Thursday, August 07, 2014

July 9th: Bolzano to Vigo di Passa


From Tour of the Alps 2014
We woke up to another good breakfast. Arturo had warned us to expect anemic breakfasts in Italy, but so far every breakfast has been pretty substantial. "I'm coming to the conclusion that Northern Italy has lousy churches but great breakfasts. Which is a good trade-off for this tour," he said. We then discovered that his bike had a flat on the front tire. The flat turned out to be from a valve stem that peeled off from wear, rather than a road debris puncture. It would be our only flat tire for the entire trip. Arturo had left the spare tubes in Amsterdam, but fortunately, he could make do with ones borrowed from Hina. I pointed out that we should just buy tubes while we're in a big city. Sportler was just around the corner, but when we got there it wasn't opened. No problem, just visit the Coop supermarket for bananas and chocolate, and come back to the store and wait for 5 minutes. We spotted an inner tube vending machine, but by the time we got together the change needed the store had opened.
From Tour of the Alps 2014
I also asked the Sportler folks where to get to the bike path headed for Costalunga, and his directions were spot-on. Once on the bike path, the difficult part was figuring out where to turnoff. We had a chat with a fellow cycle tourist who was kind enough to ride with us until the turn off at Prato Isarco. The gentlemen was from Gerona, and he was headed off to Munich to visit his girlfriend by bicycle. A former motorcyclist, he said he was getting too old to handle a motorcycle safely, and the bicycle was as close as he could get to that experience.
From Tour of the Alps 2014

Even overcast, the climb up to the eggental valley was beautiful. It was a long, unrelenting climb since Bolzano was at 300m, and Passo Costalunga was closer to 1800m. At Nova Levante we missed the supermarket closing by 15 minutes, and so ended up eating lunch at a restaurant. It occured to me that ever since Hina voiced her distaste of supermarket lunches, we had never successfully eaten a supermarket lunch again. I hoped she never voiced any distaste of my tires staying on the ground.
From Tour of the Alps 2014
Past Nova Levante, the climb brought us to Karrersee. The last time I came by this way it was pouring rain, and I never so much as got a glance at the lake as we were stuck underneath some shelters waiting for the rain to let up so we could sprint for some lodging. This time, it was overcast but not raining, so we had time to slow down, take pictures, and admire the scenery. After getting a photo at the lake, 3 Italian seniors walked up to us and started talking rapidly. Arturo's Spanish enabled him to translate for us. The older gentleman turned to the two ladies and said, "See? I told you it was a lady on a bicycle!" The two ladies ooh'd and ahh'd and said, "Wow, we've never seen a woman cycling up here before." It seemed that Hina had acquired a fan club!
From Tour of the Alps 2014

Past Karrersee, we rode over Passo Costalunga, passing by the lodging we stayed in 2007. At the pass, I explained that our goal was Canazei, but I was forced to eat my words as the descent led us right into the midst of heavy rain. I therefore called for a stop at Vigo di Fassa, where we found a hotel willing to put us up and the bikes for a reasonable price. The dinner was impressively good and contained lots of food. That night, I hoped that we wouldn't repeat the pattern from 2007 and get stuck in Canazei for 2 nights.

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