July 20, 2019 at 6:52 pm #2023934
Great write up Steve, thanks. The whole thing sounds amazing but brutal. A massive well done to you and the young Simon!
July 19, 2019 at 4:53 pm #2023928
Thanks for the write up Steve, chapeau for making it round. My young(ish) body managed to cross the finish line at 2:30 so was safely tucked up in a bar when the rains came, and boy did it rain. I would not have been as confident in those decents on wet roads. Two of my group also managed to cross the line at about 4:30, one on the verge of suffering from exposure.
July 19, 2019 at 1:52 pm #2023926
sounds great! How’d you get on on the Stelvio?
July 19, 2019 at 12:14 pm #2023924
It took a request from a fellow Avanti rider to shame me into writing this account up, as it was such an interesting event and really too good to share.
What an amazing sportive, set in the most stunningly beautiful mountain landscape in Northern Italy. Two Avanti riders participating this year: myself and Simon Vaughan, travelling in separate groups and what were the chances of meeting amongst 9000 riders – well we did. Turns out we were in the same starting pen and found ourselves 20m from each other at 06:00hrs watching the sun rise over the Dolomites with helicopters filming us all from overhead, music blasting out under the din of the copters – spectacular! (It is all on Italian TV and streamed on Facebook too)
After an initial parade spin around the Town by the organiser on a Penny Farthing, the Pro race heads out first (we can’t see any of this of course), closely followed by the rest of us accompanied by a live band at the start line pumping out continuous hit tunes, giving everyone a feel good send off for the daunting task ahead of a maximum 4000metres climbing over 138km for a minority, medium and shorter distances for the majority.
Everyone has different riding styles and capabilities – there were even recumbent cycles for some disabled participants on the short route – even that is very tough for able bodied cyclists. Depending on the distances, there are one or two visits to Corvara in a looping route…
There are no flat sections at all with all 6 mountain peaks topping out above 2000m. First up the 1)Passo Campolongo for a steady scenic climb, heavily congested so much so that I had to dismount at one point as some people just stopped for whatever reason. Once over the top things spread out more and we head out to the 2) Passo Pordoi for the most breathtaking views and still busy in the rising heat & sunshine. A super-fast descent and bosch, straight back up 3)Passo Sella, cool and shaded, with an Alpine band adding to the cacophony of groans and heavy breathing. 4)Passo Gardena next before the drop into Corvara with crowds lining the streets for the first celebrations at the finish line. Running in a parallel lane (apart from one of my group who managed to get a finishing medal, before getting back in the right lane for the medium/long route loops) we start back up the Campolongo again, this time no delays but I am starting to slow as I believe I have plenty of time in my relaxed Rouleur style and start to conserve effort.
Refuel at the feed station at the top of the Compolongo 2. Luxuriated too long with barley soup & cheese rolls – damn it, I couldn’t resist. Arrive at the medium/long route split at 11:46 too late! (road closure cut off time 11:45). Negotiate a pass with Policeman, forfeit transponder as a result – therefore no time record beyond this point, must try to catch up a bit. Full gas descent into the unknown with a band of stragglers; pass a mate in trouble with his back (worse than mine) handover an ibuprofen tablet to get him through. Up the 5)Giau! ouch what a climb, no respite from 10% average incline, have to stop to drink or fall off – turning myself inside out to get to the summit, reassuring that an ambulance was cruising the slopes for any victims. Incredible landscape. A descent to die for, if not careful that is, then long drag up the 6) P.Falzarego – catching up to within time limits wahoo! Storm clouds gathering…
Top of the Valparola, the last peak above the town – storm hits! Descend carefully; losing time now, rain gets worse and worse, rivers on roads. Enter the town for the final short savage 19% Mur Di Giat (wall of the cat) in torrential rain; overtake a few on the walk of shame. Short run into the finish line with a closing time of 16:15hrs – can’t make it, cramping and shaking with cold – roll in at 16:30 looking like a drowned rat.
Still happy and pleased to make it as a soggy relaxed Rouleur, seduced by the allure of the barley soup.
Incidently the younger and faster Simon V. made it round and back bone dry, well over an hour before me, Chapeau!
Every cyclist has different styles. Out of my group of 7 senior journeymen and a Cat 3 racer, 5 completed the Maratona long route, 3 the medium – but we were all ready to take on the 48 twists & turns of the Eastern Stelvio pass (2758m asl) with suitable aplomb, after a well-earned recovery day.
- This topic was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by Steven Butler.
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