A brief introduction about the Dolomites
As already mentioned, the Dolomites are part of the Alps and geographically the southernmost. Because of the way they were formed thousands of years ago, the mountains in the Dolomites have a unique appearance with high peaks and characteristic steep rock faces. With the highest point at 3343 metres at Marmolada, the Dolomites promise cycling enthusiasts a terrain where your climbing skills will be seriously tested. Every reason to get to know this stunning piece of Italian beauty.
Or rather we should say "the rides" because Chris has not one but three routes he wants to share with us. By far the absolute route tip is a true classic: the Sellaronda. It is undoubtedly one of the most epic cycling routes that every cyclist must have ridden once in a lifetime. In the ride of just 51 kilometres with around 1,700 altitude metres, you pass the Passo Campolongo, Passo Pordoi, Passo Sella and the Passo Gardena, thus traversing the impressive Sella massif. Maybe at first this sounds like a brutal and demanding ride, but none of the mentioned climbs are really long or extremely steep. This beautiful ride is therefore definitely very suitable for novice cyclists.
The ride starts in Corvara and clockwise we ride over the Passo Campolongo, this climb has a length of 5.8 kilometres and an average gradient of 6.1% on average. This is the least high climb of the route and therefore an ideal warm-up. After the descent, you arrive in Arabba where the next climb to the Passo Pordoi begins. This is the longest climb of 9.2 kilometres and a gradient of 6.9% average. A short descent is followed by the Passo Sella (5.5 km á 7.9%) and the Passo Gardena (5.8 km á 4.3%). After the final metres uphill, we descend to Corvara where the ride started.
For those for whom the Sellaronda is too short or has too few altimeters, Chris has added a route. This route is not exactly a ride for beginners so a good basic cycling condition is definitely required. This true queen's ride with more than 5,000 altimeters over a length of 175 kilometres is one you won't forget. The first climb of the ride is over the Passo Campolongo. Successively you pass the beautiful Passo Falzarego, Passo Valparola, Passo del Erbe, Gudon, Passo Sella, Passo Pordoi, and finally the Passo Campolongo again. Judge for yourself, you're going to feel this ride in your legs.
To complete the cycling feast in the Dolomites, Chris has a third route that should not be missed as dessert. It is certainly no small dessert because with 156 kilometres in front of your wheels with 4,150 altimeters, you will really be put to the test. But hey, you are definitely going to be a great experience richer with this. In this ride, you'll pass six epic climbs. These are the Passo Gardena, Alpe di Siusi, Passo Nigra, Passo di Carezza, Passo Pordoi and the Passo Campolongo. So there's no need to get bored :-)