After yesterdays leg demolition, we needed a more chilled out day today. Thankfully for me, the hotel came equipped with blast shields that made it as dark as a bunker, which was excellent for tricking Clarso like a budgie into sleeping into 9.30am, which is possibly a record for him.
On realising this milestone he was up like a jack in a BOX and 2 mins later we were destroying the brekkie buffet like wild dogs with worms. Following the buffet massacre it was time to ride… for our ‘Recovery ride’ we chose to ride the portion of the UCI world cycling tour race course that we didn’t ride yesterday as the CG race didn’t cover it. Clarso has now qualified to come back in September and race it, so he wanted to do a dirty recon of the second climb that will be used in the race.
The great thing about Clarso is he is intrepid and covers off my weakness to explore, so he quickly glanced at google maps and we were off. Being Italy there is always the need for a few quick navigation check points:
After storming up the valley at non recovery riding pace, we found the climb we were after and set off to check it out. By now it was midday and I was being paid out for my sleep in trickery with 34 deg heat and a climb that started out at 11 and 12% with tired legs. Working in my favour was the need to stop and take photos of the amazing scenery:
Thankfully Clarso loves a good photo shoot as well, giving me time to recovery post grinding out another 11% section:
We cruised up this 10km climb that had an average gradient of 8%, with some steeper pitches (mainly at the bottom), but it did make one thing fairly obvious for the race here in September (thankfully I am not doing it!), it will be won by a climber, without question. Taking into account the first and last climbs we rode yesterday and the final one we covered today and this is a SERIOUS climbing course. My advice to anyone coming to race here in September is to spend as much time as you can riding your bike uphill and then VERY fast downhill, as that’s what its all going to come down to. You will need to get used to this view:
The heat was a killer today and I was being slowly baked like a horse lasagne , so called out to Clarso as the village of Castellano approached that I needed to get more water (another dirty nomad anti-climber tactic)… Here was the only way I could manage to cool down, thanks to the amazingly cold mountain water:
Oddly, this little experience was a highlight today, seems that its the little things that count some times… The water also happened to be beautiful to drink and the view was amazing. A simple water stop has never generated so much happiness! Massively refreshing and reinvigorating as well.
Cresting the climb we had a beautiful tree lined section of mountain road, past lakes and forests before the downhill started that will be on the race course. It started out straight and stayed straight as the gradient increased… Speed built… hmmm… Holy shit… speed still building… I started to tuck in, more confident than yesterday. I then realised that I was really travelling, my eyes dared to flick down and I saw 79.6KPH on the Garmin, at which point I gave a gentle cat paw squeeze on the brakes.
It is SERIOUSLY fast down here, if you’re racing you’ll have to be comfortable with 90kph plus I would say. I even had problems slowing the Evo down to make the hairpin turns at the bottom. Quick, time for another gratuitous Italian mountain village shot as you can never have too many:
It was then a two man TT back to town for coke, pasta and more Lemon Gelato (the best I have ever had) before prepping for tomorrow.
Tomorrow? Well, its time to decamp from Trento (it has been voted down, not the best holiday spot from the town perspective) and we are heading north to ride the most famous Italian climb of them all: The Stelvio! Allegedly we will ride both sides (fart noise, that’s over 40km’s of climbing at an avg of 8.5%), so it will be an epic day ahead! Stay tuned for more crazy scenery shots and my description of HC climbs busting my legs. I am off to change my brake pads…
P.S – Italian bike shops (or maybe just the ones in Trento?) appear to be shit… both to locate and then in terms of a decent set up product wise, fingers crossed for more luck in Varese on Wednesday.