Sunday, November 8, 2015

Cycling in the Dolomites - Sellaronda Bike Day

The mountains of northern Italy are a spectacular range of high peaks. The Marmolada is over 10,000 feet and can be seen from Venice on a clear day. I thought Alaskans had the corner on spectacular mountains until I visited the Dolomites. The closest one can get to Denali, on a road, is 90 miles. Now, don't get me wrong, Denali is spectacular at 90 miles away but the Dolomites have roads that climb right up into them. They surround you as you ride. You will never forget cycling in the Dolomites.

The Sella Group is a group of mountains that form a massif in roughly a square shape in the heart of the Dolomites. The four corners are some of the most famous passes of the Giro d'Italia.

Twice a year all the roads are closed and turned over to cyclists. It is not a race. There is no registration or fees. You can start when you like. But a sag wagon is provided if you can't quite complete the loop. This year, the June event attracted 22,000 cyclists. This is a tough event to ride, the entire loop covering a mere 35 miles but climbing four major passes.

We were lucky to participate in the September event where 5,500 riders came to climb the Dolomites. It is one thing to watch the Giro d'Italia on TV but it is another to see really strong riders passing you like they were on a stroll while you are having a hard time breathing. But, of course, there was every level of rider making the attempt. Well, maybe not every level because each climb is a significant effort for anyone.

This video, produced for the MTB version of this event, shows the loop from a bird's eye view.

Definitely a ride to put on any cyclist's bucket list.


Lisa said...

Oh wow. The pictures are lovely! It looks like there's a high amount of climb, but with views like those, I don't anyone would feel the fatigue! Agree, this goes to the bucket list. :)

biciak said...

Yes there is a lot of up! But the scenery begs you to stop, catch your breath and just take it all in. It would really be a shame to ride up with your head down as fast as you could.