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Alps - Day 12 : The worst cycling day ever

During the morning it was cold and clouded. If we hadn't woken up already, we would have been by the cows' bells. 

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We bought some bread at the campsite's store, this time without anise. It took half an hour to reach the top of the pass we had started climbing the previous day.

Passo Staulanze

Passo Staulanza.

Passo Staulanza

It was still reasonably dry

It started to rain in the descent of this pass. We thought we needed to go to Forno, descend from there, and would arrive on a flat road. We also expected it to be warm today because we would be in the lower parts of the Alps. It definitely wasn't flat after Forno and we needed to climb in the rain. The pass we were on wasn't on our map or route description but it was tough.

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It rained hard

Passo cibiana

Wet, but not yet drenched

Passo cibiana

The pass that wasn't supposed to be there

Passo cibiana

Fortunately we had waterproof pants

Descending through the rain was very cold. In the next village I noticed that my front brake wasn't working. My rear brake was still intact but the pads were all worn out. When I needed to brake for a traffic light my bike made a half turn and I ended with my rear wheel downhill and my front wheel uphill. I barely managed to click out of my pedals before falling over. Maybe I needed to adjust my brakes. At the supermarket we bought a lot of food. There was a covered staircase where we put all our food down and started eating. Some people very obviously kept as much distance as possible when entering the store. We didn't look that bad yet, just very wet.


After 45 minutes we continued through the rain. It would be flat and hopefully the weather would improve, as we were moving to a lower elevation. There again was no mountain on the map, but there was one in real life. We climbed for two hours. First it rained normally, then it got worse. As soon as we would stop cycling we got freezingly cold. The trousers we wore underneath our rain pants had gotten drenched, just like everything else. Just when it seemed like it couldn't get any worse, it started raining even harder. Because we usually only take photos of the enjoyable parts, we now took a few of our 'less-nice' moments.

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The water was forming a river on the road

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Bram soaking wet

Without rain this climb would have been tough, now we had to cycle for two hours through the cold and rain as well. It was so cold that we didn't want to stop to take nice pictures. A quick photo and we continued.

Sella Ciampigotto

Now we were really drenched

We checked the map to see if it would be possible to cut a few kilometers off the route. That did involve another climb, of which we didn't take any pictures. Even the cows that were roaming the road looked surprised to see us. Now we could descend again. It was hard to see anything with all the fog, but the landscape seemed nice. Because of all the rain only my rear brake was working, a little. Near the end I needed to sit down on my frame and brake by putting both feet on the ground.


Then came the big moment, Bram said he would take the next warm shower he could get his hands on. It was only 4 o'clock so we still had enough time to cycle some more. At that time I wasn't getting frostbite just yet. Although I knew that if we continued, we would have to cycle through the rain for several more hours, maybe shower, and then lie in our bivy bags in the rain. Then we wouldn't be able to sleep much and if we were lucky, dry our clothes tomorrow morning.


The next village was Sauris di Sopra, which had a few hotels. There was a sign indicating it was 12 degrees outside. We chose the 2-star hotel Neider, the first hotel we have ever stayed in during any of our trips. I first removed my rain pants so the people there wouldn't be shocked by its camouflage print. We walked in completely and utterly drenched. There was a lady who started laughing right away. We looked like two drowned rats. The laughing lady called the owner of the place, who also started to laugh. They asked if we had come by motorcycle. That we had come by bike made it even funnier, or so they thought. I asked how much a room for a night would cost, it was 70 euros. Luckily I still had 80 euros in my wallet, as there was no ATM. First we were asked to put our bikes in the shed. Then we were told to go to our room and hand over our wet clothes. The owner would dry them for us.

In the room I felt better right away. At least it was warm and dry there. The rain pants we were wearing had an elastic closure at the bottom. When Bram took them off about a liter of water poured out.

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In the bathroom in the hotel

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The mirrors condensed right away due to all the moisture

I put all my wet clothes in the bag, including the cycling shorts I had in my panniers. I had worn all my clothes in the rain, so now everything I had was wet and in that bag. Bram only had two pairs of dry underwear left. The bag with clothes left the room. I put a towel around me to not be naked. We put our damp mattresses and sleeping bags out to dry.


I showered first because Bram usually takes longer. It took 15 minutes until my arms weren't red from the cold anymore. Another nice thing about the hotel was that we could fill our soap bottles.


After we had showered we couldn't do anything but rest in the room. After all, we couldn't leave without clothes. It would have been ironic if we had to stay locked in the room until the following day without any food. Around 8:30 the owner knocked on our door. She had washed our clothes. I also got my keys and pocket knife back all cleaned. She told us to hurry if we still wanted to eat.


Then the next dilemma followed. Our shoes were still wet. We had to choose between eating in wet shoes or going down wearing only socks. We did the last. Because we only had 10 euros left we first asked if we could pay by card. We wouldn't have enough money to pay for food if we couldn't. Fortunately, we could and the food was excellent. We had gnocchi with tomatoes and basilicum sauce, lamb and potatoes with bacon, and fruit for dessert. Because we hadn't had a decent meal in days, everything tasted even better.


After dinner we went right to sleep. It was so different from our bivy bags that I didn't even sleep all that well. Bram also woke up because of me.

Distance cycled : 96 km.

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