Showing posts with label Traverse of Italy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Traverse of Italy. Show all posts

Monday, February 28, 2011

Traverse of Italy, Bernina-Bregaglia


It's time to rejoin Javier on his traverse of Italy through the Alps of Italy. If you want to catch up on the series read:
Traverse of Italy, Introduction
Traverse of Italy, Alpi Carniche
Traverse of Italy, Dolomites North and Central
Traverse of Italy, Brenta Group and Val di Sole
Traverse of Italy, Ortles-Stelvio, Part I
Traverse of Italy, Ortles-Stelvio, Part II

Javier has a 2 day stage, from Livigno to St. Moritz followed by St. Moritz to Gravedonna, on July 20th and 21st. The stage enters Switzerland and re-enters Italy.

"After leaving Livigno and following the Val Federia, I entered Switzerland by the Passo di Cassana/Pass Chaschauna. From there it was down via Val Chaschauna to the traverse of valley floor along the river In/Inn and ending in St. Moritz. It is an easy day with the exception of the Passo di Cassana/Chaschauna (7.90 km and 870 m climb). During the first part of descent there are several sections that are very complicated in which I had to go on foot."

Val di Federia from the Refugio Cassana
St. Moritz and Lago de S. Murezzan

"On day two of this stage we continue along the river En/In at the foot of the Bernina massif skirting the lakes of Silvaplana and Seg up until the Passo del Maloja. This leads us to the Val Bregaglia from which we descend to Chiavenna and continue on to Gravedona on the northern shores of Lake Como."

Lake Seg

Descent of Passo de Maloja

Val Bregalia

Arrival in Gravedona on the shores of Lake Como

Follow on Twitter: ITALIANCYCJOURN

Stories for the Italian Cycling Journal about rides, granfondos, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, etc. are always welcome. Contact me at veronaman@gmail.com. There are more than 1,700 stories in this blog. The search feature to the right works best for finding subjects in the blog. There is also an Italian weather widget along the right side and a translate button at the bottom so you can translate each page. What I'm riding.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Traverse of Italy, Ortles-Stelvio, Part II


If you want to catch up on the series read:
Traverse of Italy, Introduction
Traverse of Italy, Alpi Carniche
Traverse of Italy, Dolomites North and Central
Traverse of Italy, Brenta Group and Val di Sole
Traverse of Italy, Ortles-Stelvio, Part I

Immediately previous to this Javier had a challenging two days after starting in Refugio Lago Corvo, ascending the Tarscher Pass, and finally arriving at switchback number 25 of the Passo dello Stelvio roadway.

Javier writes on July 18th, "I wake up as usual around seven in the morning. My surprise is great when I look out the window. I see that it is snowing and strongly, between 10 and 20 cm cover the ground. The meadows that were green yesterday are today a huge white blanket broken only by the black ribbon of the Passo dello Stelvio road (the plows are running). My heart sinks to my feet. My biggest fear seems to have come true. I go down to breakfast and to wait out the snow storm.

At 11 am, after several coffees and having perused all the books available in the lounge (some very interesting about the events in this area during the First World War and the history of the Italian Alpini), it is still snowing and I'm climbing the walls. I do not want to spend all day here.

I need a sign. Soon, I see that there are three crazy mountain bikers going up the road and they stop for coffee to take off some of the chill. Well, why not me? I put on my fatigues and decide to go forward. Then, I will see what I find.

From the Berghotel Franzenshöhe there are 23 switchbacks, 6.5 km and 560 meters of ascent, to the top of the Passo dello Stelvio. The climb is easy, the wind is just a little uncomfortable when riding into it, the flakes fall gently tempering the cold. There is very little traffic, cars and motorcycles give shouts of encouragement (I feel like I'm racing in the Giro). This will be one of my great experiences of my tour, pedaling under a heavy snowfall near ten thousand feet is not something you do every day.

The view from switchback 11:

The Berghotel Franzenshöhe in the distance:

Looking towards the final switchbacks to the top of Passo dello Stevio:

At the top of the pass it is really cold and the wind presses hard. I stop for a coffee and assess the options. There is little for me to decide, the only option is to go down to Bormio. After buying cheap ski gloves (my long gloves were forgotten at home) at one of the small shops I put on ALL of the the warm clothing that I have and begin my descent with a great deal of caution.

