Mike Simpson

Dolomites Diary 2012 Stage 10

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The last day arrives and it's massive……or is it? The first climb is the Gavia at a whopping 2650m. The riders head off, I stay around the hotel with Tim Smith. We always hang back and give the field 30 minutes head start. Playing catch up is always good to get the day going. Just as we saddle up a call comes through……'lead vehicle stuck in the snow, turn the riders back!' We head back to the hotel lobby. Within half an hour a new route had been planned. We head off in the other direction on a long descent, it's still only 7am, so it's cold. Very cold, one rider remarks as I pull up alongside him 'Christ my balls are so small right now'. But we have a gem to warm us up….the Mortirolo, it's the penultimate timed climb of the tour so I'm keen to start emptying the tank, I breeze up in 48 minutes, full of beans. Rather than descend straight down the other side we take the balcony road for 10km before descending to Aprica. This section of road was magical and it really dawned on me now that the adventure was coming to an end. Into Aprica and we take over a cafe to warm up. Good to see Simon had been safely rescued from the snow, the photos of two precariously positioned vehicles on the mountain side in the snow made us very glad we missed the Gavia this morning.

Soon we are at lunch, this day is going too quick, as the final timed climb approaches….the Passo Vivione. Truly special with a few surprises along the way, it's called 'the valley of the landmarks'. You'll have to go there to find out why. Thankfully my knees are still strong and I race up somewhat possessed, giving everything. It's a long one nearly 22kms and I miss judge my final 2km effort (it was 3km) but finished in style at the beautiful summit. On my own for a while, loving the roads, a fabulous descent followed and then up a very steep 9k climb to the last feed. Once there I chilled out and waited to end the stage with a group. We had a long descent and a uncharacteristic flat section which I was thankful to have Italian Bob in front forcing it into the wind. The final section followed a route from the 2011 Giro and our final climb was the Ganda, which while relaxed was still at a good pace with Rob and Johnny. For the final section we were joined by Tim Cooper and Tim Smith. Two americans, two Tims, both involved with the US military, both pilots and unbelievably both with wife's called Jennifer! A celebratory ice cream was had as we relaxed outside a cafe. Soon my room mate finished, smiling like he has been all week, it's been great spending time with Dave. 3rd CCC done, completed the trilogy…..the end……I think not!

 

 



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