A Rest Day Ride from Bormio
The day after our tiring adventure over the Stelvio to the town of
Prato - and the day before we planned to ride the dreaded Mortirolo and
the Gavia - we opted to ride down the valley called Valtellina to the
base of the Mortirolo climb. The ride allowed our legs to recover
somewhat, while still having an enjoyable outing and exploring the route
that we would use the next morning. We rode to Grosio, which is at
the foot of the 'easy' route to the Mortirolo, and had some good coffee
before undertaking the 600 m climb back to Bormio.
Along the way we took in beautiful scenery and geologic hazards. One
of the largest landslides that I have ever seen was along the valley. In
another spot, there were a series of walls and barriers designed to impede
floods and debris flows. Nearly every town along the valley is built
on an alluvial or debris flow fan. Apparently, flows haven't often
inundated the fans and towns, because most of the fans were well vegetated
and built out with centuries - old structures. Nonetheless, it was
a bit disconcerting.
Sterling and Edwin enjoying themselves in Grosio. No, the beer
was not ours.
This monstrous slide is along the road between Grosio and Bormio. The
scale of the slide can be estimated from the equipment in the lower portion
of the photo. One is a drill rig, the other a large shovel. It
looks as the though the slide completely blocked the river, and much excavation
and other engineering work has been undertaken to mitigate the slide.
Despite the extensive excavation, there remains a great deal of
slide debris in the valley so that there is a very steep drop in the road
and the river channel just down the valley from the slide. The very
steep drop in the river channel, were it descends off the slide debris, had
numerous large barriers - sort of giant stair-steps - built into it. There
also was evidence for older slide activity in this spot. Just behind
the spot from where this picture was taken is a large hill that was detached
from the ridge behind, but apparently not by river erosion, Instead,
it looked like a large deposit of landslide debris. It is covered with
mature vegetation, indicating it is at least decades or even centuries old.
This is a view of the central square in Bormio, where we had a nice
lunch following the ride. Bormio is located at the confluence of
3 valleys that form a fairly large, flat plain surrounded by towering mountains.
Bormio hosts a World Cup Ski event each year.
A Fassa Bortolo cement container; the company sponsors one of the largest
professional cycling teams in the world. Apparently sponsoring a cycling
team helps cement sales.
Edwin ran a bit short of cash....
Europe 2002 homepage
on to the dread climb Mortirolo