I can say little of descent to Bormio. Fog, wind and cold. After 6 km I stop at the first possible stop, the III Cantoniera. The feelings in my hands are almost zero. I warm up for a bit before continuing. The snow becomes light rain just before a series of linked hairpins and some dark and narrow tunnels.

Arriving at Bormio:

In Bormio I opt for the Albergo Montana, simple but a bit far from downtown. I visit the attractive historic center and think about tomorrow. The weather is supposed to improve but there is still the problem of snow. I seek alternative options to continue my "Alpi Bike". Tomorrow is another day."

In the next installment we will cover the final day of Stage V, a four day stage, in which Javier travels from Bormio to Livigno.

Photos: click to enlarge

Follow on Twitter: ITALIANCYCJOURN

Share your story. Write a story about your cycling trip, or an aspect of your trip, in Italy. Or, it can be about a granfondo experience, a special encounter, your favorite ride, etc. The period for story submissions for prizes will be January 1-February 15, 2011. Prizes will be awarded on a random basis, stories will not be judged on which is the "best" one. Nevertheless, it should be a good story for the enjoyment of all readers. Photos accompanying the story are most welcome. If you have any questions email me at veronaman@gmail.com. See photos of prizes here. Prize donated by:
CycleItalia, specializing in cycling tours in Italy
BicycleGifts.com, the premiere site for gifts and merchandise for cyclists
Enzo’s ButtonHole Chamois Cream,chamois cream for the ultimate protection
FreeBirdVelo, Italian themed T-shirts
Strada Hand Built Wheels, custom wheel building
Velo-Retro, all things retro for cycling
La Gazzetta della Bici, massage oils for cyclists
Albabici, high-end Italian cycling products distributor

Friday, February 4, 2011

Traverse of Italy, Ortles-Stelvio, Part I



Returning once again to the traverse of the Alps in northern Italy by Javier we continue with the Ortles-Stelvio portion of the trip. If you want to catch up on the series read:
Traverse of Italy, Introduction
Traverse of Italy, Alpi Carniche
Traverse of Italy, Dolomites North and Central
Traverse of Italy, Brenta Group and Val di Sole

Stage V is divided into 4 days beginning in Refugio Lago Corvo and ending in Livigno (see graph above), a total of 160km +. Since there are many terrific photos I'll divide this Stage V into two parts for the purpose of this blog; you can click on photos to enlarge them.

Javier continues in his journal of day one of this stage, "We cross the boundary of the Stelvio National Park/Stilfser Joch (sector Alto Adige/South Tyrol). After descending the Val di Ultimo/Ultental, you climb the Passo di Tarres /Tarscher Joch, to visit Val Venosta/ Vinchgau, and at the end arrive at the foot of the Passo dello Stelvio/Stilfser Joch.

It is a long leg of 77 km with 1700 m of ascent. Near the top of the first pass, Tarscher Joch, both the ascent and descent were very difficult including stretches where the trail was unrideable and I was required to carry my bike (2.50 km and 390 m climb, 1.30 km and 290 m descent). At the end of the day, a difficult stretch near Morter that I took by mistake and the gentle uphill slope of the bicycle path to Lasa/Lass really added up on my legs. I arrived really tired to Pratto allo Stelvio."

Tarscher Pass:

Otztaler, Stubaier y Val Venosta:

The pista ciclabile of Val Venosta arriving at Pratto allo Stelvio:

On day 2 of this stage Javier's plan is to, "head in the heart of the Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio / Stilfser Joch ascending the Valle di Trafoi / Trafoiertal to arrive at Franzenshöse on the paved road to the top of Passo dello Stelvio. To avoid the highway at the bottom of the valley I ascended from Montechiaro to gain altitude to go Schartalm by traveling through small valleys against the walls of Ortles/Ortler coming out at Franzenshöse."

