Tuesday 2nd September – Stage 3: Fiera di Primiero to Tolmezzo
Approx Stats: 202 km; 5,200 m, 12 Cols
Main climbs: Passo Cerada, Passo Duran, Forcella Cibiana, Passo della Mauria, Passo Pura da Bivio, Passo di Pura, Sella Chiampon.
Brutality for breakfast: coming right at the start of the day, with no warm up, Passo Cerada (averaging 9% over 8km), is really going to hurt. It’s evidence that we’ve arrived in the heart of the Dolomites and famous rock skylines will accompany us from now on. The Forcella Cibiana is another classic: a particularly charming climb through dense forest. After the gentler Passo Mauria, the day ends with three tough and very steep climbs. They each have some very dramatic moments, eventually bringing us to within striking distance of Villa Santina, with views over towards the next mornings’ ‘giant’: the Monte Zoncolan.
The day followed the usual format: up at 5.45am, breakfast at 6.30 and roll out at 7.30. 1km warm up and then straight into a really hard climb. Stunning scenery. Dry weather.
204km and 5,200m of climbing or so. However, these days are just SO long and SO hard. There seem to be three types of people here: really quick, talented, super-light guys, who get in before dark and complete the entire course. Then there’s me: not so quick, a lot less talented and I’ve now finished twice out of three days in the dark. And tonight, in the rain too!
I’m riding well (for me, see above), but I just can’t go fast enough to finish in comfortable time. But so far, my Guardian Angel, Loren and I have finished every day and every cm. Plenty haven’t (the third group), so we’re not doing so badly.
The problem is, tomorrow’s even harder! The Queen Stage, with over 6,000m of climbing. Hmmmm. Failure might be just around the corner. I’m charging my lights as I write! But better to fail trying than not try at all.