The Dolomites are amazing and definitely on our recommended bike bucket list.
Yes, the region is mountainous however that is big part part of where the beauty lies; in the majestic peaks and the effort required to traverse them, and challenge to get over them…on a road bike.
On our Tour of the Dolomites and Prosecco Road, we have you experiencing a beautiful list of climbs that include Giau, Falzarego, Valporola, Sella Ronda, Colle Santa Lucia, Gardena, Campolongo, Fedaia, and finally Monte Grappa in the Veneto….along with the beautiful rolling hills of that region filled with endless rows of vines.
While we do ride 530km’s and climb 12,960m across 8 days, when you break down the numbers you realize how the tour has been designed to inspire and challenge you, and certainly not break you.
With that in mind we thought we’d provide an insight into what it’s like to ride through the Dolomites with A’QTO.
The first day’s ride is always a “gentle” introduction to the region where we start off with a short out and back loop to a little village at the foothills of the Dolomites.
Ride Breakdown: Slight descent for the first 9.5km, which is followed by a 5.5km climb with the average gradient being 7.5% and a short peak at 15%. A 6km descent follows and then a final 9km return to the villa.
Highlight: The vista of the green hills and quintessential Alpine village laid out in the valley, surrounded by towering rocky peaks.
Our second day is one of our favourite days on the bike as we dive right into the heart of the Dolomiti.
Ride Breakdown: This is a day that has moments requiring focus and concentration to keep the pedals turning.
Passo Giau has a total of 29 hairpins over a distance of 9.85km with an average gradient of 9.4% and a max of 14% and after a superb descent, you have Passo Falzarego with a total of 17 hairpins over a 10.6km distance, with an average gradient of 6.3% and a max of 10%.
Highlight: The imposing peaks as you reach the top of the Passo Giau and Passo Falzarego. Simply jaw dropping.
Sella Ronda is our loop for Day 3 and this is a superb day of climbing and descending four distinct passes, with spectacular landscapes everywhere you turn.
Ride Breakdown: Passo Gardena has 12 hairpins over 9.5km, with an average 5.3% and a max gradient of 10%
Passo Sella has 10 hairpins over 5.5k, with an average gradient of 7.9% and a max gradient of 12%
Passo Pordoi has 33 hairpins over 9.2k, with an average gradient of 6.9% and a max gradient of 9%
Passo Campolongo has 13 hairpins over 5.8k, with an average gradient of 6% and a max gradient of 11%
Highlight: The feeling of complete contentment after completing the truly beautiful and iconic Sella Ronda mid week, and with few cars around.
On day 4, we pace our effort. It is our longest and highest day so far and one to remember.
Ride Breakdown: Passo Fedaia is 13.99k long, with an average gradient of 7.6% and a max gradient of 18%. This is a climb for the senses; tiny roads through little alpine hamlets that give way to forests with cascading rivers, and with the ever present peaks off in the distance.
Highlight: The beautiful and narrow gorge of the Serrai di Sottoguda on our way up an iconic Dolomites cycling climb.
If a rest day is in order, then Day 5 is perfectly placed as it’s also our transfer day to the Veneto and the Prosecco Rd region. After we check in, we’ll go for an easy “coffee ride” to help you get your bearings.?
Ride Breakdown: An easy day with a few short sharp pinches to keep you from day-dreaming about retiring to a villa amongst the lush vineyards.
Highlight: Rolling along the meandering network of quiet and tiny Prosecco back roads.
The Percorso Principale, or the ‘main Prosecco Wine Road’, is our focus on Day 6. It delivers a sensational loop of free flowing roads that dissect the rolling green vineyards and forest of the region.
Ride Breakdown: A day of continual undulation that will keep you honest.
Highlight: A day with perfect balance, rolling along super quiet roads in the Italian sunshine.
This is our longest day on the bike and as our own ‘Gran Fondo’, offers us our biggest and final challenge, with the majestic Monte Grappa. This is a big day where you will need to remind yourself that it doesn’t go on forever, but it’s always all worth it.
Ride Breakdown: The day’s ride is bookended with two relatively flat 40km sections. Following the first 40km, we have the superb 25km ascent with an average of 8.1% and a max of 17%. Yes, it is hard but it is worth the effort. After a little lunch, we take the beautiful descent of 25km and follow the same route home to the villa, pool and prosecco…. and most likely in that order.
Highlight: Ascending the sensational 25k climb on tiny winding roads, dissecting cool forests with hooting owls, open plains and through tunnels, all on the edge of the mountain, with Venice in the distance.
Ride Option: If you’d like to join our Dolomites tour but would rather skip Monte Grappa, that’s easy done, as we have an alternative ride option that takes in more of the Prosecco country to the east, and in the direction of Venice.
Either ride provides the perfect finish to an amazing week of riding.
So, when the numbers are broken down, you realize:
- There’s a lot of climbing and descending on this tour, and a couple of technical days with large numbers of hairpins, but taken at your pace, it’s all within reach
- With 2 ride guides on the road and a sag wagon at the very rear of the group, we have options and can be flexible with how we split the group.
At the end of the day, there will be support near you, should it be required and you’ll never be left to ride alone.
If you’re interested in joining us for our Dolomites & Prosecco Road Cycling Tour in 2019.
PS: stay tuned for part 2 of this blog which will be about how best to approach riding in the Dolomites.