On the trail with Ortles in the background:

Ortles, Thurwieser y Trafoi:

Descending from Franzenshöhe in order to reach the Passo dello Stelvio roadway:

Arrival from the trail at switchback number 25 on the Passo dello Stelvio roadway:

The top of the Passo dello Stelvio (upper right), overnight stay at the Berghotel Franzenshöhe (lower left):

Follow on Twitter: ITALIANCYCJOURN


Share your story. Write a story about your cycling trip, or an aspect of your trip, in Italy. Or, it can be about a granfondo experience, a special encounter, your favorite ride, etc. The period for story submissions for prizes will be January 1-February 15, 2011. Prizes will be awarded on a random basis, stories will not be judged on which is the "best" one. Nevertheless, it should be a good story for the enjoyment of all readers. Photos accompanying the story are most welcome. If you have any questions email me at veronaman@gmail.com. See photos of prizes here. Prize donated by:
CycleItalia, specializing in cycling tours in Italy
BicycleGifts.com, the premiere site for gifts and merchandise for cyclists
Enzo’s ButtonHole Chamois Cream,chamois cream for the ultimate protection
FreeBirdVelo, Italian themed T-shirts
Strada Hand Built Wheels, custom wheel building
Velo-Retro, all things retro for cycling
La Gazzetta della Bici, massage oils for cyclists
Albabici, high-end Italian cycling products distributor

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Traverse of Italy: Brenta Group and Val di Sole


Now we return to the traverse of the Alps in northern Italy by Javier. If you want to catch up on the series read:
Traverse of Italy, Introduction
Traverse of Italy, Alpi Carniche
Traverse of Italy, Dolomites North and Central

Stage IV for Javier's primarily off-road journey is a two day stage taking place in the Brenta Group and the Val di Sole. Javier begins in Don and finishes at the Refugio Lago Corvo.

The Brenta Group (Dolomiti di Brenta in Italian) is a Dolomite mountain range located in the province of Trento. The Brenta Group is the only dolomitic group west of Adige River. It is separated from the Ortler Alps in the north by the Noce valley; from the Adamello-Presanella group in the west by the Campo Carlo Magno Pass and the river Sarca; from the Fiemme Alps in the east by the Adige valley.

Like the Brenta Group, The Val di Sole (or Valle di Sole) is located in the province of Trento. The valley name of Val di Sole applies to the Val Vermiglio, the east-west aligned valley of the river Noce and its side valleys, among which the Val di Peio that heads to the Ortler. The rest of the valley from Ossana to Mostizzolo is simpy called Val di Sole. Some of the towns in the valley are Vermiglio, Peio, Dimaro, Croviana and Malè (the main town).

Javier writes of his first day of this stage, "This is one of the hardest stages of "Alpi Bike". After a comfortable start on the road, descending to Dermulo and a gentle ascent to Tuen, begins the grueling climb to the Passo del Grosté (23 km and 1810 m of ascent). First by road until the Lago di Tovel, then by trail until Malga Pozzolo. On the way to Malga Pozzolo:

From Malga Pozzolo to the top of the Passo del Grosté required walking and pushing my bike for 6 km (which had 800m of ascent)." Near the top:

Of the second day, "A hard but tranquil day, especially after yesterday. A long descent by trail to Dimaro was great fun. Then, the descent continued by road to Male all of which made the stage easier. The main difficulties we would find at the end of the long climb to the Refugio Lago Corvo. After a few Kms of road and trail riding the last part of the trail brought renewed walking and pushing of my bike for 2.2 km, much shorter and easier than the Passo del Grosté from yesterday."

The Brenta Group as seen from the Refugio Graffer where Javier spent the night after the first day:

Gruppo Adamello-Presanella:

Val di Rabbies:

The trail nearing the Refugio Lago Corvo:

A few riders that were descending from the refugio:
Click on photos to enlarge.

