Thursday, July 22, 2010

Race Support Report: TransALPs Stage 5 - Livigno to Ponte di Legno

Breakfast at the Hotel Pare was the best we had had so far on the trip. Eggs!!!! Drew had been pining for eggs for almost two weeks now and here they were. The pastries were very, very good here, as they have been most everywhere. The yogurt is much runnier than we have in the U.S., but delicious nonetheless.

Tracey dropped the guys at the start gate and headed into town to do some duty free shopping while I set out to explore on my bike. I tried to climb a gravel road up a ski run, but it was insanely steep, so I took a rest and snapped a picture of the valley

and filmed from an overlook on the valley.

Along the ride, I found some great cows. (Sorry if the video doesn't work.  I'll try to reload it later.)

And then headed back to the hotel to meet up with Tracey. Along the way, I discovered an aerial skills park called Larix Park, which I mentioned to Tracey. She was game, so off we went to try our abilities on platforms and cables up in the trees.

Cameras were not allowed, which was a shame, because if I had been able to capture the look on Tracey’s face as she prepared to leap off the wooden platform 40 feet off the ground to catch a net in mid air and cable across to another platform on a tree 20 feet away, I would definitely post it! Another stunt had us swing on a thick rope like Tarzan from one platform30 feet in the air, then let go of the big rope to grab onto a large vertical rope net with both hands, then climb the net to a platform above. There were other tricks where we walked across from tree to tree on swinging logs, wobbly cables, and hanging stirrups, or clipped ourselves onto a zipline to zip from one tree to the next.

It was a lot of fun and adventure, but cost Tracey a sprained finger.

The next adventure involved Tracey driving for two and a half hours over two huge mountain passes

on sometimes very narrow and windy roads. (This is not the narrow part.)

Into Italy

We ran into a few traffic jams

And one angry Italian truck driver who rolled down his window to scream at us to move over so he could get his too-large-for-the-road truck by us.

After the injury and a stressful day on the road, Tracey and I were relived to arrive at Hotel Garni Pegra in time to get settled before the guys came in.

The hotel was expensive, brand new, and very stylish,

but the woman in charge was awful to us and the racers. Is it just that Italians are unfriendly? Anyway, it was in a good location 400 m from the finish line and along a path the racers rode on to the finish line.

Drew and David finished the day in 8 hours and 40 minutes on the bike! A long one for sure. This was the most difficult and longest stage of the race; it forced many teams to abandon and many others missed the 9-hour cut off time to be official finishers. But they did it!

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