Because a ride to the start of the Würzjoch/Passo delle Erbe would mean a 20 kilometer descent to Piccolino to start with, I decided to pick that stage for today. It would also involve the “whole nine yards” of the Gardena, from Ponte di Gardena.
Only two climbs – sounds like a rest day, right?
Well, okay – it was going to be a 130 kilometer round trip, but with an additional near flat of some 25 kilometers, between Bressanone and the Gardena, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem…
I did look at the profile of the Würzjoch, so I thought I knew what to expect. However, I may just as well go in unprepared, like yesterday – the figures on those tiny profile maps don’t mean jack anyway…
The first 2.3 kilometers average 11%, but if I get a dime for every 10 meters of 15%, I can afford another jersey (I’ll get to that) as there are more of these stretches to enjoy later on.
The official overall average of 6.1% is deceiving at best, as there is a 155 meter drop between kilometers 6 and 8.9 – this means the elevation gain is 1,077 meters and not 922. That may seem insignificant, but it increases the average to 7.1% over the full distance, to 8.8% if you “distract” the near 3 kilometers of the descent…
Anyway, I wrestled my way up this pass too, only to be met by thunder, lightning and heavy rain immediately upon reaching the summit. I decided to descent on the bike anyway, but that turned out to be a bad call.
When we finally reached Bressanone, I was soaked and chilled to the bone, my hands and feet were numb (which made braking during the descent difficult) and I needed to warm up in a restaurant for a while.
After having changed into dry clothes too, I couldn’t immediately find the right track, but after riding back-and-forth a couple of times, we eventually found the route to Ponte di Gardena, where I started the climb of the Passo Gardena.
By the time I hit the 14% stretch there, I was more than done and shortly after that it started to rain again too. I shopped for dry clothes – a jersey and an undershirt – in Selva di Val Gardena, in the same shop where I bought some stuff 4 years ago.
Taking advantage of the comfort of the shop’s inside, I also warmed up ‘internally’ a little bit, after which I took on the final 12 kilometer or so…
When I finally reached the summit, it was pouring rain again, but instead of doing the sensible thing and get in the car, I stubbornly decided to go down by bike.
Needles to say I was unable to speak when we reached the apartment, even if in Corvara it hadn’t rained at all and I soaked under a hot shower for 30 minutes to get everything back in working condition again.
Let’s see what tomorrow brings – all bets are off.