Three countries within one stage

In Merano we laid our heads on the pillow knowing that the rain was coming the next day, but when we woke up it was “only” cloudy… even if the mountaintops were covered by a snow layer.

In Bassano, Thierry Robert Luciani told us that in the night between Tuesday and Wednesday there could have been snow storms near the Resia Pass. We pretended not to understand the weather forecast, as well as we pretended not to see the snow that has fallen on the mountaintops around us. Likewise, we did not mention to the others cyclists from the edition of 2015, the snow’ experience that we lived exactly during the stage after the Resia Pass (from Landeck to Bludenz). After a night of snowfall, all the main roads were partially covered with snow, but we ended up riding in side streets along the mountain covered by a dozen centimeters of fresh snow at least. That was such a memorable experience (click here for the video), that definitely going into the annals. Thus, we pretended not to give particular attention to the snow fallen on the mountaintops during the night.
Probably this thought did not touch those who did not take part in the edition of 2015, and also because the landscape we passed by in these days had more the characteristics of September than October. That’s exactly the result of the lengthening of the growing season that confirms the ongoing climate change.

At the start, we were a bit thoughtful due to an unmissable appointment: the 13:59 train to Lavin which would take us through a 20 km tunnel in the heart of the mountain at Kolster Platz.
On paper we should ride for 65 km characterized by 700 meters of altitude difference, which could have been more difficult due to an annoying rain, to reach the departure station. Obviously, the travel time should be taken based on the last ones’ speed in order to catch the train together.
However the rain come at the starting point, first lightly, just the right situation to waver our certainties regarding the clothing, and then more and more insistent.
At this point, we should make a decision: keep going on the bike path or switch to the highway? In the first case, we would have ridden across a nicer but longer way, whereas in the second place the path would have been faster, but busier. The voting ended up in perfect equality (3 to 3), with the majority of the group abstaining because indifferent to that choice.
In the end, however, we opted for the bike path that was as nervous as we imagined characterized by several “rise and fall” but framed by the typical autumn landscape.
The other variable that we did not take into account was the wind that on the crossing point of the Resia took all its strength, in harmony with dark and threatening clouds. After a small stretch cut by the crosswind we came into a part protected by trees and we throw trough the magic “rise and fall”.
In the meanwhile the fog rose, or the clouds fell, and we found ourselves surrounded by the humidity that forced us to get dressed properly considering the long way down that awaited us just after the Pass.

Thus we came into Austria and in Nauders we descended into the Swiss border in the canton of Grisons.
Exactly the same route that we rode in 2015 when we went to Paris, apart for the only exception that we took a wrong turn, whereas this time we were riding on the right path. After a long (and cold) way down we crossed the Swiss border where Maurizio fell in the last corner (it is not yet clear if it was Italian or Swiss territory) without any serious consequences, except for a bump on his hip that we hope it will not cause him too many problems in the following days. Here Franz said goodbye to us, and turned in the direction of Innsbruck, on his way home.

The group arrives at the minimum terms since the beginning, with “only” 18 riders pedaling towards the end of this stage, but in a couple of days in Freiburg further reinforcements will join us and we will came back over 20.
Having missed a deviation of the bike path led us riding along the highway, a nice circumstance despite the rain, which has stopped falling, and a slope that could be more or less around 3- 5%. The way has proved to be pleasant bike ride that everyone decided to stay there. This led us to avoid some hill and to arrive one hour earlier at Lavin’ station…none of us would have bet a single euro on it the night before.

At Kloster Platz, however, the last “nice” hill awaited us: about 200 meters of altitude difference that we should have ridden just got off the train…a real challenge for our legs.
The hill made the usual selection, but in the end we all arrived happy at the end of the stage with the awareness of how easy can be the idea of happiness: a relaxing shower and a warm meal.


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