Velomobile Road Trip with Brigitte and Fritz (Day 25)
Guillestre > Col d’Agnel > Casteldelfino
64 km | 2035 HM
Today we wanted to cross the third highest pass in the Alps, after the Col de l'Isèran and the Stilfser Joch. We had already ridden the latter on a tandem in 2016.
The Col d'Agnel (2,744 m) was one of the high passes not closed this week. The first 20 km to Château-Ville-Vielle were incredible - the gorges through which the road led. Monday brought us almost no traffic and the best weather.
The first town was Queyras. The very beautiful Château Queyras towers proudly over the town. In the small town of Ville-Vielle we bought some provisions at the bakery. We didn't know how many possibilities there would be to get something to eat until we reached the top of the pass.
Molines-en-Queyras. The villages became very rustic. The higher we got, the more time seemed to run backwards and we felt like we were decades ago. By now it had become very windy with really strong and very sudden blasts that rocked the velomobile. During a last break, I had taken off the front service cover to reload the measuring pedals. Suddenly a squall came and took the lid with it. I immediately wanted to run after it quickly with my cycling shoes. Biggi warned me. Ok wait and see where it lands. It went down steeply and very deep. The lid remained a few metres below us. So I was still able to recover it. Wow. During the action I apparently lost the adapter for the pedals, but I didn't notice that until later. Soon after, it started to rain and we took out our foam covers. We only occasionally passed cars or motorbikes. All in all, we encountered maybe a handful of passionate cyclists during the whole day.
With the velomobile and luggage, the Agnel proved to be heavy. The last few days were in our legs. Maybe we also had a problem with the altitude. In any case, the last 400 m were hard. There wasn't much left in the way of reserves. So we kept aiming for the next bend and kept going until then. Since the start, we had climbed 1,950 metres in altitude over 43 km. There were long segments at the beginning with no or only a slight incline. So the gradient increased more and more towards the end. We reached the top in the rain, wind and through snow fields. We were both very happy. Finally we had made it.
The south side to Italy looked breathtakingly steep from above. The road has a gradient of up to 14% on bad asphalt. So we had to descend slowly and carefully at about 9-14 km/h. There was nothing to be done with short and hard braking. I was glad that the velomobile stopped at all. We squealed like a train entering the station. The marmots kept looking to see who was whistling so loudly.
After 100 HM just cooled down with snow, which we pushed into the open hub. Because of the cold wind, the drums didn't get hot so quickly. In addition, we had a large drinking bottle with only water from the streams to cool them down. With it, we could inject water into the open hub to cool it while driving and braking. So we went deeper and deeper, bit by bit. But the downhill breaks also prolong the enjoyment. You can look at the landscape, watch the marmots and discover all kinds of high mountain plants.
Then came the first villages in the Piemont region. Absolutely simple houses. We rolled on and on and decided to look for accommodation at the next opportunity. As it was getting late and to celebrate the day, we took a room in Casteldelfino in a mill.
We asked if they had food too. Sure they did. So the best choice and we took the rooms. The owner drove his car out of the garage for the velomobiles after admiring them extensively. In an hour we were supposed to have dinner.
There was no card at dinner and we let ourselves be surprised. It turned out to be 6 courses, which we didn't know beforehand either.
1. cold veal with green vegetables and a beer
2. goat cheese with a green vegetable cream
3. a round of falaffel with vegetable sauce
4. now we could choose between two options. Pasta it became and red wine 0,5 l
5. then braised veal and another 0.5 l red wine
6. for dessert, panacotta and crème brûlée and an espresso.
With so many courses, I often think at the beginning whether I'll get full with somewhat smaller portions. But in the end we were stuffed. There was a boisterous group of 12 people in the room with us. They also got essentially the same as we did. I think that's a good thing. Rational for the kitchen and to be surprised.
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