Thursday, 2 September 2010
Transalp '10 - Day 7 - 1 September 2010 - Dimaro to Val d'Algone
Distance: 40-45 km
Ascent: 1700 metres
Descent: 1300 metres
Time: 8.5 hours
The 'Jolly' breakfast lived up to its reputation. More bits kept arriving. They are proud of their sumptuous continental breakfast fare.
Gloves and windshirts were deployed for the long forest track up to the posh town of Madonna. It was cool, even down at 800 metres. But sunny, if you were not in the shadow of the mountains. We were in that shadow, cast by the northern ramparts of the Brenta Dolomites, for well over two hours.
There weren't extensive views from the woods (mainly pine, with dashing black squirrels) through which the LRT (land rover track) styled cycle path passed. We just rose slowly (a bit more quickly in Markus's case) up the 950 metre slope, occasionally on foot on the steeper sections in my case. A few cyclists passed me, travelling much faster than I could contemplate.
I am the slowest Transalper, or should that be 'Transalpiniste'? Hundreds have passed me during the past week. I have yet to gain that satisfaction, and am not expecting it to come my way.
I'd pushed on as hard as possible to get to Madonna. We arrived after 3 hours, before 11.30, in plenty of time to get my brake attended to at the bike shop before it shut for lunch. A swarm of Swiss cyclists with another brake problem delivered the bad news. Despite the array of new bikes outside, the shop was shut. "Just take a new one" some wag suggested.
So, after pausing for cappucini in the Suisse Bar, we continued south along a pleasantly downhill and windy path, to Bar Ristorante Cascate - situated in a wonderful position adjacent to some extensive waterfalls and with a view to the glaciated plateau from which the Adamello peaks protrude. Very pleasant, and there was not enough wind today to blow our pasta bolognaise into the river.
Having refuelled, we BOTH flew down a few hundred metres of descent. We had swapped bikes. I found Markus's fine, and could keep up for a change. He declared my rear brake to be working if you apply enough pressure. I must try harder! I think part of the problem is my unfamiliarity with disc brakes, which I had always assumed would be sharper than my 'non-discs'. The opposite appears to be the case...
This is all a bit puzzling. I will now leave the subject and try hard to be braver with the braking tomorrow.
Anyway, we swapped back and headed up another LRT, blagging our way past a road closure by carrying the bikes above a precipice. After a pretty lake, Lago di Val d´Agola, with a wonderful Brenta Dolomites backdrop marred only by the presence of a large crane, we endured a steep 250 metre 'push' to the day's high point, Passo Bregn del Ors (1836 m). We lingered (pictured) in that beautiful spot, surrounded by Dolomitic peaks. High above us was Passo 12 Apostoli and its nearby rifugio, from where Alan Roberts brought a signpost home to Cheshire - collected during a memorable 'Via delle Bocchette' trip, if my memory serves me.
An enjoyable 600 metre descent down Val d'Algone on stony LRTs brought us neatly to tonight's resting place, Albergo Brenta, where Markus had booked us in long before I arrived. "I overtook three cars" he proudly claimed.
This was all nicely done by 6.30, whilst Markus enjoyed his afternoon nap, only to find that Orange (aka Tim) hasn't reached these parts just yet. Anyway, we've now had a lovely meal and need lots of rest in preparation for the final episode of this 'Two Men on a Bummel' escapade, which will be in progress when this posting finally transmits....
Now it's back to 'Rum Doodle' to study how this sort of trip should be 'properly' orchestrated!
Next Posting - Torbole, we've Arrived
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