Monday, 5 August 2013

#10in10 Destination Santuario Madonna del Ghisallo

We had planned that our ten countries in ten days challenge would have an extra ride added on once we had arrived on the shores of Lake Como in Italy.
The day after we set up camp at a campsite at Lake Como that is what we set out to do....
I had been dreaming of doing this ride for about five years so for me it was a special day.......
View from our campsite at Lake Como

We all set off  from our campsite on a really stunning day....Lorenzo led us out as we rode from our site along the shores of Lake Como... The road conditions were variable, being rough in places....but the views were to die for.

Riding through the lakeside tunnels was really quite scary as you couldn't see the road surface. Riding from very bright sunlight into very dark tunnels was not easy but we all managed to survive it and we eventually arrived at Varenna where the ferries plied their trade across the lake......
Boarding the Ferry.

On the Ferry on route to Bellagio.
We bought our tickets and queued up for the ferry that would take us across the lake and to the small town of Bellagio which is where our Ghisallo climb would start. 

There were a couple of touring cyclists in the queue who we got talking to because JD had noticed that they were using hub gears....
JD has had a bit of a thing going regarding hub gears for some time now....He recently bought another bike that has a Shimano Nexus 13 speed hub gear so he was keen to swap notes with the couple in the queue...
View from the ferry on route to Bellagio.
 The trip on the ferry took about half an hour and the views were simply stunning....
Dave had taken the motorhome around the lake and we had arranged to meet on the Ghisallo climb.
When we arrived at Bellagio Lorenzo checked with a policeman which way we needed to go and we then set off for the start of the climb....

It was very...very..hot!! 35c+.....but hey it was better than rain.
There seemed to be a lot of climbing before we even started on the climb proper, highlighted by a white line and the letters spelling out START painted across the road........

I set off just ahead of JD and Lorenzo..... Jon decided that due to the previous days efforts on the Splugen Pass he just didn't have it in his legs to even start on the Ghisallo and he chose to head back to the lakeside and a small bar......

The heat didn't make the climb easy.....but after waiting five years to do it there was no way that I wasn't going to get to the top..... My arrival at the summit and the small chapel was a pretty emotional experience...well worth the struggle..

JD and Lorenzo managed to get almost halfway up the climb.....I am sure that if it hadn't been so hot they would have made it all the way to the top. Make no mistake they did really well to get as far as they did.....

Dave met up with JD and Lorenzo and swept them up in the motorhome and brought them to the summit where I was now waiting..... Jon had decided that he would stay at the lakeside bar so that the chapel and the adjacent museum could be seen on a future trip...he felt he only wanted to visit them if he had managed to cycle at least part of the way up......

As I said arriving at the summit was quite an emotional experience as was our visit inside the chapel..... JD left a photo of Joanne Rutherford, who had sadly died of cancer in March this year, with some other photos that had also been left in the chapel by loved ones. 

Lots of cycling history can be found inside the chapel and a visit should be on the tick list for every cyclist........

Some shots taken inside the chapel can be seen below......
In my next post I will give you some of the history of the Santuario Madonna del Ghisallo as well as some shots taken inside the adjacent cycling museum....


The setting of the Ghisallo chapel

Chapel entrance

Chapel and cycling memorabilia








Monument depicting  a winning and a fallen rider.

5 comments:

anniebikes said...

What a beautiful chapel.

limom said...

Awesome.
Maybe one day.

Chandra said...

Trevor:
Awesome post, with awesome photos.
How timely, I say!
Just today, I got two Madonna del Ghisallo stickers in the mail, from a cycling friend.

I can't wait to read your next post.

Paz :)

Trevor Woodford said...

*anniebikes*.....and in such a stunning setting too Annie.

*limom*
I can certainly recommend the trip:-)

*Chandra*
Very timely indeed..!!

J_on_tour said...

Not quite your Purbeck ferry. This is an amazing location.