Il grande tour nelle Alpi 2018 – II

Knüllwald – Timmelsjoch – San Leonardo

DAY 3: Sunday 2.9.2018

I woke up to a nice sunrise and the sound of the highway in a distance. Tom and Knut were already out for some “fresh” air when I came out have a feel of the new day. We had an ambitious goal for the day; San Leonardo in Italy. After a good breakfast we were on the bikes. We refuelled before we drove onto the A7 and stayed on it to the Austrian border and road B-179. We road over the Fernpass (1212 m.a.s.l.), then to Naddereith where we enter road B-189 and I managed to mess it up but got us on the right course again. The traffic in our direction was quite heavy, we had expected less traffic southward on a Sunday. It was obvious that the Germans had some extra days off in the week to come, something we will notice later too.

Morgensteming i Knüllwald. A lovely morning in Knüllwald.
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We roade road B-179 through Ötztal and B-186 which took us to Sölden and eventually over Timmelsjoch. The timetable looked very good, we had plenty of time to enjoy the ride over Timmelsjoch and maybe have time for a visit to the new museum – so we thought.
But things don’t always go according to plan. In Sölden our trip came to a sudden stop. We entered Sölden at ten minutes fefore 5 p.m., and got to know that the road was closed until half past seven. With a little drizzle and Sölden filled with cyclist the atmosphere in the group was not very high. We found a restaurant and the wait actually went faster than expected. Time flies when in good company 😊

We rode road B-179 through Ötztal and B-186 which took us to Sölden and eventually over Timmelsjoch. The timetable looked very good, we had plenty of time to enjoy the ride over Timmelsjoch and maybe have time for a visit to the new museum – so we thought.
But things don’t always go according to plan. In Sölden our trip came to a sudden stop. We entered Sölden at ten minutes before 5 p.m. and got to know that the road was closed until half past seven. With a little drizzle and Sölden filled with cyclist the atmosphere in the group was not very high. We found a restaurant and the wait went faster than expected. Time flies when in good company 😊

The reason for the closure of the Timmelsjoch was a bicycle race that started in Sölden quarter to seven this morning. The race went down the valley to Ötz, then up Kühntal over to Innsbruck, then over the Brenner Pass down to Sterzing, then over Jaufenpass to San Leonardo, then over Timmelsjoch and to the finish in Sölden. 228 km and 5500 meters climbing! The winner in the men’s class used 7 hours, 4 minutes and 2 seconds, while the winner in the women’s class used 8 hours, 5 minutes and 30 seconds! Impressive!

At a quarter of seven, the winner had crossed the finish line a long time ago, but there were still tired cyclist crossing the finish line. Usually the road over the Timmelsjoch (Passo Rombo) (2590 m.a.s.l.) is closed from eight o’clock in the evening, but they made an exception tonight. We were not alone waiting to get over the pass. It was already getting dark when we got to the top of the pass and got a couple of pictures before we entered Italy and started on the descent. The road was wet and by the time we reach the foot of the pass it was dark. Still, there were a few cyclists heading up to the top, without light and wet and cold.

In the valley the road follows the valley side with steep cliffs and the trees close to the roadside. A demanding ride in daylight, and a tuff ride in the dark and rain. It seemed like the turns never ended. I chose to keep distance to the traffic ahead so that I did not get the splash from the car ahead, but at the same time be able to take advantage of their lights in order to see when, where and in which direction the road curved.

Det var allerede skumring da vi kom til Timmelsjoch. The light was fading as we arrived on the top of Timmelsjoch.
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In San Leonardo we drove straight to the Hotel Frickhof, got the motorcycles in the garage and checked in before we landed for the evening. The time was already a quarter to nine. We had had a longer day than expected, and Timmelsjoch showed itself from a new angle. I’ve been driving over here in the rain before, with no effort, but today’s last stage became more demanding than ever. If we are to see the museum we must ride over again, but it will not be on this trip.

Todays distance: 643 km – 402 miles.

Read about the other stages on Il grande tour nelle Alpi 2018 here:
Day 1 + 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7 + 8 + 9.