|Il Pirata Vive|
Monatsarchiv: Juni 2011
Cold and light rain in the morning at the start in Livigno but later on good weather all the way. Apart from the usual no-name hills, we climbed the Mortirolo, the third most famous cycling pass in the alps aftet the Stelvio and the Gavia.
1200+m climbing, many long stretches with 20 percent gradient. David got up in one go; I needed to walk about 300m up. It has been a long time since I walked up hills, but the Transalp is teaching me these skills again. I am not as strong as I used to be in Japan, but that’s OK, I don’t really need this ability any longer in Bremen. Still I know that I can finish the Transalp – ca suffit.
After the descent from the Mortirolo another 14km flat or slightly uphill. Still had something left in the battery and hammered towards the finish. Overall a good and successful day. No photos.
David and Juliane enjoy some real food in Livigno – big steaks for
the whole team last night powered us up the ridiculously steep
Mortirolo Pass today, by the memorial to Marco Pantani, whose victory
there on a Giro d’Italia stage thrust him onto the world stage.
We had a good day today, MOB and I finished 173 in the Masters class
— our highest placing yet. I was glad to do the entire 1250m elev climb, much at a 15-20% grade, without putting a single foot to the ground. (Think 2x Kazahari
Rindo). I passed many walking/resting riders, and did not see many of
those we have finished with in recent days.
Yesterday, our hopes of a "top 80%" finish were dashed by MOB's
"mechanical" – the broken spoke on his Ultegra rear wheel. We were
given the max time (11 hrs!!) and pushed way back among other teams
which had suffered a similar fate at least one day this week (not such
a small group, but not 20%)..
Today, another day. We rode at a good pace. the first 37 km –
gradually ascending from 540m to almost 1000m elev. I performed my
usual "domestique" role, asking "what would Jerome do?". "Pull!". So I
did, sometimes a group of 50+ riders, and even up one hill.
I felt that effort on the early part of the climb, but after the
feeding point (1550m elev) I felt strong and climbed well all the way
to the pass (2750m), with only a few very short stops for
photos/energy bars. Spectacular views, and I am stronger than in 2009.
I was a bit disappointed in MOB's equipment selection – how could he
come to Transalp w an Ultegra wheel he knew was problematic? Why
didn't he test his transalp wheels for months, conclude that they were
bombproof, or at least reliablen and set them aside (as I did),,
instead of taking them to a race in Berlin where the rear rim was
destroyed? Was he really giving Transalp the proper priority this
year, or is he more interested in building up classic bikes from
These were some of my thoughts as I descended the Stelvio … only to
suffer my own broken spoke as I approached Bormio. My wheel likewise
was unrideable, and the mechanical help was nowhere near. Karma?
But, I recalled a trick — my Rolf Prima wheels have paired spokes.
If I could just break the other one in the pair, at least the wheel
rim should be straight, as long as it does not collapse … I finally
managed to break the spoke after minutes of struggling (why do they
break while riding if they are so tough?) … only to realize that my
tire had deformed and was pretty well shredded from the heat, rubbing
against my frame as I slowed from 50kph to a stop on the downhill.
But the tire and tube still held air. And I could ride with a slight
bump and a "womp, womp" sound.
Still, on the bright side, most of the remainder of the day was …
another long climb (900+m up) from Bormio over Passo Foscagno then a
short descent and climb (200+m up) to Passo d'Eira and down into
Livigno. The bump was not so bad at slow climbing speed, and I passed
lots of stragglers on this climb. MOB and I reconnoitered at the 2nd
feed point, then I went ahead onto these last climbs — worried about
whether my equipment would make it.
At the finish, I endured a long wait to get a "loaner" wheel for the
next 3 days, and enjoyed some pasta, a trip for steak to our favorite
Livigno steak house (and pizzeria), and went off to bed. Other high
points are: hot water in the showers! And a compact transalp camp
layout and parrticularly good placement for MOB and me – within 15
meters of the door (route to the bathroom etc), plus a slight
partition (as if we were flying business class) and I am sleeping with
my mat immediately adjacent to the "Schwalbe girls" team – two
charming (but not very fast) mid-20s German women riders sponsored by
the tire company.
Hot day today, already at the start in Ischgl at 9. David and me started from the very back of the D Block and overtook about 300 riders (least it felt like) until the first supply dump at km 67. We stayed together at the first climb to the Reschenpass, covering the remaining portion of Austria, all of Switzerland and the beginning of the Italian stretch. 3 out of 4 countries done.
Beautiful fast descent to Schluderns. Then another long climb over the Vinschgau. On the way done disaster struck: spoke broke on the Ultegra rear wheel. Now waiting for the broom wagoon to pick me up.
Sadly, that will impact our team standing, 187th place goodbye.
Otherwise a beautiful day with nice riding.
Thanks to Stephen for dropping by.
A successful day all around.
David and Juliane remain in the "C" starting block. MOB and I crept
up from 189 to 187 place.
The Arlsberg was nicer than I remembered and the Beilerhohe was
spectacular (photos to come once fully back online), though hot on the
I made it up with just a quick stop at Jerome and Rickard Lindqvist's
secret cooling site — ice cold water from a stream, and another quick
stop to snap a photo and ingest an energy bar. Unlike 2009, I am
actually passing people on the climbs … and like 2009, I am still
passing others on the descents . (We hit 70-75kph on both descents.)
I felt good all day. Can't wait for tomorrow and then, on Wednesday,