We REALLY love the Val d'Aosta. So much that when we scheduled this tour we thought "we're going even if nobody signs up!" But in the end, Steve, Kim and Craig decided to join us for this short vacation. Below you see Heather clowning around with a bike sculpture on our first day, after we climbed the Col d'Joux.
Our hotel is just steps away from the Roman Arch, an iconic place in the "Rome of the Alps" as they call it.
After dinner, a visit to the local GROM gelato shop was in order. We're generally not fans of chains, but for this we make an exception - it's that good!
Lugging that gelato up the Gran San Bernardo climb the next day was a challenge. But as Greg LeMond used to say, "climbing hurts everyone the same, the difference is just how fast you're going" so Larry chooses to enjoy the gelato and just get to the top a little later.
As you can see, there was plenty of snow on the Gran San Bernardo, along with cold winds. The weather this season has so far been odd, about two weeks behind the normal summer warmup according to the locals.
Kim and Craig pose at the end of the paved road at Valsavarenche. They're touring on their own after their time with us, hence the odd-looking bikes for a CycleItalia tour.
After a climb to a very chilly mountaintop, a warm and hearty bowl of zuppa is just the thing! Being a civilized place, Italy has ristoranti like this at the top of most mountain passes. No gels or bars instead of lunch with CycleItalia!
Steve will soon glance over to admire the mountain view - it's one of the reasons we suffer on these monster climbs. Photos and video of the famous races over these passes just doesn't do them justice, you have to come over here and ride them yourself. Perhaps in 2014?