Sunday, September 8, 2013

Cortina 2013 Day 4

Last day of biking in Cortina this year. Biked up to the Refugio Mietres and after a cappuccino back down to the hotel to pack up for home. Fun four day, all spent with Group 1. Never managed that before, as I wasn't fit enough or just to fast for myself. Now of to school.
Track at GPSies, pictures at Picasa and Sepps report here.

Time in saddle: 1 hour 10 min.
Distance: 11.5 km
Average speed: 9.3 km/h

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Cortina 2013 Day 3

Woke up perfectly today, right when the alarm rung. Dad calls it a submarine attack warning, but it's just an alarm. Went down to a breakfast buffet and after Jon tested two eggs, one of which was near to raw, I got a nicely boiled egg. Dad was still tired and had to get his bike to work again, as something to do with the back wheel went wrong yesterday.
Group 1 was ready to go at 9 o'clock again, but had to wait a bit longer as Sepp received the GPS rack for today from my device. He didn't have it on his for some reason. Set of a bit late in the direction we took yesterday, but instead of following the short cut steep road we took the main road uphill. Turned right at one point and instead of taking the lift like the people had done on the track before we went up the road. Karin had some problems with her gears but Hopsing managed to repair it in no time. Good that Hopsing is with us, he seems invaluable as a scout, mechanic and friend. Up and up it went again until we reached a second lift. This one we took as the next passage was unbikeable. Weird thing was that bikes up to 20kg were allowed up and bikes up to 30kg down. Everyone with bike reached the top and Sepp and me refilled our water supplies at a restaurant.
Then it went downhill, after some discussion, along a very gravely road. Even saw a car come up at one point, no four wheel drive. Hopsin got a flat tire on the way downhill, but that was repaired in a jiffy. Skidding down we reached a tarmac road and continued along that. Stopped again as we had missed the track at a curve somewhere, me being at the front this time. Biked back uphill a bit and then down exactly the same road again. Turned out the trail was a bit to much for some and there was a warning sign anyway. Reached an intersection of the tarmac road and the rail so Paulina, Inge and me went down the trail while the rest continued down the road. Inge and me slipped on a long and went metal pipe, but got our feet out in time. Met up with the rest at the bottom and while Inge explained the road to a caravan the rest continued.
Along the main road it went until we reached the same crossing as yesterday. And like yesterday we went up and up the tarmac road. I was stuck at the back but nearly managed to catch up to Moni in the end. Instead of going down the trail to the lift like the day before we carried on uphill. And uphill it went for a long time. Had a quick lunch in the shadow of a huge climbing mountain, I think the name was Trofana. Carried on pushing most of the rest to a restaurant between to mountain were we had lunch. We could see an apparently very famous mountain called something like Marmolada.
After lunch it was downhill again, as we had reached the highest point of today at about 2400m above sea level. First bit downhill was a wide, rocky and steep ski piste. Everyone else pushed and I somehow got down alive without using my brakes. Those had been rendered unusable in that steepness. Had a bit of a adrenalin shake at the bottom and thank god nothing bad happened, that could have ended really ugly. Carried on along the side of a mountain with marmot warnings sounding all around us. Paulina is the only one I heard from that saw a small one scurry along the path in front of her.
After that along some of the most beautiful mountains trail I have done up to date. Biking downhill through shrub field with the Alps in the background. Really felt like mountain biking in a film there. Down through the wood along woodland trails and at the bottom the rest in front of me stopped. I couldn't break in time so I evaded and went down another long, gravely and steep track. Seems like they want to catch me today. Survived that smaller one to the bottom as well and biked through a river. Jumped of my bike at the end and got a few pictures of the rest biking through the water. Went a bit downhill after that, but we reached the main road fairly quick.
Then it was back uphill again to get to the top of the Falzerego pass. Had a short stop to refill our water supplies at a fountain whilst being passed by a police car and a fire brigade truck. Reached the top after some convoy biking and managed to create a traffic chaos by trying to cross the road. Pushed uphill again, as the track said we were supposed to do that. When we saw that it would carry on quiet a bit longer and it was 16.00, Sepp put his foot down on it and we turned round again to continue down the main road. Whizzing down the road we saw a lot of old military vehicles come the other way, some collectors items. After leaving the road we trailed the rest back to Cortina, me going over the handle bars once. Nothing bad happened from that.

