Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sella Ronda Bike Day

Sella Ronda is one of the most beautiful bike rides in the world: four passes in the heart of the Dolomiti.  Twice each year, once in June and once in September, the authorities close these roads to all cars, trucks and motorcycles.  I missed last year's due to weather but later rode the Ronda clockwise by myself.  Luckily this year the route is counterclockwise, so I had the chance to climb each of the four passes from the opposite side.  They seemed completely different in this direction.

I left home around 0500 and drove via Longarons and Forcella Staulanza to Livinallongo.  This provided an easy warm-up to Arabba.  From there I headed up the deserted switchbacks to Passo Campolongo, an easy climb.  Fun descent to Corvara, where a horde of cyclists from Cortina and beyond were getting underway.  From Corvara you climb up to Passo di Gardena (2121m) through beautiful meadows flanked by Gruppo del Sella(3152m) on the left and Gruppo del Cir (3025m) on your right .  An easy descent and climb from here to Passo Sella (2244m) beneath imposing Sassolungo (3181m).  Now comes a fast descent toward Canazei, then you turn left at 1800m and start the climb up Passo Pordoi (2239m).  This was more difficult than I had imagined while descending it last year, but still not bad.

The descent from Pordoi to Arabba is not to be missed- a series of switchbacks that seems to go on forever.  Most fun of the day.

I cooled down on the easy ride back to the car at Livinallongo.  Fantastic ride, with more bikers in 4 hours than I normally see in 4 months.  A blast.

Video from last year's Bike Day http://vimeo.com/11232888

Sunrise on dolomite peak above foggy Vajont

The climb toward Passo di Fedaia from above Caprile

Gruppo del Cir, left; Sass Songher above Corvara,  right

Gruppo del Sella dolomite towers as viewed from Passo Gardena

Val di Fassa and Canazei from Passo Sella

The descent to Arabba from Passo Pordoi
Bikes descending looping road to Arabba

Garmin reading 100 meters low

Counterclockwise

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