Follow on Twitter: ITALIANCYCJOURN

Share your story. Write a story about your cycling trip, or an aspect of your trip, in Italy. Or, it can be about a granfondo experience, a special encounter, your favorite ride, etc. The period for story submissions for prizes will be January 1-February 15, 2011. Prizes will be awarded on a random basis, stories will not be judged on which is the "best" one. Nevertheless, it should be a good story for the enjoyment of all readers. Photos accompanying the story are most welcome. If you have any questions email me at veronaman@gmail.com. See photos of prizes here. Prize donated by:
CycleItalia, specializing in cycling tours in Italy
BicycleGifts.com, the premiere site for gifts and merchandise for cyclists
Enzo’s ButtonHole Chamois Cream,chamois cream for the ultimate protection
FreeBirdVelo, Italian themed T-shirts
Strada Hand Built Wheels, custom wheel building
Velo-Retro, all things retro for cycling
La Gazzetta della Bici, massage oils for cyclists
Albabici, high-end Italian cycling products distributor

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Traverse of Italy: Dolomites, North and Central


In stage III of his journey Javier passes through the wonderous Dolomites over four days beginning in Casera Melin and finishing in Don, southwest of Bolzano. His route takes him through major parks: Parco Nazionale delle Dolomiti Bellunesi, Naturpark Fanes-Sennes-Prags, Parco Naturale Regionale delle Dolomiti d'Ampezzo,and Parco Naturale Provinciale dell' Adamello-Brenta.

The name "Dolomites" is derived from the famous French mineralogist Déodat Gratet de Dolomieu who was the first to describe the rock, dolomite, a type of carbonate rock which is responsible for the characteristic shapes and color of these mountains; previously they were called the "pale mountains," and it was only in the early 19th century that the name was Gallicized.

On the 3rd day of this stage (9th day of trip) Javier encounters riders participating in "Sella Ronda Bike Day", a day every year when the roads around the Sella Ronda are closed to traffic and open to cyclists. See information about Sella Ronda Bike Day here.

Of these days in the Dolomites Javier writes, "A must for any fan of mountain biking if you want to know the Dolomites."

Picola Croda Rossa, Croda Rosa, Gruppo del Cristallo:

Rifugio Passo Sella:

Gruppo Sella:

Trail along Sassolungo:

Passo de Duron:

Descending from the Rifugio Bonatti:
Traverse of Italy, Introduction
Traverse of Italy, Alpi Carniche

Photos: click to enlarge

Follow on Twitter: ITALIANCYCJOURN

Share your story. Write a story about your cycling trip, or an aspect of your trip, in Italy. Or, it can be about a granfondo experience, a special encounter, your favorite ride, etc. The period for story submissions for prizes will be January 1-February 15, 2011. Prizes will be awarded on a random basis, stories will not be judged on which is the "best" one. Nevertheless, it should be a good story for the enjoyment of all readers. Photos accompanying the story are most welcome. If you have any questions email me at veronaman@gmail.com. See photos of prizes here. Prize donated by:
CycleItalia, specializing in cycling tours in Italy
BicycleGifts.com, the premiere site for gifts and merchandise for cyclists
Enzo’s ButtonHole Chamois Cream,chamois cream for the ultimate protection
FreeBirdVelo, Italian themed T-shirts
Strada Hand Built Wheels, custom wheel building
Velo-Retro, all things retro for cycling
La Gazzetta della Bici, massage oils for cyclists

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Traverse of Italy: Alpi Carniche



In stage II of his journey Javier winds his way over four days from Tarvisio to Casera Melin traveling 164.7 km. The route takes him from Italy into Austria and back into Italy.

The first day was very hard with almost two thousand meters of altitude in less than 50km in bad weather. Two tough climbs: The first to Achomitzer Alp over hilly and very difficult terrain, with plenty of time required to push the the bike. The second climb was over good terrain but it came at the end of the day. In between was a stretch of mountain road with even some complicated steps and handrails. Lago Pramollo:

Continuing the journey on the second day of Stage II through the Alpi Carniche Javier continues to encounter bad weather. Using the tracks of the Nassfeld-Hermagor station to skirt the Trogkofel/Crete di Alp peak he is eventually forced down into the valley in order to continue to Mauthen. Descending to Ratendorf:

The following day the route re-enters Italy at Passo di Monte Croce Carnico/Plöckenpass:It's a challenging day with lots of meters of climbing in few km. The descent from the Refugio Marinelli:

In the final day of Stage II Javier begins to leave the Alpi Carniche and begins the tranistion to the Dolomites. Today's goal is to reach the Valley Melin. At the Passo Passo Avanza climbing towards the Passo Palombino:The requisite bike photo:

Traverse of Italy, Introduction

You can click on photos to enlarge them.

