Giro Stage 19: The stage that never was

The Gavia and Stelvio closed. That is the headline. I will include pictures so you can see why. The snow at the top of the Gavia is 6 meters deep and the Stelvio is unclearable as it keeps snowing so they aren’t going to clear them now until they are sure that the snow has stopped for the summer.

We are in a ski town called Ponte di Legno where stage starts today there is no cycling. The guy at the hotel assures us that this time last year the temperature was 26 degrees. While now it gets to about 10 and drops below freezing each night. Tell me about it. We are in a room with a ceramic tiled floor. Great for snowy skiers but flipping freezing on my feet on 30 May.

In the morning, I suggested we drove up the Gavia as far as we could to see what we could and for photos. The cyclist seemed acceptant of his fate that he couldn’t cycle it at this point, but didn’t want to go where he could not go, as it were. The broken cycle was top priority. He wanted to try to get it fixed.

We found a cycle shop but it was could not help as they did not have the part. This place was 2 mountain villages away. It is a far cry from our culture of wanting things to be available at anytime. We drove to the next stage start. hoping to find a cycle shop there. there was a Hotel mix up. Our place had cancelled on us saying they were fully booked but could place us in another place 8km away. The cyclist had responded saying we would accept but he had not had a confirmation response. We tried to find the place from the details they gave in the cancelation email but it was hopeless. Some of the addresses are obscure so no sat nav recognises it. It was getting on and we were heading up the mountain that would have been the last climb of the day if we had been able to do the stage. Seeing the writing on the road got the cyclist in a right tizz as it again made it clear that he hadn’t ridden what he could have.

As it got him cross and we could be on a wild goose chase, we decided to go to the place I had booked to see if they can help. on arriving there it was all shut up. Not fully booked as their email had said, but I suppose as we were probably the only guests they decided to cry off. in fact we had been the only guests in a lot of our accommodation. While outside our third cycle shop I called Angel 1 who sorted a room for us. What would I do without her. Last year she sorted TNT to pick up my bag from Epernay where I had left it and deliver it up a mountain in the Pyrenees. Something the French hotel clerk seemed incapable of doing.

Well the bicycle issues weren’t able to be fixed. It was the bearings in the pedals as the. Cyclist had suspected. They hadn’t the part in the right size and the bearing had ground to dust. It needs a major repair. The cycle mechanic said it would need to be oil soaked overnight to try to remove it as the ring had got hot and fused to the frame. The cherished Focus cycle is in bits with most of it strapped to the back of the car. The other bits in a paper bag in the bag. My cyclist was now quite upset. It showed in what he calls ‘black dog’. We. You get narky at anything and you feel so fed up. There were no words so best not to try. We got to our hotel and the tension sparked but it was soon ok when we got to our room and settled in. He was also mithering about the ride the next day as it was a long 127 miles with 5 mountains. The likelihood that will all be open is slim. There is a lot of snow about. The weather forecast wasn’t looking good either so that wasn’t helping him.

This was an odd place. It doesn’t know if it is Austrian or Italian. All the signs on the road are in both German and Italian, but there is not one word of Italian spoken. I have a few more words of German that I do Italian but unfortunately still not enough. I just kept thinking that if the Boss was here he would be chatting away. Where is he when you need him eh?

All I could do was feed the cyclist up ready for the ride the next day. Little did I know at this point what was to come. Neither did he!