Update: July 3, 5:45pm
It’s been a great week riding in Europe! We awoke in Levico Terme to nice weather for the start of stage 7. Thunderstorms were in the forecast today, but I learned this week that when it’s hot, it’s really hot and a rain shower is welcome to help cool things down. we had quite a nice breakfast at the Grand Imperial hotel, but there were no bananas. I managed to start every stage by eating a banana 20 minutes before the gun, but this day would be different.
Our neutral was very short, as the climb began about 3 km into the ride. In this stage we would be gaining 2500m of elevation in only 76km, so it was fit for a climber! I made it over the first big climb with relative ease, and then was able to hammer along the rolling downhill terrain. I seemed to ride most of the day by myself, and at one point thought I might have gone off course (until I saw a course arrow directing me in the way I was heading).
Near the base of the first descent the skies opened up, and it began raining hard. At one point both Joerg and I thought it was hailing due to our speed and the size of the rain drops. With the wonderful cooling effect of the rain comes the slippery roads, and the technical descents made for some timid riders (including myself). I managed to get behind a master descender at the top of the second big climb and he brought me down safely. For the last big descent I managed to get a way from a group I was with, and rode all the way to the official timing strip at 86km all by myself at my own, comfortable and safe pace. The road was very familiar, as this was the same route we descended into Arco for last years Tour Transalp.
Joerg and I descended together from the timing strip, and crossed the finish line in Riva del Garda with an official time of 4:03, moving us down just one spot to 122 overall. At the beginning of the ride we predicted we would end up in 206th spot overall (our starting numbers were 206, and that would be the middle of the pack), but we rode strong and surprised ourselves!
There were 407 teams that started this years race, and only 381 completed the entire 7 stages. In our category, Masters, we came in 38th place out of 134 teams with a total time of 35 hours and 2 minutes!
After getting all cleaned up, and packing my bike away we took a ride to a beautiful restaurant called Acetaia Del Balsamico Trentino Ristorante, which makes their own wine and balsamic vinegar. Treated myself to a taste of all their varietals, as well as a huge plate of house cured meats and cheeses, and fresh taglitelle with mushrooms (and bread, and gelato, and grappa…). We ended the night watching Germany beat Italy in the Euro Cup. I’m not a huge soccer fan, but it was cool to be watching this game in Italy in a place with a lot of German visitors.
Off to eat some pizza! Enjoy the photos. More will be up soon!
Here are some photos from my last day in Riva del Garda:
Pages will be updated with photos and a recap at the end of each stage
From the organizers (translated from German):
Though the final stage is a short one in kilometers, there are 2.500 meters to gain in height which is why this stage cannot be underestimated. But the Transalp is not satisfied with skirmish and comes up again with tons of mountain experiences, sporting demands and riding fun at day 7. You cannot start with your racing bike in Levico Terme and miss the Kaiserjägerweg out. That old military road is considered as a classic par exellence and an absolute must to bike. A curving road, carved in the rocks, from which the view goes down to Lago di Caldonazzo and his little brother Lago di Levico. It feels like that scenic motif of two lakes, which get seperated by a little ridge, is a sujet for half of the postcard production of the region and helps to make the first 800 difference in altitude diverting. The stage continues over the plateau of Lavarone to the Passo della Fricca. But this one is almost indiscernible as a pass in the altitue profile from that side. Finally, it goes down again in direction to Trento.
In front of the town’s gates, however, the route follows a little street down to Mattarello, over the Etsch to Aldeno on the other side of the valley. Over the Lago di Cei, the street guides to the Passo Bordala, which is the last challenging gain at the 2016’s Transalp edition. After all, it is about another 1.100 meters to gain in height from Aldeno. After a short downhill to Ronzo-Chienis you will have to cope with the last 230 meters in height. Done? Not yet, since the ride down the hill on a little street through the woods to Bolognano, which is composed of tight turns, demands full concentration. To switch off your mind and turn into party mode is not a good idea before arriving at the finish line. The final finish line is not in Arco that time, but at the port of Riva at the shore of Lake Garda.
Mountain passes: Kaiserjägerweg, Passo della Fricca, Passo Bordala, Passo Santa Barbara