Passo San Marco

Pappini ( an ex elite bike racer ) is giving us some advice about today’s route , I think he said; “way don’t you guys just stay here and watch the Giro and smoke cigarettes with me instead of doing this monster ride ” , my Italian is not that good , so I could be wrong .

Passo San Marco, a famous climb from the Giro in the past , our planned ride time was about 6 hours , so a big day.We set off from the hotel @ 9.00 am, today we will have a 3 hour to Morbegno where the climb starts.

The roads are narrow (not just on the twisty mountain roads, they are narrow every where) and there is a lot of traffic going to Lecco with big trucks, so bike-handling skills are put the test following an Italian ( Paolo) zipping in and out of traffic circles, once passed Lecco it gets better and riding next to Lake Como is just very cool , watch Giro di Lombardi and you know what I am talking about. Rolling terrain thru towns with a lot of history and view that pictures cannot describe. The lake on the left side and the mountains on the right. Sorry the zoom on my camera was a little out of focus on this picture.

We make our way towards the Valtelina Valley where a lots of wines comes from, the sunny side of the mountain slopes are filled with win yards. Pizzockeri ( not sure about the spelling, I am sure about the taste) is another dish we have on the menu at our hotel that originates from this area.
After a fairly flat 3 hour ride we are at the base of San Marco in Morbegno , this is a beast of a climb ,it is not that flat anymore as you can see, as a matter of fact pretty steep and consistent , last time I rode this one it was pouring rain , so the visibility was about zero and freezing cold , today it was perfect weather and the boys are dancing on the pedals , this is the real deal and what you see on TV from the Giro is what we are experiencing!

After climbing for about1 ½ hours we start seeing snow, and first there are some fallen trees on the road, but that does not stop us, we just carry the bike over and continue up the climb. It was not a problem at all for a cyclocoss rider like Kevin!
All of a sudden we come a height were there are no more trees, about 4 K to go to the pass. There is snow all over the road, and avalanche! We can almost see the top and I hiked up over the snow a little, but it is so steep and there is no way we can make it any further! Snow and cycling shoes does not match all that well either.
There is no road!! We have to go back the same way we came, a 20 K decent and a 3-hour ride back to the hotel, like I said “ another day on the bike” 8 hours to be precise! This is not so bad, it is warm, unbelievable view and guess what; there is a mountain café/hotel where the trees where fallen and lady with a little Kid (Ricardo) comes zipping around on a 4-wheeler that is the who runs the restaurant! She was open for Business!
After climbing up the 20% steep gravel drive to the absolutely oasis of the mountain, about 20 K up and no one around we have cokes, pasta, cheese, bread and even desert.
I think the best lunch anyone could dream of, we were even thinking about staying the night, there were plenty of rooms available here. Even Giovanni Formagio looks very pleased with the spread!
Richardo was providing the entertainment while we were eating ( a mountain dance with his dog ) priceless!
We finally had to get going, the decent was a blast and back to Mobegno , then the death march started back to the hotel. 8 hours ride time and 11 hours since we left this morning, epic the least, but we all survived the ride back with some cokes and Nutella filled croissants along the way and there was even a sprint up the final K to the hotel.
Boy did the dinner tasted good after this ride , lasagna , crapes , more casancelli and wine of course! After some stories about the day and some good laughs about what we had experienced we all agreed we were going to sleep in tomorrow!
Kevin was wondering if these wooden bikes come with DI2 as well , he was think of maybe doing a demo ride later in the week up the Gavia Pass .
A day on the bike to remember.
Ciao again , it will only get better , so do not miss the next blogpost !