Friday 5th September – Rest Day: Pozza di Fassa, Dolomites
Never has a day been so welcome: by last night I felt truly beaten, I’d run out of clean kit 24 hrs earlier and I badly needed a chance to gather myself, my clothing and my bike, back together. So today I enjoyed something of a lie-in, paid €13 to have all my laundry done, cleaned my bike, changed my brake pads (with the help of Jonny, Master Mechanic and he of Noble Wheels), got a massage (thank you Louise), ate a wonderful lunch and did my best to rehydrate.
But now it’s all over: we’ve had our briefing about tomorrow’s stage and we head back out into the mountains: 191km and c.5,200m, including the Valles (second climb of the day and apparently very tough) and the legendary Manghen, towards the very end of the stage. I’ve added Bounce Balls and lights to my last feed-stop bag and will do my best to roll through the day as quickly as possible and finish before dark. Time will tell. Bob, a friend who’s ridden this same event twice before, sent me a note today telling me that the next five days would be a mental challenge as much as a physical one and that I should remember to enjoy it before it all comes to an end: it’s good advice – thank you Bob.
On the kit front, things have held up pretty well. Special mentions must go to my orange Assos S7 top: visible, perfectly fitting and doing a brilliant job of keeping me dry; disc brakes – amazing in all conditions and definitely the future for road bikes; and Bounce Balls, which have now twice dug me out of difficult times. The only failure has been my rear Exposure Tracer light, which didn’t like the rain on top of the Tre Cime and won’t come back to life (but now replaced – I may need it again before this is over)!