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TransAlp Day 3

Today we managed to not get rained on for all but about 15 minutes of the stage.  Really, though, it was so light you can hardly call it rain.  We started the day by riding for 2 hours straight up the Wurzjoch, known to Giro d'Italia fans as the Passo delle Erbe.  This climb is never steep, but very, very long.  It was one of those climbs on which you actually get colder as you climb instead of warmer.  By the top I had on my gloves and armwarmers - no vest, but with a thick base layer I was okay on the descent.  Speaking of which, it was fast and twisty, with many decreasing radius corners and guardrails over witch there was only thin air.


The village of Zwischenwasser marked the end of the descent and the beginning of a bunch of short, sharp, leg-sapping climbs on what were basically paved goat paths.  I love riding on roads like these, and it was a treat as we wound through the Tyrolean woods.  One thing worth mentioning is how when events like this come through towns, everyone who is around cheers on the riders.  We feel like Giro pros as we race through the often technical village centers, the crowds are so loud and supportive.  This is in sharp contrast to the US, where most people just stand around and stare, mouths agape.  The notable exception to this is Portland cyclocross.

Now back to our original programming....after the town of Olang, where we are staying tonight, we began the climb of the Furkelpass, also known as the Passo Furcia.  It is a brute - not long at around 44 minutes for us, but with three steep sections approaching 19% grade.  Since the first climb of this race, I have not once regretted putting on a 29-cassette.  After the Furcia, we raced down the twisty descent to the cheers of the people of St. Vigilio and the even louder cheers of my wife.  Her support here has been priceless and I always look forward to seeing her after a hard day of Alpine climbs.

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