Mortirolo & Gavia


Today was a big day for the FinKraft Camp, I personally have dreamt all my life ( well as long as I been cycling ) about riding up and over Mortirolo and the Gavia Pass , those are the climbs you always hear about and both of them have made such a difference in the Giro every time the race has gone over these epic and legendary mountains .( no different this year) Paolo had a asked a few team mates of his to join us on this epic day and Gian Carlo and Mr Moreti himself showed up in style with the Moreti Team Van . I wonder where I am going to sit ? Mark is thinking ;not back here

We left early and it was quite a drive to Tirano, which would be our starting point. A quick espresso stop and some fuel for the Van. The girls were following us with a car other than loosing us in the first traffic circle the 3 hour drive went smooth, a couple of text messages to the states about a Project One Trek for Lugiano and some funny stories and a nap was pretty much the topic for this trip. We arrive in Tirano and find a parking area and we unload the bikes and get kitted up, the girls would continue to Bormio for a day of sight seeing and shopping. Tirano is a border town to Switzerland and there is a train that goes up the mountain through the glacier in to St Moriz, always an option for a scenic day in the Alps. We head out of town, already an up hill right away, kind of an indication what was to come.Mortirolo is not all that far from Tirano and we get o the base pretty quickly. This climb is not in the open and until you get to the top you are kind of in the woods going up a road averaging 12-18% pretty much the whole way. I have a 39/26, the other guys got 27’s or 28’s, but a compact would not be a bad idea!! This hill does not let up and it is like lifting weights for an hour. Kevin hit the gas and did not look back, the Moretti boys took it pretty easy, I rode fast some sections and then stopped and took pictures of the guys or views, in other words I did the Tourist thing. We passed the Pantani monument and eventually made it towards the top and guess what; there were already people camping out for the race (does not come up here until Friday) to get a prime spot. A few more pictures and we put the rain capes on and started the decent. It was not as hairy as the uphill part, but it was narrow ad twisty and turny though the woods and eventually through some open fields with some incredible views once again and finally we pass by some villages, we are in the valley and making a left onto the main road. A good pair of aluminum rims and some solid breaks is what you need for this trip. One down and one more to go, Mortirolo was everything you could ever dream about when it comes to steep climbs, so what would the Gavia be like? I could not wait!
So we made it down the hill (mountain) and make the left onto the main road heading towards Tonale and Ponte di Legno , slight uphil even in the Valley . We start climbing the Gavia , an unbelievable road , switch back roads with no guard rails , just safety nets in the turns for the race , which will come by here on Saturday. Soon it starts getting colder and the road is o longer open or cars. We go through this tunnel, a very steep section and pitch black in there; I cannot even see my front wheel. It feels like we are riding on gravel or ice, but it is actually salt. We finally get out of it and now we have snow banks on each side of the road about 5 feet high in some places. Paolo is feeling good and we are hammering out a good solid pace to the top of the Pass (I think Paolo wanted to sprint for some KOM points, but we just decided not to) Now we are at famous lodge of Passo di Gavia, they are putting up a huge Giro sign outside and getting the place ready, it just opened two days ago for the season (the snow might have had something to do with that!) We dry up and warm up with some hot tea and a couple of panni’s all at the same time.
After checking out the memorbilia from over the years it is time to bundle up and get ready for the decent, we are at 8600 feet after all, so it will be awhile before we get down. It is one of the most epic and hair raising decent I ever gone done, you look over the edge and see some villages that are about 2 cm big, there are humongous mountains surrounding us and we are just flying down this narrow road. We go through Santa Caterina mach speed, in between old mountain building and this just goes forever. My rear wheel bearing is screaming and is about to lock up I think, but I cannot really slow down either. We make it in one piece to Bormio, a famous ski town and right at the bottom of Stelvio, which we will do next year! I would have liked to check this town out a little, oh well next time! It is about 4.00 pm already and it is still a long way back to Tirano where we have our team van. Since it is still kind of down hill we keep a good pace, almost feels a little like a race. I guess the closest feeling in being in the Giro and I think after climbing Mortirolo and Gavia in one day the adrenalin was flowing pretty well! A couple of raindrops and overcast sky’s makes this valley look even more humbling. A few attacks and a final sprint for the Tirano town line and were are BACK! About almost 3 hours after having our tea party at the Passo di Gavia.A great day at the office and now it was time for some Pizza (we are in Italy after all) on the way back to the hotel, we knew it was going to be a late night and our ride time as over 6 hours, so we needed food and a lot of it! The Italians were looking at us and thinking, man those Americans can eat!!
If we would have done one more climb ( Santa Cristina ) it would have been the route of the Marco Pantani Grand Fondo , a ride/race that would be a lot of fun to do one day !
Sorry the updating of the camp blog is lagging a little but I hope you enjoy reading it !
Ciao Ciao Ciao Ciao