Saturday, July 07, 2007

Day 18 - Some things to do before you die

Go to hell - or rather "Die Hell". Whether you walk, drive, ride or whatever, you should try and see this place. It is a secluded valley that is totally unspoilt and beautiful to behold. I'm not sure what you can do once there but just getting there is a load of fun.
We planned to double up again so we were on our way by 6am. The climb up the pass was brutal. I was still fascinated by the precision of the stone walling used to construct the pass. Builders in the city cannot build with that quality using rectangular bricks, never mind irregular shaped rocks. As usual the views were magnificent (where have I heard that before?)

On the top of the pass you drop into "Die Hell" - you don't actually drop into it, it undulates downwards then it drops - for anyone who watches the Tour de France, Alpe d'Heuz has nothing on these switchbacks. This is one of the fastest, hair raising downhills I have ever ridden. In Andy's words, "yyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaa"

Contrary to popular belief, there is an alternative way out of Die Hell. It's up a beast of a donkey track called Die Leer. I think regular hikers stay clear of this path as it is seriously steep and littered with loose rocks. You can't push a bike up - it must be carried. It took us about 75 minutes of carrying to get to the top. Many comments made about a certain race director when deciding on this route.

The rest of the day was a fairly straight forward road to the next support station that we made at 9:30pm. 15.5 hours of hard riding and 140km. A bonus for us was that the 3 guys that we were chasing we at the support station so we have finally bridged the gap. I think tomorrow will be a fairly easy day - only 90km or so to do.


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