Passo Aprica (1,176m), Bernina Pass (2,328m)
After possibly the hardest day I have ever had on the bike the day before I was slightly dubious about how I would feel today when I got up in our characterful hotel in Ponti di Legno. We rolled out after forcing down some bread for breakfast and started the gentle decent to the bottom of the smaller climb of the day, the Aprica. I paced myself up this one bearing in mind we had a 35km giant to ride later in the day. It was already warm when we reached the top from the gentler east side of the climb.
After a fast and fairly technical decent - where I managed my only break-away of the trip with Phil - we all adjourned for a coffee and snack at a bar in Stazzona.
As we left Italy and passed through border control into Switzerland for the first time it was already uncomfortably hot. The Bernina starts its gradients here with fairly straight, already punishing roads, up to a flatter section past lake Poschiavo. The steeper gradients start thereafter averaging around 7-8% for 18km and eventual ascent of 1882m from the south.
Having long lost contact with the group (except for Phil who stopped at the bottom and Jered who stopped to adjust his gears) I was really struggling on this part as there was a distinct lack of switchbacks to get much needed 'micro-rests' and the heat of the day was taking its toll. After about 2 hours of climbing I saw Jered and Justin after they had stopped for water on a flatter section nearer the top I mistakenly thought we were at the top. As Phil came past he said something like '5k to go!'. Then I saw the road twisting skywards up ahead. Sh*t !
After the summit we rode to Saint Moritz for a ridiculously expensive light lunch before a stop at a bike shop for bike adjustments on Jered's steed.
In contrast to climbing Bernina the following flat sections towards the maloja decent were very enjoyable with cooler temperatures and Jered and Luke powering us along the lake side. It was starting to warm up again as Billy and I linked up for a fast valley decent into Italy again towards the pretty town of Chiavenna.
We stayed in nice rooms here and explored the charming back streets of the town before plenty of chips, Pizza and several gelato Ice creams.
Justin's Strava for the day below...