Finally all the preparation is getting close to be worthwhile. The contents of small piles of equipment and clothes that I'd making, creating shortlists, began to stabilise. Was such and such a thing really necessary? Two or three changes of cycling clothing? Bib shorts or normal ones?
In the end I probably wasn't as discerning as I imagined I would have been when first the plan to cycle light through the Dolomites. The small bag that did me fine for weekends of camping in the forest was just a bit too small, as soon as I realised this and found a mechanism to attach another small bag with bungy cords the flood gates sort of opened. I was quite relieved, the thought of jumping on the bag to compress things every time I packed wasn't so appealing. Though perhaps more because as much as I'd like to travel light, I don't really have it in me to do it properly.
After finishing off a mostly proper day of working from home I headed down the Amsterdam Centraal, managing to restrain myself and only arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled departure. This is another of my weaknesses, which I get from my father, flights and and scheduled trains bring out high anxiety in me. As the deperture time gets nearer I imagine more and more things that could go wrong which provide justification to leave earlier for the airport or whatever. Once this begins I become more focused on the flight and less capable of dealing with much else. In joke Freddie calls me mild autistic in this, I suspect that she's onto something here.
In spite of all the anxiety, or perhaps as a result of it, I arrived in the early afternoon in Bolzano. Along the way I had a very short stop in Verona, just enough time to zip into the old town and take a look at the roman amphitheatre which seems to be about to put on a performance of Aida by the looks of the scenery from ancient Egyptian that was sitting just outside.
Once in Bolzano I fixed an annoying squeeling sound coming from the front wheel due to the axel not sitting in the dropouts properly.
Bolzano is a very Austrian looking city. I recognise the architecture from other places that were part of the Habsburg empire. Linguistically it seemed to be very German. It had a nice feel to it and I lingered a bit, mostly due to coming across a cheap restaurant. With an eye on the climbing to come I ate well.
I left Bolzano and headed North. Initially my route took mealong a bicycle path that ran parallel to the road to the Brenner pass, but only a 10km on it I turned off to the East. Immediately the climbing began and it was brutal. There were quite a few sections of 20% gradiant and some even higher. It wasn't the best way to start off the holiday and I felt pretty blown early on.
I had trouble with the route which I'd sorted out, or thought I'd sorted out before I left. The one I followed took me up the brutish climbs but later I realised that I'd taken a long cut that had also involved more climbing that if I'd picked a better route. Even though it was tough it was a nice quiet road, following a fast flowing stream up a tight valley.
I'd been hoping to go over the Alpi di Siusi and even make the Sella Pass, but my 7pm I was just below the former. Just as I was thinking that I felt pretty done and that I ought to either find dinner a pension with a sign saying zimmer frei appeared. It didn't look to fancy so I dropped in. They had a room and the price was right. Though I'm not much of a believer in providence this did look rather like a sign, so didn't hesitate.
Stayed in Gasthof Frommer, 51.50 Euros for demi pension
GPS position N 46Âº32.322 E 011Âº36.194
1591m of climbing, max altitude 1693m
Cycling time 3 hours & 31 minutes