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Garmisch - Florence ´97
By Dieter Greipl, ( email@example.com)
We (Juergen Schott, Carsten Buckenauer, Dieter Greipl) started on Sep-29
|Day 1: Reschen
|Day 2: St. Felix
|Day 3: Idro
|Day 4: Cremona
|Day 5: Bologna
|Day 6: Firenze
Our usual bike tour to Firenze started late in September
this year. We use race bikes (e.g. SPECIALIZED ALLEZ, Shimano 105, STI)
and have our baggage in a backpack (app. 6 kg). Our baggage follows the
recommendations of Jobst Brands minimal
checklist for a bike tour. We - that is Carsten Buckenauer, Juergen
Schott and myself - bike up to five-thousand km per year. Usually we go
to the Alps several times per year and ride passes. This year our
condition was very different which caused us some problems during the ride.
We sleep in hotels and cheaper "Pensionen". Enjoying
Italian dishes includes of course red and white wines and "caffee corretto".
So we try to keep our trip in a balance between sport and holidays.
Day 1: Garmisch - Reschen (137km)
This year we met in Munich on September 28 and took our race
bikes on the train to Garmisch, where we started into a sunny day at 9:00.
After two hours we climbed the Fernpaß and took our usual "Schweinebraten
mit Weißbier" at the summit restaurant. We headed on to Landeck and
biked the old street through Prutz, Tösens and Pfunds. The final stage
of the day was the ascent to the Reschenpaß (1510m, 9%) - a wonderful
narrow road, which looses steepness towards the Reschensee. Our initial
plan was to sleep in Graun, but shortly after Pfunds a spoke of Carstens
bike broke. In Reschen we know a big sportshop, which had helped us three
years ago with a broken spoke of my bike, and so we stopped there and asked
for help. Within half an hour Carstens bike was repaired. Since it was
already getting dark, we looked for an accomodation for the night and finally
stayed in Reschen in a "Gasthof" with swimming pool and a wonderful view
over the Reschensee. After a long shower we felt to tired for the pool
and had a good dinner in the restaurant.
Day 2, : Reschen - St. Felix (108 km)
Our second day started with cold but dry weather. We flew down to the Vinschgau
with a strong, cold tailwind, which caused us to be careful and reduce
a little bit from full speed. I remember, when we biked that road some
years ago during summer with a short bike dress - a wonderful road. After
a short discussion we decided to bike through the Vinschgau bypassing the
Stilfser Joch, which we climbed in 1994. This year we felt not sure enough,
wether we all are able to climb that giant ascent. It became warmer and
warmer and when we had a bottle of white wine in Lana (300m, south
to Merano), we could take a sun bath. The day had still one climb reserved
for us: the Passo d. Palade (1518). The one and only time I climbed
that pass was in 1993 and I could not remember his character. But after
two kilometers the recall was more or less total. This is a hard one -
and I realized that I had been better off without any wine. Staring on
the asphalt and seeing my sweat running down I tried not to break the golden
rule for passes: no stop during ascent. I finally made it and was very
happy to see Juergen and Carsten coming after some time. Especially Carsten
looked very tired. We promised him that this was the last ascent of the
day and rolled on looking for a "Gasthof". We got rooms in the "Gasthof
Pfitscher" (~1450m) near St. Felix and enjoyed the sundown with a Campari-Orange.
Day 3: St. Felix - Idro (136 km)
During breakfast we compared the status of our legs with the demands of
the planned route southward to the Lago d´Idro (~300m). Carsten
felt not too good and was not excited about our idea to bike through Madonna
di Campiglio over the Passo di Campo Carlo Magno (1682m). Finally he decided
to take the route Cles (~550m) - Mezzocorona (~230m) - Trento (192) - Sarche
- Tione (565m), which seemed to be longer, but without any hard climb.
So we started into a cold morning and went down from our Gasthof to
Fondo (988m), where rising temperature and lower altitude allowed us to
change to short clothes. In Cles wished Carsten all the best for his tour
- Juergen and myself rolled on to Dimaro (766m) where we headed southward
to the Passo Campo Carlo Magno. As the day before up to the Reschenpaß
our climb changed slowly to an uphill race: both of us tried to keep pace
or even increase speed when the other one seemed to be in difficulties.
My Polar heart rate monitor clearly indicated that I had entered my "red
zone" but there was really no possibilty to ride that pass slower...
