Sunday, August 16, 2009

Passo Pordoi

I cycled over all the passes of the Sella ring; Passo di Sella, Passo di Gardena, Passo di Campolongo and Passo Pordoi. I am so beat! I cracked half way through the last climb and needed to take 30 minutes out to digest some glucose and convince myself not to give up and drop down to Arraba. I'm glad that I did.

Going back to the start of the day. The pension of last night was just below the top of Alpi di Siusi. After that I dropped down to Saltaria where the asphalt stopped. From there I took a lovely unpaved but mostly quite nicely graded, at least in my direction, mostly downhill route through forest. There were magnificent views of Sasso Lungo and across to the Sella group. On a couple of the uphills I had to walk, a combination of not having a low enough gear and the difficulty of getting enough traction on my 25mm tires. Not having low enough gearing plagued me as much day as yesterday, though generally the grades weren't as killer as yesterday.

I recognised that I'd not nearly drunk enough water yesterday and made an effort to drink drink drink. Though as I got more tired I felt less in control of the bike I avoided taking a water bottle from its holder and suffered for it.

After leaving the unpaved road I arrived in St Cristina and started the climb to the Passo di Sella. It was absolutely wonderful. There were great views of Sella Ring and the other side of the Sasso Lungo from that which I'd seen earlier. Traffic was quite heavy at times. It was a weekend and a holiday one. I hope things quieten down as the week progresses. Near the top it started to rain and I reached the col as it really started to pelt down. It wsas lunch time so I went into a restaurant and ate. Even though I'm working really hard I'm having trouble finishing food. This has happened to me before, when my body is under stress digestion doesn't seem to work so well.

By the time that I'd gotten bored with playing with my food and ate it the rain had stopped and the Sun came out. I retraced my path down the hill that I'd come up and started on the next climb. Like the Sella the Gardena was a famously beautiful pass and it lived up to expectations. I think I liked the view better than Sella but maybe this was because I saw both sides of the pass.

The third pass of the day was relatively easy. I found that my comfortable cadence while in the lowest gear didn't constantly send me into the red zone. I'd been using my Heart rate monitor to make sure that I didn't let my heart rate go too high for long. From the experience of yesterday that would cause me to blow out. Unfortunately the relative ease of the pass was matched by inferior scenery to that of Sella or Gardena. The top had a great view to the South and the way down to the South gave great views of the Sella massive.

In Arraba at the bottom of the pass I immediately started on the last climb of the day. It was the hardest perhaps because it came after so much climbing. It was a beautiful climb. As I went up I could feel the occasional drop of rain and even hailstone. Flashes of lightening could be seen from where I had just come. As I reached the top the rain began and soon it was clear that it was proper rain. I was beat and the thought to try and find a bit of forest to hang my hammock didn't appeal. The hotel on the top of the pass, Hotel Savoia had a room and I didn't hesitate for long even though it was a bit more expensive than I wanted to spend, demi-pension was 72 Euros Euros.

GPS position N 46º29.226 E 011º48.786
2417m of climbing, max altitude 2236m
Cycling time 6 hours & 20 minutes
Distance 81km/hr
Average 12.8km
2483 kcaleries

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