Getting into the alps for the second time with several excellent Italian espressi.
As we got up on an early and sunny Saturday morning, we luckily had a pont with running water right next to us so we could have a fresh bath before heading on. Soon after leaving our sleeping place, we left the road that was descending towards Innsbruck and did a bad gravel climb to finally save time that was needed to get through Innsbruck and up the hills again. It was a little pain but we managed to stop in a beautiful small village above Innsbruck and had two great sandwiches, coffee and a mango milk for breakfast. Then we moved on and after the next turn we were happy to see Innsbruck on the lefthand side down at the bottom of the valley. So we saved some proper climbing meters and hassle. The climb from Innsbruck to Brenner is a thankful one, until the last one or two kilometers. So we went on with a nice speed. Suddenly someone stopped his car in a parking bay a head of us and started to film the two hero‘s getting towards Italy. To our surprise it was Micha from Berlin. He already visited the starting line of the tcr in Geraadsbergen and now he was on his way to family holidays in Italy. What a wonderful surprise. We had a small chat about the first days and what was coming. The family jumped back into their car and we continued with our climb into Italy. The last passage was steep and for sure a little painful. Nico now always emphasized that she was doing all climbs on 28 teeth. I took this responsibility, I assmued it was only a matter of time until she agreed in changing it into 32 during the next days. The good thing of Brenner is the descend into Sterzing, it is a great road with an almost perfect tarmac. Welcome Italy, welcome coffee country! We tried to follow the rover on smaller cycling paths but it was a busy weekend so from time to time we headed on the busy road for getting ahead a little faster. We had excellent good coffee, sandwich and ice cream stopps on our way East. Nico got slower and slower but she could not say or ask for something. As we passed some traffic key points, we reached a camping site and stopped. Nico was exhausted and very tired. As I knew this camping site already I went inside and bought some refreshing and refueling items for changing her mood to the better. There was also an obvious chance to taking a shower, but we did not speak about it. Two other Italian riders arrived and tried to find a bed for the night and called various times. Nico had a rest with some tears, not sure what she was thinking about.
NICO: At this point I did not want to talk about my inside, because this would maybe be too depressng. I was totally down. I was questioning everything. I did not feel like eating this huge amount of food, I struggled to see a sense in riding the hole day and especially sleeping only very few hours per night. My feelings on that day were like a rollercoaster. When we arrived in Italy and had our first espresso I was so happy and now my mood flipped to the opposite.
She ate and drank a lot and slowly returned back into life. Usually when I stopped here, it started to rain, so it did that time, but only some refreshing drops, not worth for any change of wardrobe. Nico mood turned better and better, slowly. Ahead of us there was a long descend which was a good motivational gift and after some more resting time, we headed on down into a long valley that hopefully leads us towards cp2 on the next day. But first we took this descend and at the end of it in Lienz we had dinner in a tennis club that was having his annual summer party with some live music and bbq. Nico was asking for pasta bit finally was okay with a Schnitzel.
NICO: TCR is no „Wunschkonzert“ (musical request programme?), eat what you get. And the overall hook line: don´t waste time.
After the break we moved on through this valley. We had to cross a smaller mountaintop to stay on our route, we decided for the shorter one. Also here are had some stupid Austrian youngster had needed to race this climb. We made it without any losses but a fun climb looks different. Just before Arnoldstein we decided to rest in a farmers barn. In between his machinery we found some space, cleaned the floor a little and fell asleep immediately. Hopefully Nico recovers a little a tomorrow is definitely going to be brutal, we will probably spend the entire day in this parcours of checkpoint 2.
NICO: Nights in a bivy were not my favourite thing to do. My legs need space. For one or two nights it was ok, but the more nights came the more I felt uncomfortable. Still I hoped that I got more used to it in the next days.
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