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Tags:    Biking     Dolomite's passes
 
Mathias Monday, 14 May 2018

At last, the biking season is here

The summer is fast approaching and there will be biking opportunities for cyclists of every type, and there will be several occasions to bike when the roads are closed to motorised vehicles.
At last, the biking season is here
 
 
 
Every cyclist longs for the summer months when the real challenges come alive. As one trains on the roads of one’s own region once cannot help imagine that some of the climbs, the downhills, and the bends have a resemblance to a favourite stretch in the Dolomites and we dream of returning to the magical landscape of a mountain paradise.
Sella, Pordoi, Gardena, Campolongo, Falzarego, Giau, Valparola, Passo delle Erbe: these the names which excite every cyclist as spring arrives and the first outings of the season become more frequent and attention turns to the targets for the coming summer. Every cyclist has in mind the great Passes of the Dolomites and longs for the summer months when the real challenges come alive. As one trains on the roads of one’s own region once cannot help imagine that some of the climbs, the downhills, and the bends have a resemblance to a favourite stretch in the Dolomites and we dream of returning to the magical landscape of a mountain paradise. We well know that even if we have already returned once, twice, ten or a hundred times, the feeling, thrill, and emotion never changes. Pedalling around the Sella Group, gritting ones teeth on the Giau climb, or plunging downhill from Valporola are sensations which remain for ever. It should be mentioned too that every year the experience is getting better, for there are more and more possibilities to pedal free from the presence of a multitude of cars. Take for example the Dolomites Bike Day on Sunday 17 June, a non competitive bike event , open to bikers of all levels and ages, and a day when the roads between Corvara, Passo Campolongo, Arabba, Pieve di Livinallongo, Passo Falzarego, Passo Valparola, San Cassiano are closed to motorised vehicles. These stretches of road, some part of the Maratona dles Dolomites in July and others having witnessed great exploits in legs of the Giro d'Italia over the years, are traffic free from 9:30 to 14:30. My advice is to approach this day out on the bike in an anti-clockwise direction: if you set off from Alta Badia, you pass by Corvara and go on to Arabba and the valleys of Livinallongo, passing through Passo Campolongo and then to Passo Falzarego. From there it is basically downhill to Passo Valparola, and finishing at San Cassiano and Alta Badia to complete the ring-shaped route. This way you cover 52 kilometres with a difference in altitude of 1370 metres.
On Saturday 23 June it is the Sellaronda Day which sees the roads closed to traffic. I have not much to add here as the Sellaronda route is well known to most as it celebrates the Passes around the Sella Group itself. Again, however, I would suggest to bike in an anti-clockwise direction: depending on where you start from the distance to cover is about 53 kilometres and going via the Passes of Gardena, Sella, Pordoi and Campolongo, the total altitude difference is 1600 metres.
The lucky ones amongst us, having been successful in getting a start number, have the mythical Maratona dles Dolomites to look forward to, and which this year will take place on Sunday 1 July. Not too much new to comment on this one, so many of us having experienced the joy and delight of participating in the Maratona. And the last event to mention, but certainly not less important for that, is the Stelvio Bike Day which will finish off our summer biking season in great style. On Saturday 1 September the 48 challenging bends of this well known race will be closed to traffic. If one goes up from Prato i would suggest to descend via Passo Umbrail, go across the splendid Val Mustair in Switzerland, and then return to Italy and on to Glorenza. This is a route worth doing at least once on your biking career as to go up to 2758 metres by bike is something special indeed.

Mathias 
 
 
 
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