Whenever the Treasury Secretary sanctions another trip into the high mountains, I think ‘Giro d’Italia’.
To be more precise: when I mention Italy, I think of the Dolomites in the northeast, nearly equally shared between the provinces of Belluno, South Tyrol and Trentino.
Just looking at the pictures and profiles of the climbs there, does make my heart beat faster.
Obviously, I do not mind wandering off in the Ortler Alps to the west of the Dolomites, if only for the Stelvio and Gavia. But, as much as I like the area around Bormio, it pales in comparison to that of the Sella group, which may be considered the heart of the Dolomites.
My most favorite spot in this cycling heaven, is Corvara in Badia (or Kurfar) at the bottom of the climbs up the Campolongo* and Gardena, the Valparola being just around the corner.
The views are overwhelming – the Sassongher towering over it – but if you want a bit more activity, you should probably go to the other end of the Gardena, to Selva di Val Gardena or Sante Cristina. Or, alternatively, to the east, to Cortina d’Ampezzo at the bottom of the climbs up the Giau and Falzarego.
If you want to stay in an equally strategically placed town in the Ortler Alps, you will most likely end up in Bormio. Other than the starting point of the climbs up the Gavia and the Stelvio, it also connects to the Foscagno leading to Livigno. And it is within cycling distance of two of the climbs up the Mortirolo…
So, whenever there is a trip scheduled to these areas, I shamelessly dub it ‘Giro d’Italia’. After all, the UCI pro version of that course is usually decided in the mountain stages there 🙂
*At least the more commonly known final 6 kilometers of it: the full Campolongo starts in Pederoa, 14 kilometers north of Corvara.
Giro d’Italia 2020
The last week of July and the first week of August, we’ll have a base camp in Ponte di Legno for 11 days total.
Basically, because we found an all-inclusive **** hotel, with an offer that we couldn’t resist. And Ponte di Legno may not be Bormio, but it’s just as strategically located.
However, it is not located in my favorite area, the Dolomites. And although it’s relatively close by – a 2 to 3 hour drive to for instance Ponte di Gardena or Canazei – we have also booked one night in Corvara.
This will give me the opportunity to cycle there for two days, which is hardly enough to revisit all the passes in the area, but it’ll have to do.
In June 2015 we went back to Italy for some more. Again divided into two parts: one week in Corvara and one in Bormio (Valdisotto). It was concluded with a smashing Swiss stage on the way back home.
Some old friends like the Stelvio and Giau were revisited and new friends like the Würzjoch were found – sadly, we were denied the world renounced view on (top of) the Tre Cime di Lavaredo because of the clouds/fog.
The Swiss stage brought us the Gotthard, Furka and Grimsel – the special Via Tremola, the breathtaking views from both the Furka and Grimsel were something not easily forgotten either…
Cyclopaat’s life being what it is, this is yet another project dedicated to his idiotic cycling adventures.
On these pages, you will find info on the more ‘famous’ climbs he’s had the pleasure to die on himself. The info you find on great sites like ClimbByBike are often too generic – just profiles, which usually mean jack shit – to give you the whole picture.
The guys at The Col Collective provide great short movies on them, in which it looks even easier to climb a giant like the Bonette than Cyclopaat can possibly make up writing about it, so they’ll be added as they become available.
Anyway, have fun – or walk away while you still can – and feel free to share this page with your enemies…
As I strained a muscle in my back while preparing the transfer, I was afraid I might have to spend a couple of days in the passenger’s seat of the car.
Tempting as that actually sounded at the time, I was not really amused – as I have built up some experience since my crashes in 2012 and 2013, I started taking NSAID’s and applied ice packs / heat patches.
However, I knew that the “transfer stage” to Bormio was a no go – apart from the inability to walk or stand straight, the only chance I had that I was going to be able to cycle again the next week, was to rest and (try to) relax.
So, no Mendola, Palade or Val Martello, just enjoying the views from within the car. The ride was actually enjoyable and not very eventful. We had a long(er) lunch stop in Silandro, where I had originally planned our base camp for part two.
Paula then knocked me out and put me blindfolded in the back of the car, as we were about to pass the Stelvio.
By the time we arrived in Valdisotto, I was pleased again with the apartment and the surroundings, albeit not as stunning as in Corvara.
We went shopping and had a beer and a good laugh on a terrace under a pleasant sun. It looks like I will live to climb another day – we’ll see tomorrow…