A topper of a day, one of the best.
What a topper of a day. It really has been one of the best ever in my short riding career.
I still can’t believe that Ed managed to persuade me to drag my ass out of bed at 6:30 this morning to ride my bike. The morning looked hopeful. Fluffy clouds and a bit of blue peeking through. It was certainly a fabulous decision NOT to ride the Grossglockner in the lashing rain yesterday. As it was, my jacket sleeves and breeks were still damp. A quality soaking.
We were packed up and on the bikes by 7am, with a wee cup of coffee to be doing us. We were promised a packed breakfast, however, by 7am, it wasn’t there. Sod it. Let’s go. In case we fall off with hunger, we have a bag of (Dutch) crisps and an emergency bar of Milka.
Off we went. We paid our toll; €21 euros each. Worth every penny.
The road was completely empty. It gave me a chance to improve my hairpin cornering skills. Through the years of touring, my cornering has improved in leaps and bounds, BUT hairpins are another thing completely. Getting it ‘just right’ with the speed/braking and acceleration all seemed to come together today (the positioning and gearing was ok). I discovered that as much as I was scanning in front, seeking the limit point, or analysing my line for exiting the corner, and anticipating the next hazard…..my eyes came back to just in front of the front tyre, checking the road surface. So what if there was something I was about to ride over, the best approach is just getting on with it. It would be too late to do anything, especially seeing as there was likely to be a 3000ft drop to consider. I realised the issue was exactly that; not returning my vision well ahead. Quite honestly, a lot of it was probably pure fear! Scanning ahead, then bringing my vision back…rinse & repeat. I just wasn’t doing it well enough. Over the last two days, I have been working on it; what a difference. I know, it’s just daft, but sometimes you need that eureka moment! It makes me realise that it’s why I am / have been hesitant in corners, or, not as good as I could be….Maybe I’ll have cracked it? My neck was well and truly stretched today! It was good.
The view from the two peaks that we went to were just superb. Breathtaking. Early in the morning, you could hear the marmots squeaking, I even saw two on the way up the hill. Well, in all honesty, I could hear them. I had to tell Ed to take his ear plugs out. I bet they were making the most of the peace, knowing very soon, the wee fat, furry creatures would be hiding from a deluge of traffic. We went over the top, down the other side, up to the Grossglockner glacier peak, then headed back the way we came. When we got back to the other side, it was like whacky races. The rest of the world had wakened up. Bloody hell. We popped back to our hotel and had a much deserved breakfast.
Ed planned the next part of our day. He thought it was going to take about 3 hours. Wrong. We headed over the bedlam of the Grossglockner again, there were some cyclists being overtaken by cars, they were being overtaken by bikers. EEK! We calmed our jets. We took our time. Watch in your mirrors at all times.
Once clear of the pass, we headed towards Italy. We’ve been to Italy a couple of times; the Stelvio being one visit, other times missing each other on a roundabout…. and having to phone each other. The rest, a foot down in passing. That’s all really.
Fanny took over. She took us on some amazing, yet accidental routes. Our ‘short day’ or, ‘early day’ given our early start, was growing arms, legs and horns. We saw some amazing eye candy (not that kind, other than the bikes). Stunning views where there had been plate techtonic glacial arguments, producing mind blowing peaks, with lots of sharp pointy bits!
The good news, I think, was pre-booking our accommodation. We have stayed previously with motorrad-hotel.com and decided we should give them a go again. Destination Campitello, the Hotel Gran Paradis. We know our wallet is going to burn in a puff of smoke. It has to. It’s gorgeous. A family run affair, a swimming pool (tick), garage (tick), cracking food, including gluten free pasta (tick). We’ve decided when it comes to paying the bill for our two nights that I’m paying. Then Ed doesn’t see the damage until the credit card comes in.
Right now, we’re done in. I need my bed, badly. My wrists, arms, shoulders, and knees feel that they’ve had a workout. Oh, they have, an 11 hour motorcycling work out, with a wee breakfast break thrown in.
I was given the option of the day off tomorrow. Tempting, but have you seen the views?