On a clear day, Lake Como is a wonderful place.
The road to Bellagio runs over, alongside and within the sheer cliff faces that plunge straight into the water.
Another ferry from Bellagio. This time to the North easterly shore of the lake.
One of the small lakeside towns which are only accessible by boat.
The end of another roll of film overlooking Lake Como.
Lunch at the Northernmost end of the lake, from here the road began to climb gently towards the mountains.
Our destination is Sondrio. It lies at the head of a large valley, the only way out of which are two very high alpine passes.
That evening, mountains start to dominate the landscape as we get closer to the High Alps.
Day 8, Sondrio – Bormio / Passo Gavia, 130km
Breakfast on our biggest day, all the way up the valley to Bormio, then the 2500m climb up Passo Gavia.
Thanks to a friendly but over eager bike shop owner who put way too much pressure in the tyres, we both double punctured by early afternoon. Fortunately Italy has inner tube vending machines.
It was a race against time to reach Bormio before the weather changed or we ran out of daylight. The temperature plummets at altitude in the dark.
Selfie on the lower slopes.
An unusually cold Spring meant the pass was blocked with snow still officially closed to vehicles. No vehicles is good news for cycling though, so we hopped the barrier and carried on.
Ascending past the reach of trees and into the snow.
The higher sections of the road had been specially cleared for the Giro d’Italia stage the next day, by now flurries had begun to fall again and the temperature had dropped.
Less than a kilometre from the summit, a storm was moving in and the snowfall increased. It felt unwise to carry on so late in the day and into the face of bad weather so we descended.
Precipitous drops on the high speed descent back into Bormio.
Day 9, Bormio – Verona 40km (plus a big train journey.)
It was snowing next morning. The big passes out of Bormio were both closed by Police overnight and the stage of Giro d’Italia cancelled. There was nothing to do but descend back down the valley and get a train to our next destination.
By road, Verona is a two day ride over Passo dello Stelvio. Unfortunately, with the Stelvio is closed, it becomes a much larger distance, throwing out our plans to get to Brescia on time.
So a very long, tedious and very cold day on a train was the only realistic option.
Day 10, Verona – Brescia 92km (Plus another ferry. There’s lots of lakes in that part of Italy.)
Cut and run early for Brescia.
Day 11, Brescia Giro d’Italia Grande Arrivo 0km (But lots of scurrying around Brescia with a camera bag)
The preparations start early for the arrival of the big event. Free race guides to be distributed.
Crowds arriving. Wearing pink, the colour of the race leaders jersey.
And a town returns to normal Sunday activity.
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