Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Wipeout...Tuesday 17th September 2013.

Almost appropriate: it was nearly a white-out at times...I'm wiped-out pretty much too. Yeah, it's a lazy link 'innit?

Today was the final day of cycling for this challenge...today's proposed effort was to ride the course of Italy's toughest one-day amateur event, Il Maratona Dles Dolomites which features 85 miles going forward and 15000' of climbing.

Our preparation had been immaculate in almost every concievable way- no cycling yesterday and a fairly minimal beer consumption to boot. What could stop us now? Well, a fresh snow-fall with accompanying killing northerly wind did pretty much that!

This was only half-way up the first climb, for Goodness' sakes!

Just take the photo please...shorts aren't ideal around here, hah-hah!

The one thing that the snow did was make everything breathtaking...

Hmmm...don't really need to padlock it, do I?

The Italian Job coach? Watch out round those hair-pins...

Where is Sister Sarah?

Not forgotten in a hurry. Brutal.

Squirrels. Skiing. Why ever not?

I was missing about 20% capacity-wise...just couldn't breathe fully and as a result Il Tractore stormed these climbs solo, and I felt the cutting cold with occasional snow-flurries more and more. I was mighty glad of our coffee stop atop Passo Pordoi: people inside looked at us like we should be sectioned (or whatever the Italian equivalent is) and it was hard to argue, hah-hah!

Andy said it before I could: we cannot attempt the full route...simple as. I think he was more gutted than I was (really?) but there was no other option. For the desperate descent he lent me a head-scarf which I would have gladly paid good money for: he said that he had forgotten that he had it with him as a spare and that I could've had the benefit of it earlier if he had have remembered. Cheers mate, hah-hah!

Monument to Fausto Coppi: again, make with the shutter button thanks!

The roll-call of cycling greats who ascended the Passo de Pordoi in the Giro...

Still jaw-dropping for me.

Watch it going round here...

What made this ride even dafter was that the descents couldn't be taken for granted either because in the shade there may well have been icy patches (there certainly were underneath a couple of bridges on the way up...) and even in the sun there was the odd patch of snow. Nice. I adopted the MotoGP style of one foot down, just in case...no spills thankfully.

It'll do.

Yep, another pass done...let's keep moving!

Another irresistible photo op despite the biting cold!

Smile tells that it's our last climb. Yes!

Outbreak of morale brings on an outbreak of titting around, hah-hah!

Fast lens work by Il Tractore!

Spied last Wednesday and again today.

If we had've tried to press on and complete the course I am fairly certain that we'd be looking at a different outcome so we made the right decision. Always a first time etc.!

That concludes the cycling part of all this: it has been my hardest challenge to date, so it's about time that I said thank you to a few people. Without Simon Ekless's blessing I wouldn't have been allowed on the second part of this challenge and thanks also to his support team: Ian Wright Wright Wright, Amy, wheel-sucker Nick (hah-hah!), Matt, Sue and their new recruit Kara! You were all invaluable.

As always, a big thank you to my long-suffering roomie Andy: you made all this a lot easier than it otherwise might have been, although if you have any more bright ideas like climbing the Kitzbuheler Horn try keeping them to yourself, thanks all the same...

'Two Eejits Of Verona' as Bill S. originally had it.
Top quality steakage in Fabio's place. Cheers!

At the risk of stating the bleedin' obvious, a challenge like this is only a real success if enough people are minded to give their money to the charities that you are riding for and thankfully a lot of generous people have stepped-up yet again.

Any tough moments that I went through were strictly on a temporary basis, unlike the real challenges which the people whom we are trying to help face every day, which again is an obvious point but one worth holding on to. I really appreciate all your donations and I know that the charities are very grateful too. Good on you!


Liar, liar...it was only 1600 miles.

Altogether now..."This is the Self-Preservation Society!"

Just one more thing...please have a gander at my latest challenge...HERE. Cheers!

2014: 1000 miles solo & unsupported out to France, then La Bicinglette...6 x Mont Ventoux in a day! http://sul2014.blogspot.co.uk/

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