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July 15 2007 – Drive to Mazzo di Valtellina then Drive to St. Moritz


Ride Mortirolo

This morning we woke up had breakfast and decided that we’d rather get to St Mortiz a bit early and as a result, decided to not ride the Gavia. Our plan was to check out and ride to the Mortirolo, climb and then drive so we could see Switzerland a bit.

It turns out that there was a big race up the Stelvio today known as Mapei Day that is run by Mapei and Unione Sportiva Bormiese and the hotel owner’s son and some of his friends were racing. We began our drive, heading back towards Bormio, unaware that we were going to get a surprise. The road we needed to travel on was closed due to the race. After a circuitous conversation with an Italian Carbinari, we decided to turn around and regroup.  We found an alternate route and ended up right at the start finish line of the race. This is typical Italy, on place the answer is no and it’s quite easy to get around and be right where you want to be. As a result, we were able to see some of the chaos around the race starting area.

Once we were through, we went onto where I thought the climb was supposed to be. The roads were steep and narrow but as it turns out I had mad my first major navigation error in 3+ weeks ridingin France and now Italy. Rather then riding up the proper route to the Mortirolo, I had us on some steep alternate roads that probably woudl have gotten there had we been riding mountain bikes. After a hard steep ride, Paul and I discovered Tom waiting for us with the message that the road ahead was all gravel. We slowly descended and returned to the van since we needed to tighten the cleat on Tom’s shoe. After completing that task, we drove on and found the right entrance to the climb.

We then set out to climb again, this time on the right road. The climb was pretty difficult and it was warm. Luckily the road surface was much better than on the bad road I had us riding on for the first climb.  I made it to within a few K from the top before deciding to turn around. As usual, Tom made the complete ride and found that the top of the Mortirolo was nothing like the top of most of the climbs we passed over. Essentially, it was a cow pasture with a marker.

He did find a neat memorial to Pantani and took these pictures so us slackers could see what we missed!

After returning to the bottom, Paul wandered around town a bit and took some pictures. Some of these towns seem to be quite deserted.

We were following this train for quite a while and soon we were stopped at a light as it crossed over to ride on down our lane in the road.

We then packed up and started our drive. The border crossing into Switzerland was pretty simple and soon we were driving through more beautiful, but much cleaner and much more organized countryside.

This guy on the bike was impressive. He balanced for the entire time we waited for the train to pass. We gave him a round of applause for his exhibition of skill.

When we arrived in St Mortiz, we found it to be very much an expensive place which we decided must be the Monoco of the mountains. The houses and buildings were just spectacular.

Our hotel, the Minotel Soldanella , was very nice with a good hot shower and a good dinner and breakfast.

The views from the hotel were fantastic.

Being a big fan of Alpine Ski Racing, I took note of the finish to the St Moritz downhill course.

Later we took a walk around the lake. The city looked great and there were very large ski areas on the mountains above the city.

In a walk around town, we sighted the local band waiting for a bus. They all had their Alphorns.   It is Switzerland after all!

Later, we had dinner in the hotel … fun, but the Swiss are way too formal.

While we were on the walk, we saw this kid surfing in the current of the stream.