Follow on Twitter: ITALIANCYCJOURN

Share your story. Write a story about your cycling trip, or an aspect of your trip, in Italy. Or, it can be about a granfondo experience, a special encounter, your favorite ride, etc. The period for story submissions for prizes will be January 1-February 15, 2011. Prizes will be awarded on a random basis, stories will not be judged on which is the "best" one. Nevertheless, it should be a good story for the enjoyment of all readers. Photos accompanying the story are most welcome. If you have any questions email me at veronaman@gmail.com. See photos of prizes here. Prize donated by:
CycleItalia, specializing in cycling tours in Italy
BicycleGifts.com, the premiere site for gifts and merchandise for cyclists
Enzo’s ButtonHole Chamois Cream,chamois cream for the ultimate protection
FreeBirdVelo, Italian themed T-shirts
Strada Hand Built Wheels, custom wheel building
Velo-Retro, all things retro for cycling
La Gazzetta della Bici, massage oils for cyclists

Monday, January 17, 2011

Traverse of Italy: Trieste to Ventimiglia, Introduction

Thanks to the courtesy of Javier, from Spain, we will feature stories from his cycling adventure in which he traversed Italy, beginning in the east in Trieste and finishing in the west in Ventimiglia. The 43 day, 2072 km, 60,000 meters of ascent, trip took place during the summer of 2009. Javier, riding by himself, avoided the plains of Italy, instead riding in the Alps near the Italian northern border for the entire trip. And thus, he named his trip "Alpi Bike".

I want to emphasize that Javier has a beautiful blog in Spanish, "Zinaztli. Cicloturismo de montaña con alforjas" in which he chronicles his multi-day trips in Europe. Since his material is very detailed I will not attempt translate it word for word but rather give you a sense of his adventures and use selected photographs from his journey.

Approximately 60% of the trip was off-road, the remaining on asphalt road. Evenings were spent at a hotel or refugio.

Javier's trip first began with a 110 km two day ride north to Tarvisio, passing mostly through Slovenia, from Trieste. The view of Trieste from Opicina:


The following day Javier began his journey westward, from Tarvisio to Casera Melin. We will pickup the first full Italian stage in Part I in the next few days.

For those who may desire to undertake a similar trip here are key aspects of Javier's equipment for the journey:
Frame: 4 year old Felt Q800 with 10,000 km
Fork: Rock Shox July 2
Components: Shimano Deore XT shifters; Shimano SLX derailleurs, Shimano Deore disc brakes, XT 11/34 cassette; Tires: Hutchinson Python
Wheelset: Mavic MX117 (front), Mavic Crossline (rear)
Navigation: GPS Vista HCX with loaded maps (City Navigator Europe, Austria Topo, Topo Swiss, Italia Topo50 y Europe 20m Contour lines), Cateye computer, a selection of paper maps and of the Road Book guide
Panniers: Ortlieb Black Roller Plus
Javier's bike in Slovenia:

You can click on photos to enlarge them.

Follow on Twitter: ITALIANCYCJOURN

Share your story. Write a story about your cycling trip, or an aspect of your trip, in Italy. Or, it can be about a granfondo experience, a special encounter, your favorite ride, etc. The period for story submissions for prizes will be January 1-February 15, 2011. Prizes will be awarded on a random basis, stories will not be judged on which is the "best" one. Nevertheless, it should be a good story for the enjoyment of all readers. Photos accompanying the story are most welcome. If you have any questions email me at veronaman@gmail.com. See photos of prizes here. Prize donated by:
CycleItalia, specializing in cycling tours in Italy
BicycleGifts.com, the premiere site for gifts and merchandise for cyclists
Enzo’s ButtonHole Chamois Cream,chamois cream for the ultimate protection
FreeBirdVelo, Italian themed T-shirts
Strada Hand Built Wheels, custom wheel building
Velo-Retro, all things retro for cycling
La Gazzetta della Bici, massage oils for cyclists