Gries – Chiusa 68 kms 1390’ ascent
Well, what a day! The good news is that we have made it into Italy although not as far as we would have wished for a number of reasons which I shall outline. We left Gries in good time minus the rain of the day before but with a flippin’ nostril wind, which didn’t help my climbing ability one little bit. Nevertheless a few kilometres later and around a 600’ foot ascent, we crossed the border. Not an exciting or pretty border town and we hastened through it.
We had been reliably informed, or so we thought, that we would find an excellent cycle route to take us down the other side of the Brenner. We did find it and for ten kilometres or so it lived up to expectations. Then it set off with a mind of it’s own which seemed to focus on crossing contours, and which bore little resemblance to the direction in which we wanted to go - down! However, we were prisoners of the route as there was no way onto any useful road. Admittedly, the ups were not long, but on several occasions they were 17 %. Now, I think I am quite a dogged soul, but I could barely PUSH my load up these inclines and old Herman got heavier with each hill. Then Sherman really stuffed up. It broke away from Alan’s bike and just lay in the road (fortunately a very quiet road traffic wise BUT right outside a restaurant). It caused some amusement amongst the clientele but not a lot for us. It transpired that the link had snapped entirely so leaving no method of attaching bike and trailer. BUT, Mr. Organised had a spare if only we could remember where it was packed. Thankfully our audience lost interest when they could see the problem being so astutely solved and in less than half an hour, we were on our way again. Two hills later Alan asked, ”Where is your helmet, Mary?” Sh..t, back at the breakdown spot. Minus trailer, I went back and found it and restored faith in hill climbing ability by managing 15% without the trailer. (I have to own up at this point that my helmet was not the only this to go missing. I dropped my sunglasses while having a wee, but they will still be there – too far before I realised they were gone! That’s the second pair!)
After two hours of rubbish route, during which we had climbed another 700’ when we should have been going downhill, there appeared an access onto the road. Traffic, yes, but gentle downhill along the valley. Quite tired now and a little disappointed that we managed so few kilometres but heigh- ho tomorrow is another day. Probably won’t be quite as exciting, I hope.