As our hotel is perched on top of a climb we start the day with a great 12km descent. After a few 5km climbs (they seem very short now) we have two very long climbs today, firstly the 26km Branchetto. The open barren windswept highland scenery marks another change of region. The descent down to lunch is incredibly steep and fast.
Later in the day I find myself out of water on the 25km climb of the Creer. I stop at a tap, but the sign behind it says NON ACQUA, I pondered for a few moments. Did it mean do not drink water or something like do not pee in here people may want to drink it?? Do I risk it? The decision is made for me, as Tim Smith zooms past. No water it is then as I quickly head off in pursuit, as it is a timed climb. What then ensues became the best race to a summit of the whole tour. Although I'd had lost time stopping for water, I relished the battle, very reminiscent of our battles in the Pyrenees last year. The climb, initially in woodland on narrow twisting roads, later opened up revealing an epic alpine style finish. At the top we ask a motorcyclist to take our photo. He promptly does so with his own camera :) does he think we are famous? Sod it today we are :)
The stage ends with some spectacular descents. Eight days in and we are nearing the end, climbing has become second nature and we start to wish the end will not come. We passed through the town of Arco, suddenly things start to look familiar, we passed through here early on day 2, another indication that we are heading home. Over the pass Ballino and we descend to the another lovely hotel. I now have the evening process of cleaning, washing and packing down to just 30 minutes. Recovery drink never far from my side.