14 June 2008

Epic Italy '08 Day 3

Epic Italy ’08 Day 3 Trento – Cortina

Psa de Fedaia and Psa de Giau

Yesterday upon our arrival in Trento Steve and Jo went for a 2:40 run.
F…n impressive! By the end of the run we did this morning that’s approx. 40km since arriving 14 hours ago. Then Jo ran back from the pool after swimming! With a week to go that’s quite a bold move.

We ran home from the pool. Not much to report there. Or did we run to the pool???? I forget………….again…………..

Since we only had an hour in the pool there wasn’t really much opportunity to do a 6km swim for extra points so a few of us did “special” swim sets for points. I did the 12 x (100 IM, 150 f/s) set continuously with Newsom to get an extra point. The fly was not pretty of course but perhaps even more miserable than normal. Glad we didn’t do the 400 IM today as I felt like I was drowning.

Leaving Trento we had approx 2km on the flat and then the road went up pretty steeply. It was a sunny, balmy 22 degrees C already and the parts of the road that were in the shade were really, really nice! With such a long ride ahead I was hoping not to be too drained before we hit the main features of the day, but it was looking like it was going to be a very long, tough day.
Gordo and Steve took off early to put the KOM out of reach and the rest of us were content to ride moderate and keep the support crew close by. We had 3 vehicles on the road looking after us but with the groups so spread out it was still tough for everyone to go the right way. There are about a zillion roads here.
Gordo got lost and took a common sense approach and waited for us to come through with the support crew. Steve went the right way but was so far ahead that we thought he was lost so by the time he finally waited up to make sure he was going the right way he was parched and a little irritable!
Jonathan and Anthony were taking a more leisurely tour of the Dolomites today and would have been just fine if they hadn’t missed the turn to the Giau which wasn’t sign- posted well from the direction we were coming from. Our group missed it too and after circling back going out of town we found it. Those guys continued down that valley 13km (and I do mean down!) before realizing where they were and turning back. They ended up doing 15,000ft of vertical and 9:15 on the bike today. It gets dark pretty late here but they did have to be rushed through a very late and hard-earned lunch to get them to Cortina before dark!

Randy took a wrong turn in Canzei and took another pass towards Cortina. When he did eventually come upon another sign to the Giau enroute he decided he didn’t want to miss out on doing the planned route that everyone else was doing so he went all the way back down to find the correct route. So he got in a bonus pass! He was pretty damn tired when he made it to Cortina.

Both Fedaia and Giau are “fair dinkum” passes. I used my 30 x 25 on both and I felt like I was climbing OK. On the Giau I went by Steve in his 34 x 26 and he was barely turning it.
On climbs like these it really does pay to bring super easy gearing. These really are climbs to do on a mt.bike for 98% of the cycling population. The key is to not plan on doing too many passes in one day or back to back days of climbing like this unless you are super fit. Adding running to the mix makes it close to impossible to get over these climbs anywhere near your comfort zone. And we’ve still got steeper and longer ones yet to come.
As Gordo and I were finally descending the Giau into Cortina we were talking about how crazy it must be to be a pro cyclist. To have to race others down these passes in the rain for a living would be harder than racing up them.
Once we arrived in Cortina we needed to follow the signs through town heading towards Bolzano to find our hotel. Luckily it was dry for us at this point and a hot shower and dinner weren’t far away.
Before doing anything though I made sure I had a beer at the bar.
Great day.

At dinner tonight we got caught up on all of the wrong turns made and all of the wet clothes people went through. The laundry pile is enormous.