13 July 2011
There had been some early morning rain, and the forecast called for afternoon rain, but it was clear at breakfast, so we headed out, up towards Gavia. The ride was uneventful for the first few kilometers; the bottom of the valley was dotted with small towns and there was moderate traffic on the road.
At St. Caterina Valfurva I saw a field that had been set up with all types of ramps, jumps, seesaws, etc. and a sign advertising some sort of bicycle day camp for kids where they could ride on all of those contraptions. It looked pretty awesome, and unlike anything that most American parents would ever consent to letting their kids go to.
I started to notice a bit of rain.
A couple of hours into the ride, after St. Caterina, I got a flat tire. When I stopped to repair it I found a shard of glass still lodged in the tire, and pulled it out with pliers. I had been having pretty good luck with the Continental GatorSkins— this was the first and only flat of the trip, and in fact, my first flat in about a year and 3000 miles of riding distributed over two pairs. But I suppose the GatorSkins cannot protect you from everything.
Having to stop allowed us to re-evaluate the road conditions. The weather was showing no signs of getting better, and it would not have been very fun to climb Gavia in the rain and not be able to see anything. Piaw was up ahead, but we agreed (on the phone) to turn around and return to St. Caterina.
We checked into a hotel and spent the afternoon taking it easy indoors, mostly reading. It was a good decision because there was heavy rain for most of the afternoon.
We went to a nearby grocery store to pick up some food and noticed Splügen brand beer! But, not having climbed Splügen pass, we didn't think we had earned this beer.
There was also a display/shelf with Nutella. To give you some sense of scale, the tubs of Nutella at the very bottom of the following photo are "regular" sized tubs of Nutella. The ones at the top are not display props. They weigh 5 kg (11 lb) each and cost €34.
By afternoon, the stream that ran past our hotel was running visibly higher (and brown-er).
Dinner was a family-style dinner at the hotel, similar to that of the previous day.
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