Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 21: Bormio to St. Caterina


We woke up to cloudy, foreboding skies, but by the time we left the clouds hadn't gotten any worse so we thought we could make it up Gavia.
From Tour of the Alps 2011

I got a headstart on Phil, since I didn't know if I was going to have another bad day. There were plenty of cyclists riding up the Gavia that day, but none of them were carrying a load. Every one looked like they were up for just a day ride.

Past St. Caterina, I negotiated a few corners with some sharp glass on the road, picking my way carefully to avoid puncture. 200 vertical meters later, a bunch of day riders passed me and said that my buddy had gotten a flat. I pressed on but it started raining quite hard, so I called Phil to see how he was doing. He said it would take at least 15 minutes to fix his flat. Gavia didn't have the best of weather at the best of times, and in the rain would have no visibility at all, so I offered to ride back down to St. Caterina, get some lodging, and try again tomorrow. Since it started raining where Phil was, he agreed.

I rode down to the tourist information center, and found Hotel Park, a well appointed hotel which offered a half pension for around 40EUR/person. Phil showed up half an hour later, and we ate lunch in our room, reading and finishing at least a book each. Unfortunately, my Kindle slipped out of my hands and broke, so I would be stuck without reading material for the rest of the trip.

It poured heavily that day, making us glad about our decision to stop early. The forecast didn't look any better for the next day, however, so we started worrying about whether we would be stuck for a few days here. We looked over the map, and I asked Phil whether he wanted to do more time in Italy and then ride over to Austria for the Grossglockner, or whether he'd like to bail early and do Timmelsjoch. His preference was to ride more in Switzerland, so we agreed to go over to Timmelsjoch via Passo Palade, a pass I had never done before.

We went to bed with the sound of rain and thunder coming from outside the room.

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