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Maria Canins Saturday, 2 February 2013

Giro della Marmolada

Time: about 6 hours
Difficulty: high
Bike type: road bike
Food & beverage: many restaurants along the whole route
 
83,5 km
 
2.479 m
 
1.558 m
 
1.558 m
 
 
 
 
 
 
“The Marmolada is a force of Nature: its very size and its wild appearance is both fearful and demanding of respect.”
You set off from Hotel La Perla in Corvara taking on the bends of Passo Campolongo for a full 6 km, and then down to Arabba along quite a fast downhill for 4 km. From Arabba you go on to Passo Pordoi (9.5 km uphill and an altitude difference of 638 m, with an average incline of 6.6 % but some points of 10/11% with 33 bends in total). It is one of the most beautiful uphill stretches in the Dolomites, completely open to the sun and as you climb you can see the bends you have left behind below. The uphill part is not particularly difficult and it is a real must for all cyclists. The Passo Pordoi is 2239 m high and is famous as arrival point for many legs in the Giro d'Italia; a photo next to the monument of Coppi is one to keep and it is well worth taking some time to appreciate the amazing views around. From Passo Pordoi there is the cablecar which wizzes people up to the top of Pordoi, then there is the Sssolungo, the Col Rodela and in the distance Val di Fassa. Cycling along the Pass you see Portavescovo on the left and the Group of Boè on the right and behind in the distance are Lagazuoi and Setsas. From Passo Pordoi you move on downhill (11 km) partly through woodland until reaching Canazei in Val di Fassa, and at the junction here turn left and follow the signs for Alba-Penia. Now you begin the uphill to Passo Fedaia (13 km, 600 m altitude difference, average incline of 4,6%, maximum incline of 10%). The first part is reatively gradual in incline but then there are more demanding parts. To your right you can make out Ciampac (the ski area above Alba) and the Gran Vernel, always snowcovered up high. After conquering the series of bends you reach the top of Passo Fedaia (2097 m) and where there is also the surprise of Lake Fedaia, constructed on a dyke, which it is also possible to pass over by bike. At the foot of the Marmolada glacier we can give ourselves a well-earned rest and enjoy a spot of lunch. After passing by the lake you head down to Malga Ciapela (a 14 km downhill with 1060 m. Of altitude difference from the top of Passo Fedaia to the junction for Passo Pordoi). Pay particular attention as some parts are really fast, especially on the stretch between Capanna Bill (restaurant) to Malga Ciapela. From Malga Ciapela, where there is the valley station of the cable car which would take you up to the Marmolada, you move on to Sottoguda, a small village famous for its ‘serrai’ (an ancient road of the Pass) and which deserves to be seen. From Sottoguda you continue downhill until you come to the junction and there you follow the signs for Arabba - Passo Pordoi. The road is now uphill and you pass by Digonera and Salesei. From Salesei – where there is a military cemetery dating back to the Great War – there is quite a demanding 3 km uphill stretch (at some points the gradient is of 11%) until you come to the junction Arabba- Cortina. Turn left at the junction; the road having a steady incline until you reach Arabba, from where you continue on the road you took on the outward jouney, tackling the Passo Campolongo first in a 3.5 km uphill section and then 6 km downhill back to the Hotel La Perla in Corvara.

Maria Canins
 
 
 
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