To my surprise I woke a bit before my alarm and felt pretty good. My sleep would be close to ideal for most of the trip. I wandered down and found a couple others from our group and we had coffee while the hotel got breakfast ready.
Our breakfast was comprised of scrambled eggs, muesli with yogurt, rolls and breads. There were cheeses and sliced meats for the more Euro amongst us but I left those alone. After eating I went back to our room.
The trailer carried our bike boxes and then stayed in Brixen until the end of our journey
Part of the routine is for everyone to place a bag in each wans that contains things they might need during the day. The contents might include rain jackets, different gloves, beanies, bars, nuun tablets and any special food. I later included a plastic bag in case I shed any wet clothing. That was a good idea as it prevented everything else from getting wet and/or gross.
We assembled outside and when it started to rain we moved under cover. We checked our radar apps and the storm cell looked like it would pass soon so we postponed our start.
Bikes ready to rollWith German precision the rain stopped right on schedule and we took a couple group photos and rolled out.
Within five minutes we were on the first climb of the day. As expected the murderers shot off the front. Wisdom and a firm grasp of reality made it easy to let them go. Soon I was settled into a small group that included El Jefe, Coz, KB, and Marco. We all had fresh legs and wanted to use them.
There were lots of buildings that looked like this.
It is only a matter of time before Leavenworth Washington
finds out about this and sues their lederhosen off!
We climbed and descended and climbed again. Some roads were busy and some were deserted like private driveways. We had all downloaded the routes onto our GPS devices (100% Garmin thank you very much) and we followed the purple lines.
Rain came and went and at one point there was a flash of lighting directly overhead that took us all by surprise. My Garmin gave me a low battery warning. Best to stick together I thought.
At one junction we took a wrong turn and our devices indicated this. Soon we were back on route and looking anxiously as the six foot wide paved path pitched upward at an unfathomable grade.
We were already in our lowest gears and we strung out as we battled just to keep moving. Later I would find this segment on STRAVA. It is named “!!!!” and the average grade is 23%. Nearing the top my greatest fear on the trip began to materialize. My left Adductor began twitching and I braced for the cramps I feared would be coming soon.
Coz on top of the world
KB and Marco reached the top walking their bikes and Marco had a heart rate over 200 and we paused to let him recover. This was the first day and this climb had shaken my confidence. Was I in too deep?
Cautiously we continued on and the kilometers ticked by. We entered the valley that held our days destination. Horst had included a little stinger of a climb in the hills on the south side of the valley. The narrow road kicked up and I feared I would start cramping. The road switched back and forth in the thick forest and soon we topped out with a view of the valley below.
I prayed for good legs
We descended and followed a bike path the paralleled the main road in the valley and soon we were in the village known as Dobbiaco. We followed the purple line and found our hotel.
I hosed the mud off my bike and lubed the chain. I was wet and starting to chill. I filled one of my water bottles that was covered with road grime with recovery drink mix added water and swigged it down. I stripped my bike of the front and rear lights, the Garmin and other water bottle and put them in my pockets. I grabbed my wan bags from the wans and found my luggage and slung that on my back and with arms full I checked in and found my room.
The hot shower felt good and I washed my ride clothing and hung it on the clothesline I had packed. I turned on the pocket fan I brought and hoped it would dry. I put on compression tights and gave thanks that although I had been teased I never did cramp.
The view to the south as we approached Dobbiaco
I found a note Hottie had hidden in my duffle bag and smiled. I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. This first day had felt harder than expected. Maybe it was the jet lag or maybe I was underprepared. Either way there was nothing I could do so I sucked it up and went down to find dinner as the rain increased outside.
In this part of the Italian Dolomites German is the dominant language and culture
In absolute Euro style dinner starts at seven thirty and finishes close to ten. We consider going outside for a walk (read digestion) but the rain is bombing so we just shuffle off to bed hoping for a dryer day tomorrow.