We left Torri and headed further north into the Dolomites to re-join the Giro and to do some riding. The first part of the drive was relatively boring on the Autostrada but just south of Bolzano we headed east into the mountains to join the Giro at their re-fueling stop at Caprile. This was a serious mountain stage with 4 passes, all steep and long. Our drive took us over the "marmolada" a very steep and switch-backy mountain I had only just read about. I had no idea we would be going over this pass. I'm bloody glad we weren't cycling it. Even the panda was struggling and the brakes were very hot. Have a look at it here http://www.climbbybike.com/climbmobile.asp?Col=%3C'Passo%20Fedaia'&qryMountainID='3122'
We arrived at Caprile just in time and after about 15 mins the first riders appeared. We had the Aussie flag out and I had my green edge jersey on and we got toots from the team cars. After all the riders passed and the road reopened we got on our bikes and cut across to where the giro was heading up the passo Giaio which was their last climb before the finish. Sharon had calculated that the 7 km shortcut we were taking "should be pretty flat". It was not. We flogged up the hill through some unlit tunnels(which was pretty exciting) and the rendezvoused on the Giaio. Good fun and lots of flag waving and cheering. One of the Greenedge riders threw us a bottle. We packed up and headed for our hotel at Livinallongo. What a treat. The drive was great but the hotel was (is) magnificant. Overlooking the mountains and nearby town and the staff were falling over themselves to be helpful. Lock up areas for the bikes, carry your bags to your room, oh and dinner is at 7.30 and included in the room price. We had a great 3 course meal with local wine and beer. Sharon had read that the hotels in the area pride themselves on customer service. She was right.
Today we woke to another fine day and another huge breakfast (I can see a pattern forming). We got organised and took off on our bikes for a 50 km ride over two mountain passes, one which the Giro went over yesterday. The first, Campolongo was tame by comparison to the second, the Valporola. We stopped at the top of the Valporola for refuelling and had a fun descent for about 20kms back to the hotel. It's really difficult to describe just how different the landscape and culture is from sunny and dry Perth. As I sit writing I'm looking up at snow capped peaks with Italian TV in the background drinking a Forst beer from Bolzano. I'll add some pics but I really think I like the mountains - in summer anyway. Tomorrow we head further north intending to meet the giro for its queen stage which finishes at the Passo Stelvio - more about that later. For now Ciao.