Giro d’Italia 2015 – Stage 9

Gavia Or Bust

I was thinking to get up the Bernina today, but as that would mean transferring to Tirano again, I changed my mind.

I decided to save the Stelvio for (probably) Wednesday, but the Gavia starts almost at my doorstep too.

So, I planned a trip over the Gavia, going down to Edolo after that to climb to Aprica from the other side.

But once down in Ponte di Legno, I changed my mind again…

The Bormio side of the Gavia is considered the easier climb: 1,400 meters of elevation over 25 kilometers.

That’s a mere 5.5% average, but 900 of those are in the second half, which means the average grade goes up to 7.2%.

Gavia - Bormio sideCoupled with the freezing cold and windy stretches in the final kilometers, the word “easier” quickly loses its appeal.

The best part of the climb is the stretch “in the woods”, shortly after leaving Santa Catarina Valfurva and before reaching the open.

I eventually had to change cloths, because it was getting too cold – at the summit, the “rifugio” was as warm a place as I remembered.

After a short coffee break, we descended towards Ponte di Legno, which is a horrible descent in the upper part.

Once I got down, instead of going on to Edolo, I decided to get back up the Gavia the hard way…

I then discovered I had not taken any other short sleeved jersey with me – only long sleeved ones, but they were too warm down in the valley – and I started the ascent in my Nike Pro shirt 🙂

After soaking that in the tough part of the wood covered stretch from this end – where the grades get up to 18% – I switched to a long sleeved jersey again for the chilly final kilometers.Gavia - Ponte di Legno side

Although it was slightly less windy on this side, I experienced the same (near) freezing temperatures.

The final is a little tougher from this end as well, but I made it…

I decided to head down to Bormio immediately – well, after changing into my arctic gear – and during the lower part of this descent, I was fighting a headwind as tough as the ones I get to endure back home.

I was glad this was in the relatively safe bottom of the descent: higher up, in the hairpin section, this might prove to be hazardous…

Gavia info page


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