14 July 2011
By the following morning we were looking at clear skies again, so we started up Gavia. The road is quite high along the side of the valley, so we had dramatic views of the valley.
As we got closer to the pass, the clouds started to block out the sun.
At the pass, it was quite cloudy, but it was not raining.
We saw that clouds had covered the entire backside of the mountain. From our vantage point near the pass it looked like we were going to be cycling off the edge of the world.
I descended slowly through pea soup fog. At one point there was a tunnel. Even though the tunnel was straight, you could not see the light at the far end on account of the fog. I found a cyclist without lights walking his bike down the tunnel in what must have been near total darkness, and gave him a bit of light.
I entertained myself by imagining what kind of views I might be enjoying if it weren't so foggy.
A bit after the tunnel, the fog cleared. The remainder of the descent was steep (signed 16% in one place) and twisty.
Piaw and I bypassed Ponte de Legno, the town at the bottom, and headed straight up Passo del Tonale. Partway up the climb I stopped to lend a racer some tools to fix his flat.
There is not very much to see at the top of Passo del Tonale. There is one WWI monument, but apart from that there is just a big ski town at the pass.
After Passo del Tonale, we descended down the valley towards Malè and Cles, taking a bike path for part of the way to bypass the many towns.
At Cles it was getting to be humid and rainy in patches, but at least it was warm.
We pressed on and stopped in Fondo, where we got a room at a farmhouse (Agritur Arcobaleno). And by farmhouse I mean it was the nicest farmhouse I have ever seen. The inside was immaculate and still had "new house smell".
This was the longest day we would do in total distance (64 mi), and an amount of climbing second only to the day climbing up Grimsel/Furka, so I was pretty exhausted, and had been getting somewhat irritable towards the end of the ride. We walked to a nearby restaurant for dinner.
Just across the street from our farmhouse there was a sprawling green field, and we stopped for a few minutes on the way back to admire the scenery.
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