150511-Limits (Where’s The Ladder)

Four different forecasts reported four different outcomes for the day. We left the Oasi Hotel in Tortuna by 8:00 am, trying to get ahead of the weather reported by more than one of the forecasts.

We headed for the nearby Passo dell Rocchetto, nearby but not the main pass into Genoa, hoping for less traffic and less death-defying roads. The distance didn’t appear far, but with our elevation of 100 m, we had a roughly 674 m climb for the day. Rob’s prepared for the trip in the Triangle, mostly on flat Greenways.

The first 10 km of the day passed quickly, having yet to reach the edge of the mountains. When we left the main valley for Gavi, we had to climb out of the valley … up. We had 10% grade until out of the valley, and while 10% might not sound like much, a comparison might be that in my best shape I can climb roughly 13% for short periods. Rob persevered, and except for a couple of short stops, we climbed out way up and out.


Leaving Gavi, things turned uphill, a slow steady climb. As Rob flagged we’d take breaks, and occasionally walk short sections. But he kept going! As we climbed we crossed the cloud line, encountering mist/rain from the clouds.

Then Rob’s chain slipped off again. Mediocre bicycle mechanic, but at least this time the derailleur didn’t touch the spokes. I tightened up the settings, and we carried on. I’m still confident that the flight or other incident mangled that just enough to be a problem.

Rain increased, and we cycled (and occasionally walked), encrusted by the clouds. By the time we reached the pass we couldn’t see more than 20 meters.


A brief pause for photos before beginning our descent. As we passed below the cloud line, we stopped for photos before we continued our plunge down the side of the mountain, covering in 30 minutes the same distances that we’d covered over the previous several hours.


Genoa has served as a port for thousands of years. The roads into Genoa emphasized that history; limited options had us riding in heavy traffic for the last 15 km.

We’d made a reservation at Abbey Hostel from the hotel, hoping that the mountains and rain wouldn’t prevent our arrival. We arrived by 4:00 pm to a friendly welcome.