Bormio To The Stelvio
Riding the Stelvio was one of the most beautiful and hardest things I have ever done in the saddle. It is the perfect climb. From forested to exposed rock face and stunning views to long sweeping hairpins on a perfectly paved surface. Add to that the altitude and you have a road that will challenge every rider who takes it on. Parts of it look deceptively easy, but we ll know how that goes. Even on fine summers day there is usually a headwind and unless you are used to climbing at altitude your forward motion isn’t going to be what you hope for. Other parts of the climb look demoralizingly hard and they are. Looking up you see what looks like a sheer cliff with a lace of hairpins falling over its edge, making it all too clear exactly what you still, and from there it is pretty much up all the way without rest. In just over 25km you move from 5427ft to 8985ft, with an average gradient of 7.4%. Some of those sections ramp up to 14% made clear by some kind soul painting it on the road. Pictures will never do this climb justice, neither here or on TV. It is brutal and beautiful all at once.