Track at GPSies, pictures at Picasa, Sepps report here and Dads report here (top one).

Time in saddle:5 hours 50 min.
Distance: 49.1 km
Average speed: 8.4 km/h

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cortina 2013 Day 2

Woke up at 5.55 today. Dads alarm went of at that ungodly time as he said he wanted to have the felling he could sleep for another hour and a half. I lay there awake until 7.15, when my alarm rang. Got up and dressed and went down for breakfast at 7.30. Had a delicious breakfast with bread, yoghurt, fruit, eggs (dads was still runny as we had to make them ourselves, Jon says he drank his). After breakfast we got changed to go biking and at 9 o'clock Group 1 left the perimeter.
Biked down into down-town Cortina at first, following our track for the day. The first track discussion was barely a kilometre after the hotel. We carried on and shortly after crossing the river we started going uphill. Along a short cut between the main road it went uphill rather at a rather steep angle, but still bike-able. Reached the main road after saying good morning to all the locals standing around and watching nine bikers go past. Our track then veered of the main road to a gravel path. Inge suggested we follow the main road as we come to the same place and we still need our energy for later. Most agreed but Paulina would have preferred the gravel path, so it was agreed that she and Hopsing would take that route. Only problem, Hopsing didn't go up the path as he didn't want to, so in the end we all went up the main road. Travelled up at a fast and constant speed as this is our longest tour and we wanted to get finished. Hopsing and Paulina raced ahead at one point and a few minutes later it looked like four race bikers came past waving. At first we wondered who that could be, turned out Paulina and Hopsing had turned round and headed back with two race bikers.
Went of the main road shortly after that and went up a rather steep tarmac road, but again still bikeable. Up and up it went, from 1700m above sea level to 2000m. Long clothes on when we reached the top and down it went along a trail with Paulina at the front once again. Super trail downhill, had to get off a few times, but the bikeable parts were really fun. Managed to cross a weird wood bridge with Inges help and then had a short stop at the bottom of a ski lift.
After refilling our water supplies it went downhill along the main road again at a fast speed. Turned left onto a gravel path and then it went up higher than last time. Super scenery all the way up and sunshine most of the way. Had lunch on the way up and ate the sandwiches the hotel had made us. After lunch through a short mountain tunnel and it went further up. Past the tree line and we were once again in the high mountains. At one point we had to get off our bikes and push uphill the rest until 2400m above sea level. Met some people walking up along that way and when we reached our highest point of the day we had a short stop to get our long clothes on again. Carried on shortly afterwards and a few seconds in, not everybody had got on yet, Paulina had a big crash. Luckily, again, nothing permanent happened but falling on your knee is painful.
Downhill we went, always getting on our bikes and off again to get over some obstacle, be it a big stone or a deep hole. The scenery looked like we had stolen some mountain range out of the rocky mountain, when we reached the tree level again I was looking for the “Beware! Bears” sign. Heidi had something weird going on with her brakes, so she didn't go to fast. Something was wrong with the spring that keeps the brakes apart. We carried on downhill, along a stream bed with a bit of water going down. We crossed it a few times, once with a stone bridge built by Hopsing. We biked on gravel, sand and through water with no functioning GPS signal as the mountains where blocking the satellite signals. Had a real adventure going downhill there. No other people, rivers falling of the side of the mountains and disappearing due to the wind. Gämse not being bothered by us. Crossing rivers coming from the tops. And always we were surrounded by imposing but beautiful mountains. Met a few people at the end, after some long biking along forest paths. Seemed like we were back to civilisation. Still further downhill through alpine forest along gravel paths until we stopped at a point which Group 1 had crossed three years ago when we were in St. Vigile.
After that along the main valley river back to Cortina at a fast pace. Average in the forest was probably about 25km/h. There were a few short steep bits, Hopsing being the only one who managed it up a long one. Nearly reached Cortina but something went wrong with Monis bike chain. It somehow got caught in the front gear box and a lot of man power was needed from Hopsing to get it free. That was managed so we went down to Cortina, passing a bob run pipe along the way. Reached a café and had something to drink before we went back to the hotel for a shower and Brotzeit.
Track at GPSies, pictures a Picasa, Sepps report here and Dads blog of the day here (underneath the one above).

