I’m not the only rider this time. I think impure thoughts aimed at overtaking. When I get close to the first rider about a quarter of the way up the climb he speeds up. I stay at a steady 3 w/kg. The relationship between input and output is pure in cycling. That’s part of the draw. It’s what brings others to Passo Giau. Virtual purity. One should be mature enough to interact with one’s fellow virtual riders on positive terms or not at all. Maybe there’s a way of hiding them.
I’d like to spend more time in the area. South-east from Cortina d’Ampezzo, it looks like you can take a left rather than the right towards Passo Giau. Then I’d eventually get to Lagole di Calzalzo with a 2500 year old shrine to a deity known in ancient times as Trumusiate. This was an ancient place of healing. A spa of sorts. The website of the local museum says the spa’s resident deity was Apollo. But was Apollo a healer? His son Asclepius is known as the god of medicine. Perhaps there was something of the son in the father? Maybe this shrine was about the origins of healing. Apollo fell out with Zeus when Zeus killed Asclepius with a thunderbolt. Zeus thought Asclepius would take his skill too far and make all men immortal. There’s always a catch, whatever science you pretend you’re following.
Our shrines to health are in our living rooms now. But the shrine to Apollo in the Dolomite Mountains doesn’t feel far away. Where would Proust have cycled to in his living room given the chance?
The last part of the route is enjoyable in the way that something can be enjoyable when you know it’s coming and you know it’s finite and you’ve set yourself up for it. I catch a second rider. I didn’t think I’d reach him. He must have thought he was safe. He tries to sprint. I ignore him respectfully. You’ve got to play it cool. After a short left turn everything opens up on a long straight stretch and it’s almost flat and you can accelerate into the final climb and the final hook and then the finish comes up after the car-park and the simulation ends.