Taking the triple shot espresso to the Bell-vue
The first ever edition of the Haute Route Dolomites – Swiss Alps super-cyclo sportive event has just wrapped up, and the Alpine version is now underway. I was lucky enough to be along for the ride in what turned out to be an amazing week, one that was officially supported and protected by Scicon.
Here’s a grab from my regular online blog for the event, which I hope gives you a feel for things, and maybe inspires you to take on the challenge next year.
Timing is everything in life, or so they say, and few of the riders in the Haute Route would argue with that when it came to today’s stage.
Somewhere just after silly o’clock and before near-sun-up the racing whippets of the group set of into the morning drizzle and mist, like a multi carriage two-wheeled glacier express.
It was cold, real cold, not to mention a little damp around the gills, just what you don’t want at this sluggish hour of the day.
Still aching and burning from the inside out, but there was no choice, but to and ride. We were kind of stuck in the valley bottom, and that meant to escape these dulling and chilled depths meant clambering out, churning up the breakfast that just been forced down, and then slapping on the lactic espresso machine and doubling up the dose before heading for the frothy stuff on top of the pass ahead – that froth being the cloud.
Furkapass; I heard a lot of Furka something cursing around the start area tis morning, and I’m sure there was a whole lot more of it on the road to.
As the whippets chased the hare into the mist of the chilled mountain froth it looked like a triple shot decaf skinny latte was all they had to store. Perhaps they should hang with the mortals next time, who got to start late enough to allow the great Gaggia time to warm up, and thus serve up the near perfect double shot cappuccino, with a lovely white sugar coating on top too; after all you can do that if you don’t have to count the calories every day.
Yes it was a slogger of a start with. The warm up was painfully slow, and was enough to kill many a frozen spirit; and after all, nobody would have guessed just how perfect the big barista of the mountains would turn out to be this morning.
With almost every meter gained and every corner ground down so the machine whipped things up a degree or two. The mist swirled and cleared some and the valley illuminated just like the lights on the front of the great Gaggia its self, the god of the early start.
Closer to the summit and the machine begun to grind its beans, the pressure built the clouds swirled like full fat frothed hot milk. The view was simply inspired and dramatic. And to think – the whippets had to settle for an iced decaf.
As the froth was poured chillingly over the cup of the summit a great brew still looked to be something a long shot. As it poured in excess over the edge of the great Furka saucer and then started to run down the side so it all suddenly made sense.
The sweet and pristine white sugar coating that covered the surrounding mountains made for the ultimate fusion brew. Ah, what a fine shot it was, picture prefect and surely unbeatable?
Sure it was a cold start, but the great Gaggia of the mountains had it all in hand, and served up the perfect brew for the day’s roll into and through the steep sided vineyards of the Valais region, a place where fine wines and cheese have found sanctuary.
There’s just one more day to go. I guess it’s a strange feeling. We’ve come so far, cursed and shivered through the mountains, and now the sun is out and, well, just and well – I think you all know what I mean.
Words by Steve Thomas
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