We split into two parties for our assault on the Monte Stivo Massif this morning. Frauke and I left first before the intense heat began and we rode on the small very steep road we had taken last time to Santa Barbara. The ascent was far from ideal with nasty nasty bitey flies attacking us. There were vast swarms of them and they managed to bite through our thin protective lycra layer and sink their jaws into our rumps. The only thing we could do was ride/run as hard as we could up the hill flailing appendages in all directions to try and ward off the worst of the swarms.
Just as we were leaving the forest Frauke got a puncture and we feared that we might remain there slowly ravaged by the nasty flies. Luckily we were just far enough out of their feeding zone. Apparently Emily and Chris enjoyed the flies about as much as we did. Later on I received the following text message
“16 July 2010 – 11:24 – Emily Wall – At Santa Barb now. Interesting ride up – flat tyre and flies from hell with demon fangs.”
We met the others a few hundred vertical metres below the summit and Chris convinced us to lug our bikes to the top. Good thing too as there were some premium trails off the back of the summit into another valley. The descent lasted quite some time and had lots of delicious flowing sections, rocky parts, steep technical bits, and plenty of opportunities to hurt ourselves. By the end of it we had all ridden some technical stuff and had executed some marvelous aerial stunts. Frauke walked the last section after landing one too many times on her hand.
At the bottom of the trail we found some tunnels to ride through to top off an already very good route. We cycled back to Arco and ate ice creams, which were well earned after our 12 hour mission.
Above left: Emily, Frauke, and Cris carry their bikes the last few metres to the summit of Monte Stivo (2058 m). Most of the route to the top had been rideable or semi-rideable and it was just this last section (perhaps 10 minutes) where we carried our bikes. Ok, it looks pretty rideable in the photo doesn’t it? Above right: Chris comes up to a tricky rocky corner.
Above left: The girls at the bottom of a section. Above right: Cris is an advert.