I started off standing in 34-29 for about a km. They have nice portraits of cycling icons posted every half kilometer or so, and by the time I reached Alfredo Binda I was done for. After that I had to stop and recover roughly every half km. At Louis Bobet the road was so narrow I took 2 or 3 starts to clip in, and I decided to just stop at every wide spot from then on, even if I hadn't gone a half km. Somewhere around 1500 meters I decided all this standing around to recover was taking too long and got out my cleat covers to walk. Miraculously the gradient lessened at that very moment and I didn't end up having to walk.
The forest now thinned and snow was everywhere except the road, which had been very well plowed and cleaned. The only problem was at the 3 little tunnels higher up: snow melt covered the floor and near the end of the first tunnel I was suddenly on a sheet of solid ice. My bike flipped instantly and I couldn't stand up, so I scooted on hands and knees awhile, sliding the bike along the ice. Eventually I reached a spot covered with cinders where I could stand. I got out of the tunnel and some German guys on Trans-Alp motorbikes came down from the top so I warned them about the ice rink. They parked and examined the situation. Meanwhile I donned my cleat covers and walked (baby-steps) through the 2 remaining tunnels. From there I rode up the short steep switchbacks to the summit at 1700 meters. Hellacious wind up here today and on the descent to Sutrio. I thought I would be lifted off the road by gusts a couple of times. From Sutrio easy downhill cool down to Tolmezzo.
Beautiful ride and scenery. I think at my fitness level I need a triple however.
|Val Degano villages below snowy range to west|
|Entrance to 2nd tunnel. I had my cleat covers on |
and was walking on eggshells
|You can see the final switchbacks coming up from below|
|View toward the west|
|From the top looking south east|
|North east toward Austria|