Part 5 - More bloody climbing

Details at a glance
Illanz -> Gummereregg
07:00 Belgium Time 3rd August – 02:45 4rd August
Time :19hours 45 minutes
Distance: 273km
Speed: 13.8km/h

The hotel breakfast was opened at 6am however I opted out of it to get on the road to try and find some pain killers.  The other cyclist who had got to the hotel before me had already left but the #226 pair Christian Schaefer and Peter Tannenberger had arrived after me and were about to settle down for some breakfast.  They suggested I stay for breakfast once I told them about my knees but I continued on.  At the end of the race of the race I was surprised to hear that they'd end up referring to me as the English patient because of the apparent state I was in when I met them at morning.

I began cycling down the Vorderrhein valley towards Chur before I would begin some more climbing for the day.  After a few km I found a supermarket where I bought some breakfast consisting of croissants, sweets, a ball of mozzerella (no idea why) and PAINKILLERS!  Soon after I was overtaken by the pair.

Just before I turned off the valley road I found a full sized pharmacy so I went in to see if could get some stronger pain killers.  Unfortunately, codeine wasn't available but I took some Voltarol. I was also running low on caffeine pills and I tried to buy some more to which the pharmacist responded 'No, we don't have caffeine pills... Here in Switzerland we have good lifestyles'.  Fair enough I thought.  Later I would discover that it its almost impossible to find caffeine pills across Europe unlike in the UK where you can buy them anywhere.

Shortly after I began probably the longest climb of this years TCR - the Albulapass.  Here I met Stefan Slegl #140 who I chatted to for most of the way up the climb.  The weather was pretty ideal on the climb.  At around lunchtime I made it to the top of the climb.

Downhill to Italy now? #tcrno089 #tcrno4

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Following the pass I had a quick descent followed by a nice tailwind to the bottom of the next pass.  I quickly stocked up on some sandwiches and got on my way.  I caught up with Stefan and we began the climb together.  Stefan was a stronger cyclist than me so quickly left me on the way to Ofenpass.

At the top of the Pass dal Fuorn I met Emily Chappell #7 and Stefan.  We had a quick chat and descended together into Italy.

Soon upon entering Italy we were squirted by an annoyed van driver but I was pleased to get into another country where food prices weren't ridiculous.  I got to a tunnel and worried that it was an illegal tunnel I turned my head around and to my shock I saw the Transcontinental Race car.  Luckily it wasn't illegal so I quickly stopped and had a chat with Anna, Leo and Francis.

I went down the Adige valley towards Merano where I bumped into Stefan again outside a small fast food kiosk just as night fell.  I charged up my batteries there and had some sausages and chips.  After we continued to Bolzano where we would have to begin some final crazily steep climbs to get to the checkpoint.  After the Obergrummer pass which topped out at 13.8% it was close to 3am so Stefan and I decided to share a room and get out of the cold.  We stopped in the ski resort town of Welschnofen and after a second attempt found a hotel with vacant rooms.  Stefan suggested we share the bed.  I wasn't so keen on that idea so I made myself compfy on the sofa.