Dolomite Ride Report #6
Ride report #6 of 8. Homepage is here:
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7/13/2006: "Sella Ronda"
Passo Campolongo - Passo Gardena - Passo Sella - Passo Pordoi
Another big day planned today. Today the group would be tackling the "Sella Ronda," the classic dolomite cycling route that circles a large castle-like mountain known as "Gruppo di Sella." The route takes in four passes: Campolongo, Gardena, Sella and the Pordoi. Once again, it was a beautiful morning in Alleghe and our trusty steeds were lined up and ready to go.
After feeling as badly as I did two days ago, I felt nearly the opposite today, no bad stomach, legs were good, felt great really. A bonus that my body chose this day of four passes to feel good!
The rides starts out with the now familiar climb up Santa Lucia and then over to Arabba where we will begin the circuit.
The first pass of the day was Passo Campolongo, and immediately I could tell my legs had finally arrived in Italy, too bad it took six days for them to show up. Ah well, better late than never.
Passo Campolongo was a very enjoyable pass, but who knows whether it was an easier pass or that today, my legs were just that much better. As this picture shows, it certainly wasn't flat!
A short while later, we reached the top of Campolongo, our first pass of the day in the bag, three more to go.
The descent from Campolongo was a good one, few trees and plenty of tight, fun switchbacks as we approached the town at the bottom: Corvara.
Here is Nancy, Mark the Shark and Alan in the town of Corvara.
A left turn in Corvara had us headed for our next objective of the day: Passo Gardena. Of all the passes we did on this trip, Gardena is the one that has dissolved a bit in my consciousness. Not sure why, all the other passes, both those that came before and after, retain some sort of imprint in my memory. Not Gardena however. I even have a hard time recalling this church at the top, except I do remember Dave asking if I had taken a picture of it...
Must be mighty picturesque up there though...
One thing I do remember though was Mahan pointing out the descent to us: "see that road along the mountain there? Yeah, that one, it's kinda level 'til it hits that saddle and then drops down."
Two passes down, two to go. After a short descent off of Gardena the next pass on our route was Passo Sella. Having not descended from Passo Gardena for terribly long meant that the asent of Sella was likewise not going to be terribly long. That was just as well I think as the road, though less traveled, was narrow, even for these mountain roads.
It was chilly atop Passo Sella, only 16 degrees celsius.
We had lunch at the top of Passo Sella, which for me meant a good sized plate of spaghetti and then a good sized plate of potatoes! You know, "poe-tay-toes..." Here are the bikes lined up outside the ristorante.
We emerged from lunch and several of these guys were moving about.
"What you lookin' at? Bah! Tourists!"
Another descent and it was time for another left turn and our last ascent of the day: Passo Pordoi. It was nice to have a support van on this trip as the climbs and descents kept us constantly shedding and adding clothes.
Fourth climb of the day and my legs still felt great. Good stuff, too bad I couldn't have been this happy all week!
An interesting note here, by this time, climbing the Pordoi, after all that food I just ate atop the Sella, I'm hungry again, already. Our bodies have turned into calorie burning machines. After just a few days of this riding our daily routine became all about riding, eating, resting and eating; riding, eating, resting eating; riding, eating, resting, eating...
This time up the Pordoi we came from the opposite direction from three days ago. This is the harder side I think and is generally the direction the Giro d'Italia climbs this pass.
However, to our favor we were not climbing the pass from the bottom but rather as part of the "Sella Ronda." Here is a shot looking back down in the direction we just climbed.
Of course, asending the Pordoi in this direction means we get to take the descent down the other side, you know, the one we did three days ago, the one that is almost entirely in open alpine meadows with 33 switchbacks... You know, this one:
Yeah, let's just say that was a good descent! Really, really good. There was no stopping for pictures on this one! WOOOHOOOOO!!!!!
Once back in Arabba, it was time to retrace our route back to Santa Lucia and then back to Alleghe. What a great ride. Here is the graph and today's details: 65 miles and 8030 feet of climbing.
Asiago, these have been fantastic reports.
When you have time could you talk about the tour company, the services they offered, what's included-what's not, comment on your guides and support, etc.
I have been resisting the temptation to name these posts "Cheeseheads Do Italy" over on the photo map post.
All hail the cheese...
You do realize that I of course had to bring home some parmigiano reggiano... It was only $7/pound there! I brought back just over a kilo...
Originally Posted by Scot_Gore
Anyway, yeah, when I wrap these reports up I'll give details on the tour group for those interested.
Thanks for posting. I have skiied the 4 passes many times. The glacier in the Pordoi pic is the marmolada. did a backcountry descent of that last new years eve.
we were supposed to be there now, but medical issues forced us to stay home. in-laws live down the road from arabba.
i have never been there in the summer, and had wanted to ride the sella ronda this summer. these pics keep me motivated for next summer.
Marmolada. Yes, we climbed the Fedia on day 3. That was a harsh climb for me. In fact, I had the most difficulty there all week. It certainly was one of the harder climbs, but I think it was a combination of factors for me that day. It is interesting how different riders have different impressions of the difficulty of the climbs.
Originally Posted by jh_on_the_cape
The Sella Ronde was a great ride. I highly recommend it and here's hoping you get the opportunity next summer.
Fantastic stuff. The Sella round is my absolute dream. I just might have to do it next month.
you are one lucky guy.
and when i say guy, that wasn't the 1st word
that came to mind.
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