Last year some friends asked me to organise a trip to Mount Ventoux. It went really well that we all agreed to do it again and we decided that a Dolomites weekend fitted the bill. So early, early Thursday morning we set off, with my Ridley Noah entombed in a Trico Iron Case apart my last hard case was destroyed by baggage handlers.
Anyway off we went, Jitesh, Kendall, Alex and me. Richard was red-carded at the very last moment through work commitments which was sad but.............oh well ;) Arrived at Hotel Funivie in Bormio. Assembling bike I snag a di2 wire and render my Ridley useless . I cannot tell you how frustrating this is as it's exactly what happened last year, (not my fault) but one minute's carelessness could have ruined the weekend. Fortunately the hotel has a great range of hire bikes and they set me up with a brand new Pinarello Dogma think 6.2!
Roll down the valley to the start of the Mortirolo which everyone says his the hardest. By my standard (low) I was really happy. Steady pace all the way up no stops and no real trouble either.
This is where it went a bit wrong. We stopped for a sandwich and a coffee thinking we'd stop later for more food. But we should have eaten full and allowed it to digest on the descent and valley floor.
As it was we started the Gavia, short on supplies which hurt all of us later.
I was so low I begged some German motorcyclists for food and they have me a biscuit which got me to the cafe 5km from summit. Gutted that poor planning meant I didn't do Gavia without stops
Anyway ate too much too quickly and had real stomach problems for the last cold hard 5km.
Weather at the summit was closing in and although had extra warners and gilet I was very cold. Road surface was very poor today. Wasn't really until I got to Santa Caterina that the weather warmed up and the road surface improved to let rip.
Still all in all a great day to ride two of the most iconic climbs in great company. Alex nailed it, Jitesh and I did well and Ken completed. However given he hadn't ridden since Liege-Bastogne-Liege it was amazing plus he broke through the mythical 100kph mark descending the Gavia. Kudos indeed.
We all got home cursing our amateur mistake on feeding but delighted nevertheless to nail two biggies. I was also pleased that my rental had a 32 rear sprocket - easy peasy, lemon squeezy! I failed miserably in keeping my good fortune to myself much to the annoyance on my lesser equipped friends ;)
The Hotel Funivie in Bormio was brilliant. Super friendly staff. Bike storage, tool assembly and mechanic, top notch bike rental. Bike guiding service and free laundry. Waiter there's a shark in my risotto!
Saturday was warm, very warm in the resort. And busy. Apparently in the summer there is a motorbike fatality per week and seeing some of the very dangerous riding, I can believe it. The start of the climb was under 2km from the hotel and after a couple of bends, Alex was off, I was super steady, Jitesh fairly steady and Ken..........well he was moving.
Slowly, slowly, catchy, monkey was I. Really enjoyed it especially the flattish section after the first set of zig-zags. Held decent tempo all the way up to the finish despite being on an unfamiliar bike, not set up for me with a different saddle. Thus had a very sore rear end :O
Waited for Jitesh and Ken at the summit, Alex been and gone. Ken eventually gets there about 45mins later but still an outstanding performance in the circumstances. Jitesh and I set off on the descent which was severely restricted speed wise due to the traffic, including the rather incongruous sight of a tractor parade.
Back to the hotel for a massage, swim and a well earned meal. We revelled in retelling the events of the weekend and concluded that it was a most brilliant time and promised to do it again in 2015. Now I wonder where..............?