Stage 7 Trento to Arco
The Trans Alp has been an amazing journey, I have been working hard towards this final day for 10 months and the idea that journey was ending was a little overwhelming. So it was with both happiness and sadness that I lined up in Trento ready for my last 54km of this beautiful race.
After a dry start leaving Trento, we started the gradual climb up from 200m to 1700m. The climb started on road turning to forest tracks and gravel paths as we gradually wound our way to the top of the pass. I was feeling great, no aches or pains and was actually enjoying the demanding climb. (Clearly I’m getting used to the Alps !) Some sections were pretty steep and with all the rain over night rather slippery too.
The low stand-over height and rear shock have given me confidence to push myself on the single-track sections
Once the terrain was more rideable I enjoyed the forest trails which were very like those at home. Although drenched by now my spirits were far from dampened. This after all was just like riding in Wales! The Specialized Era was fantastic, apart from a few gearing issues caused by the 42t sprocket I put on for the huge climbs. The low stand-over height and rear shock have given me confidence to push myself on the single-track sections and the rear shock helped take the pounding out of climbing and descending, which helped my back no end.
The rain soon set in hard and I was so glad to have my Gore Tex jacket. The feed station at 19km was full of chilly cyclists sipping hot soup, still with smiles on their faces. I didn’t stop for long just grabbing some pineapple and a drinks refill before continuing climbing to the summit at 24km.
I reached the top feeling relieved that my last big hill climb was behind me, but sad that I was nearly half way through the final stage. During this race there have been many highs and lows and I have learnt so much about myself, met some wonderful people and have fully immersed myself in the adventure.
The downhill section was bone chilling, the first part was grassy paths through steep sided gulley’s, which in the dry would have been great fun, but the rain had made them like ice rinks and together with a group of riders I caught up with, I cautiously made my way down these steep parts. Once we hit the fire road, I enjoyed the sweeping corners singing songs with the word rain in them, as I made my way down to try and keep my spirits high as the rain tumbled from the sky.
The feed station at 32km came with a very welcome hot tea and waffles. Just up the road was my Dad, like an ‘angel‘, he stood with dry gloves and arm warmers. I have never been so happy to pull on a cosy warm layer and this really helped get me up what was now my final short climb section in the Alps!
At the top of the climb Michelle was waiting huddled with Tom. We finished the final downhill section together. Now we were not as high, it was warm and damp, a little bit like a summer in Wales, so I felt really at home whizzing down the trails looking for the lines which avoided any slippery roots.
I felt really at home whizzing down the trails looking for the lines which avoided any slippery roots
Racing into the back roads of the town, full of puddles and pot holes and through the final finishing archway was incredible, I felt like I was dreaming. After thinking of this moment for the last 10 months, visualising what it would feel like to have accomplished my dream it was difficult to describe how I felt. Relieved to have finished climbing mountains for a while, exhilarated to have pushed my body out of the comfort zone and so proud to say I completed the toughest Stage race in Europe! WE DID IT!