Right after Red Hook Crit in Milan, last weekend, I took a detour on my way back to Amsterdam. I finally wanted to ride up the Stelvio. Here's a little photo report.
[All pictures made with my crappy iPhone 4. Sorry for that. And most of them were taken while riding.]
I wanted to do this epic climb on Monday, but this is what I found when I arrived on the top (by car that is). Heavy, heavy rain which soon turned into wet snow. Oh yes, and lots of wind and cold.
Since I saw that the forecast for Tuesday was much better, I decided to stay at the top and wait for better wetter. I stayed in the Hotel Passo Stelvio right on top of the 2750 m Stelvio pass, which was actually a great place. The only guests were the junior ski teams of Russia, Czech Republic and Sweden. The walls of the hotel are full of signed posters of skiers who had stayed there to ski on the Stilfersjoch glacier, together with an occasional Fausto Coppi portrait.
After a good night's sleep and a skier's breakfast, this is what I saw when looked outside:
Lots of snow and ice and very cold. The good news: it stopped snowing and raining and the sun was motivated to peek through the clouds. After getting some advice from the boss of the hotel, about the quality of the road, I decided to give it a go. Martijn den Bakker did a nice round some weeks ago, and he sent me the route they took. Thanks again!
The first km's of the descent were scary, with hairpins without borders, ice and snow. So I took it really easy and enjoyed the view. Which was breath taking.
This is what the descent to Sta. Maria Val Müstair looked like.
After Sta. Maria, I rode the relatively flat part to Prato allo Stelvio, the village where the pass starts. Excellent to warm up the legs after the descent.
The ascent started.
This is Hotel Franzenshöhe on an altidude of around 2000 meters. That's already more than halfway of the 26 km long climb.
View on the last few km's. They were heavy!
Looking back on Franzenshöhe.
Finally - the top!
I took Louis Reith's Art Series Fendor with me, keeping me dry on the wet descent.
On the way up, I saw them already. These guys are cycling from the UK back to their home country Malaysia. They took the Stelvio on their way to Milan, where they would meet up with Cinelli. They were both riding sponsored Cinelli Hobos. Follow them on their adventurous journey: http://www.sicksidersmalaysia.com/
This is the route I took. Or look it up on Strava.
And see my Instagram report here.