Doing it all the hard way...

Saturday, July 9, 2016

DolDay 5 Spera to Deutschnofen

After leveraging the rest day we were rejuvenated and ready to resume our adventure in the Dolomites.   This day started with the longest climb of the entire trip where we would gain 1,600 meters a.k.a. about 5,300 feet on the first climb of the day.  
"Take the picture already. 
I can't keep flexing forever!!!!"
A two hour ride could be considered hilly with a quarter of that elevation gain.  It is all about perspective and by now our perspective was clearly tainted by the Euro effect and we pretty much shrugged off the severity of this climb and approached it like it was just another day at the office.
Celeste Warrior
The sun was out and we were sporting our Italian colors as best we could.  There were those who elected to remain in team colors and far be it for me to judge those who decided to be sticks in the mud (extend tongue and make farting sound as you read this).
We started off and it seemed everyone had fresh legs.  Really fresh. To a person all of us were riding up this hill faster than we had been riding on day four.  I don’t know if everyone felt awesome and just wanted to show off or if people gauged their suffering and because of the rest day they had to go harder in order to hurt. Regardless of the reason folks were moving fast up this long hot climb.
El Jefe’ and I stopped to refill our bottles and spotted this car apparently made by Castelli (Logos in roof and hood). We resumed the climb to the top and savored the spaghetti like curves and views back down the valley.  Rushing just didn’t make sense.
KB sans chapeau feeling his Euro
By now we had reluctantly grown accustomed to the motos and sports cars that zip along these roads.  Every time we approached a corner we looked across or back to see if there was some motorized vehicle approaching.  If the road was clear we could cut to the apex of the corner. If someone was coming we hugged the edge and rode around.
When there were gaps with no engine sounds we could hear the cowbells ringing in the rarified air. The rains of the spring had kept these mountains lush and green well after the snow had retreated.  This made for good eating for our bovine friends.  I like to think happy cows give better milk.
When we finally topped out and I reached the wan I stripped off my soaking wet base layer and put it in a plastic bag and stuffed it into my wanbag.  
I was much cooler and more comfortable the rest of the day just zipping and unzipping my celeste green wool blend jersey to address the heat of climbing and the breezes of descending.  I was impressed with the jersey.
L-R: Someone's ass, El Jefe' grabbing sunscreen from his wanbag, 
Marco about to do the same and Jens loading up on grub
Perhaps you wonder what is included at the food stop on these adventures.  Wonder no more.  The driver of the wan sets up a table and on it are breads, cakes, cookies and crackers.  These change from day to day and the variety is welcome. Nutella, jams and peanut butter are ready for spreading on these.  There are cheeses both hard and soft and salami or prosciutto.  Nuts or chips are there for your salty tastes. Tomatoes and pickles and seasonal fruits round out the selection.  There is a salt shaker handy at all times and I’m here to tell you that a piece of bread with cream cheese and a slice of salted tomato on top is a welcome treat.

In addition to the table there are jugs of water and electrolyte drink (they call it mineral drink on the continent) with spigots to refill bottles.

If these food options don’t do it for you just retrieve your wan bag and pull out whatever bars, gels, chews, pills and/or powders you have stashed and knock yourself out.
As the kilometers measuring distance ridden and meters of climbing continued to add up one of our group crossed the line between type one fun and type two fun and wisely climbed into the wan.  When asked what caused him to end his ride early he simply replied he was tired and had ridden enough this day.  It takes a wise man to recognize when the fun is turning to folly.
Coz from an earlier stage.  You can never have too much Coz.
As the day wore on most of our group started to pay for the fast start and most slowed down considerably.  Arndt blasted past us reminding us of his fitness.  Lutz and Jens showed that while they are mortals, they are strong mortals.  I felt pretty good and linked up with Coz and we powered on to the hotel.  The sun was out which was a stark contrast to our first days in Italy.  I can confidently say that I prefer the sunshine to the rain.  This would be a shorts and T-shirt afternoon.
Protein Anyone?
This was a shorter day without a “B” route alternative and after arriving and getting cleaned up I wandered off and found a market and bought an ice cream bar.  I inhaled it. No guilt whatsoever.  I needed the calories. Despite the rest day I was feeling the accumulated stress on my body and was more than a bit tired at the end of the day.  This may have been the heat or the jet lag or the fact that I am an old man. 
The hotel had a pool and we jumped in for the first and last time of the trip.  Aside from the pin up appearance of The Cheetah, the rest of us looked like stereotypical riders. Brown faces, arms and legs with pasty white torsos, thighs and feet.  All of our sun for 2016 was on the bike and it showed.  We is what we is.
Breakfast, but you get the idea......

Two more days of riding.  My thoughts bounced between the sadness that my adventure would soon come to an end and the satisfaction that it appeared all of my training was allowing me to complete this ambitious undertaking to a relief that after Friday I could start down the happy road of well-earned rest and recovery.  I was having a great time yet I still missed my Hottie and the world I had left behind.  Summer was coming to the Methow without me.

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