|The Adige bike path in the early morning|
|Entering the Stelvio National Park|
|Pass open? Check.|
The bike's lowest gear was a 34-27 which is not bad for a road bike, but for 25 km of constant 8% gradient it wasn't exactly what would have been good for me. Well, the spectacular scenery and the loads of other cyclists (some slower, some faster) pushed me on and I actually rode up all 48 switchbacks to the pass at 2750m with just one stop.
For the way back I went down the slightly less spectacular but still scenic and quiet Umbrail pass. Once I reached the Adige valley again I was already pretty spent. But there were still about 50km to go. While they theoretically were all downhill, the typical hot wind that blows up the valley made my life miserable. In addition, my butt was really sore from being on this tiny racing saddle for many hours.
Well, after 150km, over 3500m of climbing and 9 hours in the saddle I made it back to the hotel in the end. Unfortunately, my suffering wasn't quite over yet. I obviously had overexerted myself enough to compromise my immune system and caught a nasty stomach bug. For almost a week I couldn't eat anything solid. But hey, it was still totally worth it.
|Some remnants of the brutal fought here|
|Blurry picture of the first switchback|
|The valley opens up, providing great views|
|Plenty of cyclists|
|Nice, smooth pavement|
|Ortler. At 3905m the tallest summit in this part of the Alps|
|The iconic view of the final switchbacks. At this point you've already climbed for a long time|
|Time for a rest break before tackling the final climb|
|The pass is tough on everyone and everything. Stranded RV.|
|Switchback No. 1. Woo!|
|Top of the world (almost).|
|Turn off to the Umbrail in a picturesque Swiss village|
|My crabon wonderbike|