Distance: 106.29 km and 3451 m of climbing.
Today I felt like the race had really started.That the first 5 stages were training and just having fun. The day's goal was for us to stay within the time limit. Since it was the longest stage we started an hour early (8.00AM) and the finish line stayed open an hour later (7:00 pm). The biggest difference in today's stage to previous stages was that the biggest climb was at the end.
At the beginning of the stage there were traffic jams leaving Livignio and we were therefor forced to walk up parts of the first climb. We were riding pretty hard as soon as we could trying to reach our first goal timepoint that we had set four ourselves. We tried to stay on track in order to make the two official time cut-offs that the race officials had set. Andi did a great job planning our pace for the day. In retrospect, I had probably gone out a little too hard and burned a match or two early on. It was again obvious that a lot of the riders did not possess any technical riding skills. It was not uncommon to see people pushing bikes on sections that were easily rideable. We were on such a tight schedule we didn't have any time for picture taking.There wasn't much time for pictures today!
The first two climbs were followed by a long flat section (20km). One more 400m climb and then we were off onto the longest downhill (1700m), 38 min of riding down. After the downhill there was one more rest stop and the well known Mortirolo pass was ahead of us. It was 1500m up in the grueling afternoon heat. I was running out of energy and was trying to stuff as many calories into me as I could, but I could never get back out of the hole. Needless to say, that the end of the stage seemed to last forever! The last 10 km was the longest 10 km I can ever remember. There was gentle climbs into the town of Ponte di Legno. I have to say, I don't think my tank was ever as empty as it was that day. It took 15 min of sitting down, before i could eat something and move on. After eating some good Italian food for dinner, I felt like I had some life back in me and ready for the next day. And yes, we did make the All the time cut-offs :)!!
|Done and done, longest stage of this year's Transalp
|The smiles are back!