On top of Stelvio
After climbing to summit surrounded by snow. Highest Banks Thargo kit has been I expect.
Overcast skies greeted us this morning but with no threat or forecast of rain until later in the day, the plan to ride the Passo dello Stelvio was still on. The slower group left the hotel about 08.30 and the rest of us left at about 09.00. With a slight downhill run into town, last free-wheel until the descent, we got onto the climb to the Stelvio. This is approximately 24K long and rises to 2758m above sea level. As Bormio is at about 1200m above sea level, we only have 1558m to get to the summit at an average of 7.1% with a maximum gradient of 14%. Weather was great, slightly cool and the sun only shone on us occasionally, so it was good weather for about a 2 hour climb to the summit. Rode through quite a few switch-backs and tunnels before we got to the “wall”, which looks to be a vertical face of the mountain with a road running from side to side up it. This meant we only had about 8K to go to the summit but with 3-4 of those through a small valley, the road kicked up again at about 8-9% for the last
The famous wall
Looks near vertical when you get to it but is surprisingly easy to climb due to switch-backs.
4k or so to the summit. Very cold up here with a lot more snow than 2 years ago and the famous North side was closed to traffic, even though it looked clear to us when we got to see it.
After spending about 15 minutes at the summit for photos and drinks, it was time to put all the warm weather gear that had been taken up in the van on and then descend as fast and safe as possible back to the hotel for a warming shower. Very cold on top of the mountain and the weather was threatening to close in and make it very uncomfortable on the top and the descent. Two hours to get to the top and 35minutes to get down and back to the hotel completed about 50K of riding. Have climbed about 8000m for the week and a bit with a bit more still to go if the weather holds.
After lunch at a local cafe, it was on the bus to the base of the Mortirolo climb to see the Giro come through. We got a good spot in a field over-looking the start of the climb after we jumped a
Blocked North side
This is the best known side of the Stelvio, the North side, but it has been blocked by snow both times I have been here. Very scenic.
fence and sat there for about an hour. The helicopters showed the progress of the race and a breakaway of 6 riders came charging up the start of the ascent of the Mortirolo at about 35K an hour. They were charging as the road narrows to about one car width and has an average gradient of about 12% for 12K or so. After the whole split field and support vehicles went through the narrow streets of the town, we climbed down and found a bar to watch the end of the race. This didn’t give the Aussies the result they wanted as Cadel lost time to the Maglia Rosa, but he is still in top 5. On the bus and back to the hotel for a few drinks before dinner and probably an early night as the legs are feeling a bit tired!
Tot: 1.205s; Tpl: 0.015s; cc: 9; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0102s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb