When we awoke this morning it was minus 5 degrees Celsius. I was filled with trepidation for a few reasons. Firstly I was concerned about black ice and slippery conditions but more importantly I am an exercise induced asthmatic and cold air under exertion is a major trigger for bronchospasm and an asthma attack.
I take steroid preventers morning and nightly and before and during exercise use ventolin so followed my usual preventative precautions. I also ensured that the Bike Adventure leaders were aware.
We delayed our start by cleaning our bikes hoping the temperature would improve and in fact it was 2 degrees when we left. Leaving Davos we headed towards the roads indicating Fluelapass, our major climb of three for the day, at 7818 feet.
The climb was solid! I concentrated hard on regular breathing. The scenery was beautiful and I really enjoyed listening to the many cows roaming with bells around their neck. The higher we climbed we noticed snow flakes falling around us.
I was very pleased to make it to the top!!
The descent was extraordinarily cold. I think I can safely say I have never been so cold ever on a bike despite all the great quality bike clothing I was wearing. The scenery was brilliant and Tony kept stopping to take all of the photos.
We rode straight through Susch (27.4 km) having made the decision to stop for a coffee at Zemez (33.6 km). We caught up with Geoffrey and David there. David was shivering having descended slowly due to losing a wheel spoke and suffering wheel shudder during his descent. Awful coffee for 3.90 Swiss francs but it was great to sit in the sun and warm up.
Immediately after leaving the coffee shop the road started climbing up the side of a river valley. It was a 6 km climb and not too bad. Nice views again.
We then descended five km down to the Livigno tunnel. Bikes are not allowed so the Bike Adventures van was to ferry us through. As we were the second and third riders to arrive at the tunnel we were transported through fairly quickly. It was an “oh wow ” factor as we came out the other side, in Italy!
The four of us ( plus Gerry and Neal) decided we would head to Livigno for lunch (56.2 km). I love the photo below and wondered whether the Giro had been through here in previous years?
We found a cafe and had a light lunch. Great coffee and toasted sandwich all for five euro! Bargain compared to Switzerland morning tea.
After lunch we needed to mentally prepare for our third climb of the day to over 7500 feet. I probably “enjoyed” this climb the most, for want of a better word. I was happy with my lungs and the weather had warmed up nicely so suggested to Tony that he shoot off at his pace and that I would ” see him in Switzerland”. It was a solid climb again with the pass at 7595 feet, just a few hundred short of the Fluela Pass.
It was time to put all the clothes back on ready for the long descent from the pass. It is too dangerous to just fly down. There are multiple bends, huge cravines and drop,offs and you need to concentrate. One slip could be fatal. The road is also quite busy!
I sat in the middle of the road near the white line to ensure I had as much space between me and the drop off as possible. Sections of the descent ( as per the other two) were gravel with major roadwork repairs having ripped up the bitumen leaving gravel.
We passed through a couple of towns including San Carlo and Poschiavo before 9arriving in Le Prese.
We have just completed dinner which was really nice as we were all together ( does not happen often). Tomorrow is an easier day but the following day is the killer.