Time in saddle: 5 hours 20 min.
Distance: 43.4 km
Average speed: 8.2 km/h

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cortina 2013 Day 1

Started of really early today, somewhere at around 5 o'clock in the morning we left Nesselwang. We had four cars: the Polish, the Brits and two German ones. As we were three British Citizens in dad's car (thought not for long any more), Betina had to use her old American English skills.
Inge and Heidi were placed to Vera and Paulina, so the two none polish had to use a dictionary (figurative).
First stop was at our usual petrol station in Austria to pay the fee to use the motorway. Was rather chilly and we carried on through Austria with a stop in the Rosenberg motorway restaurant (ham and eggs for breakfast, delicious). After that on to our final stop in the Dolomites, us four in dad Skoda talking about politics, relativity theory, etc.
Reached a parking place in the end and got our stuff ready, which means taking out and building together bikes, getting changed. I managed to get some water from a bar and we were s´ready to set of. Started of on a busy tarmac road going uphill and our girls had to get out of their long clothes after a few curves. It was supposed to be cold but I was fine in my short clothes. After getting out of their long stuff we carried on and overtook Group 2 a short while later. All the while a lot of buses and cars were going past. We overtook all those again as they were stuck at a …...... Some empty road downhill after that as the cars and buses were all stuck. And it went up and up and up. Up to about 2300m above sea level. There was a huge park place up there packed with cars. We had a short stop there and then continued on, along a packed walkway to the “Drei Zinnen”. Really, what was going on there was a country moving out. Dodging our way through the masses with difficulty as some just did not want to get out of the way we carried on a bit longer than was planned. Got some good pictures of the “Drei Zinnen” and then went back through people.
Went away from that overfilled path to a mountain trail. Lots of skidding and getting of involved, Paulina and Inge being at the front. On the way down we had a break for lunch and then we continued on, over piles of rubble, through forest with root, running rivers and dried up river beds. Reached the bottom with Inge only falling of once, but luckily nothing bad happening. Along a bit of tarmac and then 900m uphill. I stuck to the back and was mostly alone near the bottom, with Paulina paying a visit here and there (her racing up and down). Always saw the rest at short intervals and stayed with Heidi, Moni and Sepp on the last stretch of kilometres. At one point our four GPSs were surrounded by the mountains and got no signal, me apparently jumping back and fourth between two valleys. Carried on after some vote of confidence and we were on the right track, as we found out when the sattelites were there again. Reached the top after a stretch of pushing and had a drink in an Alm up there. Long clothes on after that and downhill it went along a rocky path. Stopped at one point and as I found out (me being at the back again, as it had gone uphill a bit), Inge had lost her GPS. After some panicky discussion, she, Paulina and Hopsing headed back to look for it whilst the rest continued on. Along the way we found out she had luckily found it and were carrying on. Us being at the main road again, Karin and Hetty waited for the rest to catch up to get the cars whilst Sepp, Heidi, Moni and me carried on. It went uphill a bit after that, but when we reached the top it was down, down and down into Cortina de' Ampezzo. Heidi stopped at a crossing to tell Inge and Paulina, which had followed us, were the hotel was. Reached the hotel exhausted and after securing my bike had a shower and then wrote my blog. Of to dinner now.
Track at GPSies, pictures at Picasa, a report from Sepp here and Dads blog of Group 2 here.

Time in saddle: 5 hours 10 min.
Distance: 42.8 km
Average speed: 8.3 km/h