Passo dello Stelvio -- Two Riders reborn
October 7th Thursday – (Bormio/Stelvio pass)
I could tell you about the spectacular views or the epic switchbacks, one after the next, the festival-like atmosphere at the top of the pass, or the tunnel where I went over my handlebars and almost ended up as a hood ornament, but all I could think about now and --at the time-- was water. In a place where water flows like cars in LA, I made one stupid mistake this time as we left Bormio up the “easy” side of Passo Stelvio”: I forgot to fill up my water bottles. And so did Scott.
We actually did not forget; we simply wanted to fill them up on the way up the pass, hitting one of the many fresh water springs that are so common on mountain passes in Italy and in most small towns. Not on this pass. An hour and 30 minutes into Stelvio pass, from the Bormio side, all I could think about was water. The waterfalls and mountain streams were literally gushing all around us and kilometer after kilometer we became more and more wounded. By the time we hit the last 10+% switchbacks to the top I starting looking at the snow, hmmmm. I was desperate so I ate snow. To add to my delusionary state, I was suddenly passed by four hot male members of the Italian ski team. They were skiing (on some sort of roller skies) up the pass in tight shorts and short sleeves. That just may have been the highlight for me.
Meanwhile, Scott sought out his own adventure riding. He and a new cycling buddy from Australia headed towards Switzerland on Umbrial Pass. Back into Italy, they headed throught the valley towards the northern side of Stelvio. Almost 11k of climbing for the boys today. They later recounted their adventure over wine and pasta. A long day in the saddle but one my husband said he would never forget. "It was just the most amazing site I have ever seen. At switchback 38 (there are 48 in total up Passo di Stelvio), I decided to pick up the momentum and went off solo for the next hour or so. It was one of the hardest, most mentally challenging climbs of my life," Scott late recounted. It was truly one of the most incredible rides of his life. “I felt like I was born again on a bicycle” he stated as he pounded down yet another bowl of tagliatelle. I couldn't agree more. Today was one of the best rides of my cycling life too. Passo di Stelvio. Thank you.