That Stelvio is a real bully!


I’ve thankfully never been to war, however I have seen lots of Oscar winning movies and performances over the years.

Today’s breakfast taken at just before 6am was like we were going over the trenches, the two climbs on the menu were the legends Mortirolo and the Stelvio, oh and did I mention we climb the Stelvio – the 2nd highest paved road in Western Europe TWICE!


I’m not too proud to say but this stage has taken its toll on us all. The Mortirolo was stunning, I rode it with Geoff and Doug, taking some climbing shots of them both and images of the stunning landscape for the video blog.


The Stelvio (first time) lived up to its reputation, 48 numbered hairpin corners counting down to the top, 21km of climbing. The first half the skin glistened with sweat and began to burn as if on a spit as temperatures on the early slopes were 30°C. As we climbed higher the heat turned to a chilled headwind and at the top it was starting to get cold at only 3°C.


As we regrouped the clouds came in and we were caught in a snow shower as we descended down. I rode down without sunglasses and towards the bottom we were attacked by a biblical style swarm of tiny flies, a few got in the eye, and with the wind from the descent and a bit of rubbing my right contact lenses flew out!  Luckily I wear disposables as  once in the valley road it was warm and dry, I was able to replace it.

There was a steady gradient up to the foot of the Stelvio from the Swiss side, I was urged to use any energy I had left and push on to beat the twilight. I pushed on as if I was on a solo break in a road race, a double espresso gel helped numb the pain and focussed my thoughts for the final ascent.


It was tough, and my thoughts were of how this Stelvio climb is a real bully and like all the bullies I’ve come across in my life actions speak louder than words as I ground on and stuck to the task.

The chain I wear around my neck with the inscription ‘with love from your girls’ swung like a pendulum with every pedal stroke, I can’t wait to see them all and I count down the final few days to Milan.

This stage was always going to be tough, with five individuals and their different strengths. Mother Nature was a cruel mistress with the terrain and the light was failing at the top so with health and safety in mind we called the stage without the 20km fun freewheel down to the finish. Still 206km and 5414m of elevation (the most I’ve climbed on a single day) so I don’t think I feel cheated.

It’s 9.45pm we haven’t had dinner and are a long way from the hotel, another 200km stage tomorrow, this final weeks gonna hurt a lot…


If you would like to support us by donating then here’s my page-

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/HaydenGroves3TourChallenge

Thanks from all at Cureleukeamia

 

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~ by theboxterboy on May 23, 2017.

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