Day thirty three: reaching new heights

Glorenza to Imst

Today was my toughest day yet. 109km with an elevation gain of 2,644 metres. My legs. My LEGS. Is it bed time yet?

I’m definitely glad I didn’t take on the pass yesterday – the climb was much steeper than yesterday’s and it was better to tackle it first thing after a decent breakfast. I was joined by a group of Swiss riders for a while, who had taken part in yesterday’s race. Conversation makes the climbing a lot easier, not only are you distracted from yourself telling you how much it hurts, but you also don’t want to embarrass yourself and not keep up.

On the way up – you can see the cycle path on the right

I was rewarded with awesome views as I got closer to the snow peaked mountain tops. My legs did hurt though. This is the seventh day in a row cycling, and I can feel it.

Almost at the top

The route down the other side was notably different. I said goodbye to the cycle path and the Via Augusta instead became a series of small roads that went through towns – still dominated by bicycles and with very few cars. It was harder to follow though, and on my big descent, I found myself on a main road joined by a herd of motorbikes (I hate them). So the downhill was over really quickly, and I was going up again before I knew it!

So nice to go DOWN

I stopped for perhaps my most depressing lunch yet. My first meal in Austria only confirmed its bad reputation for food. With the menu including cheese stuffed sausages and liver dumplings, I went for what I thought was a safe option – a toasted ham and cheese sandwich. I was served the grimmest thing I’ve seen out here, slimy ham and plastic cheese on the kind of white bread that has so much shit in it, it will stay ‘fresh’ for about 100 years. I was so hungry though, I ate every crumb. I couldn’t even take a photo, it looked so gross.

The rest of the ride was mainly downhill, going through old towns, woods and hugging the river as I had done on the other side. I stopped at Landec, the ski resort, for a delicious slice of cake, making up for the shit sandwich.

I then ploughed on for the final stretch down to Imst. It was beautiful scenery and I’ve been really lucky with the weather, but I think it was just a bit too much today for me to really enjoy it.

I do want to take a day off, but there’s not much to do in Imst. Tomorrow is another pass, not quite as high as today, but still a hefty climb. I’m gonna get as much sleep as I can and have a leisurely start as I won’t be going so far in distance (hopefully 60km if my planning is right). THEN, I will rest! I’m tired, have no chat, can’t write, can’t think. I’m looking forward to waking up tomorrow, and for it being a new day.