Giro d’Italia 2011 – Recap

At the end of 2010, the first ideas for a trip to the Italian Alps arose. Since his “storming” of the Stelvio in 2008, Cyclopaat wanted to go back for more.

He went on a – rigorous – diet, became a little bit overconfident while planning the stages of the trip, but eventually had his first “Grand Tour”, a Giro d’Italia of his own making…

So, here’s a short recap with some stats of his Giro.

He put together a road book, added a few extra climbs before departure and he was estimating to get a total altimeter gain (D+) of 20,000 meters over some 300 kilometers of climbing.

In the end that became even more: 24,437 over 348.8 km uphill (586.9 km in total) – which puts the average gradient at exactly 7%.

Although he sometimes makes it seem like things were not that bad and went “well,” he had to dig pretty deep into his reserves.

Because he recovers quickly, boastful reports could be written in the evenings, but it wasn’t all that easy.

But wasn’t that exactly the point? If it really was all that easy…

As he has a charity event planned for 2012, he needed the exercise of real climbing.

That event involves climbing the infamous Alpe d’Huez up to as many as six times in one day.

So, even if this was a multi-day event, with a break in the middle for a mahjong tournament near Venice, he got exactly what he asked for, most of the days 🙂

In total he cycled 12 days, one of which was half a rest day, with only the Fedáia.

The Zoncolan was the most demanding climb, mainly because of the crazy high temperature, combined with the insane grades; moreover, he had already been cycling hard for a few days when he tackled that.

The Mortirolo, on the other hand, was not so bad, maybe because of the 4 preceding days without cycling, or maybe because he didn’t fear anything anymore, after the Zoncolan.

The longest stage was 99.15 km, with 2,866 meters of D+.

Most D+ was in a trip of 64.1 km, with no less than 3,061 altimeters.

Not unexpectedly, the hottest stage was the trip up the Monte Zoncolan – the gateway to hell – with 36 degrees Celsius maximum and an average of over 33 degrees.

And, not any less unexpected, it was coldest on the summit of the Stelvio, especially the last day, when the temperature dropped towards freezing point.

He also had to go down by bike and he became dangerously close to a case of hypothermia. (Note to self: next time, take gloves with long fingers with you. Even in summer!)

It was a beautiful, demanding Giro d’Italia 2011 – where possible he (and his faithful companion Paula, of course) enjoyed the scenery as much as possible.

The overwhelming landscape, the views and the usually tasteful “snack” at the summit – it’s all worth the effort.

Whether this means he can face the Alpe d’HuZes event with (more) confidence is not yet clear, but if he can continue this kind of progress, he will be fine!

The reports

Prologue (Pinei +)
Stage 1 (Valparola, Giau and Falzarego)
Stage 2 (Sella Ronda)
Stage 3 (Penserjoch, Jaufenpass and Furkelpass)
Stage 4 (Fedaia)
Stage 5 (Zoncolan)
Stage 6 (Mortirolo)
Stage 7 (Foscagno, Forcola di Livigno, Bernina v.v.)
Stage 8 (Gavia and Tonale)
Stage 9 (Ofenpass en Umbrail + Stelvio summit)
Stage 10 (Gavia and Stelvio)
Stage 11 (Stelvio Mapei Day and Torri di Fraele)

Zoncolan summit
At the time, I didn’t realized there was something missing at the summit ‘memorial’…