We took a short Cappuccino at the summit restaurant and enjoyed the
great view of the Gruppo di Brenta. After some kilometers we reached Madonna
di Campiglio (1500m), where we had a great lunch and relaxed in the hot
autumn sun. This was our first tour where we had our mobile phones with
us and we called Carsten to hear that everything is ok After app. two hours
we started again and rolled down to Tione, our meeting point, where we
saw Carsten relaxing in a bar. He looked a little bit stressed and needed
some good arguments to continue down to Idro instead of looking for an
accomodation directly in Tione.
Our way down to Idro was not as spectacular as biking through the Brenta
Group and a strong headwind made each kilometer a hard one. In the previous
years we enjoyed sleeping in hotels near the north italian lagos as the
Lago di Como and Lago d´Iseo, and so we looked forward to the Lago
d´Idro. But because of the end of the summer season we had some problems
finding a hotel, and finally it was nearly getting dark when we found a
cheap, unspectacular accomodation. But beds where hard, showers warm and
ourselves tired and so we did not care. After dinner we watched the champions
league game Juventus Turin - Manchester United before we found an
early way to bed.
Day 4: Idro - Cremona (121km)
After a good nights sleep we started early and rolled on two Salo at the
Lago di Garda for a Cappuchino and a "Sueddeutsche Zeitung" and prepared
mentally for the boring ride through the Po-Area, where we knew what expected
us: flat streets and lots of traffic.
We passed Desenzano, Montichiari and Leno and moved on southward
to Cremona after crossing the highway A21. There where only left some kilometers
to Cremona, when Juergen felt again problems with his Achillessehne, that
had caused him difficulties already in the last years tour. He was able
to go on to Cremona, but he was not sure, wether he could continue to bike
the next day.
In Cremona we had again difficulties in finding a hotel. Everywhere
they told us, that there is a music festival and all hotels are totally
sold out. In the meantime it was slowly getting dark and we were afraid
that we have to spend the night somewhere under the stars. Everybodies
recommendation was to go on to Piacenza, what was impossible. Finally I
asked a young guy, Salvatore Moschella, in a violine shop, whom I expected
to understand our problem. It took him one phone call and we had a sleeping
room in a nearby hotel, which was obviously not prepared to be rented,
but we definitely did not care about that. Everything was better than sleeping
at a train station. Thank you, Salvatore!
Day 5: Cremona - Bologna (166 km)
After breakfast Juergens injury turned out to be so serious, that the end
of the tour had come for him. Carsten, who felt tired after the last days,
decided to accompany Juergen in the train to Bologna, our next station.
Therefore I started alone and left Cremona towards Sospiero and approached
Parma. My initial plan was to visit the downtown of Parma, Reggio and Modena,
but biking into the center of Parma took me such a long time, that I decided
to bypass the cities. In Reggio I really had enough of the busy street
with bad air and dangerous Lastwagen and rolled into teh Appenin through
Scandiano, Sassuolo and Maranello, where the Ferrari headqarter is located.
I got a call from Carsten and we fixed a meeting point in the heart of
Bologna. They had been lucky to get a room there, because of another festival
or whatever took place there.
A little bit tired after such a long ride I met my friends 5 pm. Bologna
is a great city and we enjoyed a wonderful evening there. Carsten had recovered
and decided to ignore the rail-connection to Firenze to make the Königsetappe
Day 6: Bologna - Firenze (107 km)
There is not much to say to that wonderful and hard tour to Firenze following
the SS65 through Pianoro and Loiano. After a hard climb to app. 700m the
street wins altitude very smoothly to the Passo di Raticosa (968m). When
we made that tour the first time in August 1993 the guy in the hotel mentioned
the nickname "Passo di Faticosa" and we did not understand what he meant.
We do so now! Before reaching the pass, there is the wonderful, lonely
trattoria "Al bel Minghen". It is a must to stop there for lunch. We never
miss a Campari at the summit restaurant of the Raticosa. It is full of
pictures and other memories of the Giro stages over the pass. The Futa
Pass can be reached after making some meters again and is not really a
pass. After the last ascent to Pratolino one can "feel" Firenze and suddenly
the cuppola of the duomo shows in a great view. We always stop there and
enjoy the emotions of beeing only some minutes away from that great city...
We spent two more days in Firenze and took the overnight train back to
Munich. For the first time we could take our bikes with us on the train.
Juergens problems turned out to be same as the year before ("Achillessehnenreizung").
Obviously a consequence of his reduced training program.
The only technical problem was Carstens broken spoke.