In the 1st quarter of 2006 I decided to train to bicycle from the start to the finish of the Granfondo Campagnolo, the hardest italian granfondo of 2006. A few times I climbed 4000-5000m heightdifference in a day, so I knew that I would be able to do it with my touring bike.
Usually I trained in the Pilis
mountains every weekend, and at last I and 2 friends of mine spent 3 days in the Dolomites before the granfondo.
On these tours I got acquainted with the beautiful Staller sattel at the austrian border. The last 5-6 kms goes through a forest, and the road is only ca. 4 meter wide, and the direction of the traffic changes every half hour.
After Stallersattel I climbed Erbepass, Würzjoch, which is - with a 3 km long descent - averagely 6,1% steep, without that ca. 7,5%. From the first kilometers there are nice views to the opposite side mountains (La Varella), then at the end to the beautiful double peaked Peitlerkofel. The countryside is very nice at the surrounding od the col.
Next day I ascended Passo Giau and Passo Valles. Giau is hard and pretty. From the col there is a wonderful panorama from Sella, to Marmolada, Tofana, and other famous peaks. Unfortunately the col is visited by a lot of motorbikes too. The descent towards Caprile contained 28 hairpin-bends.
I didn't know what a table was written in italian and didn't want to take a detour so I descended straight to caprile, where I arrived to a mass of rocks on the road. I didn't want to climb back and waste an hour, so I climbed by foot onto the rocks with my bike in my hand and after 5-8 minutes I could go on cycling. In the valley of Passo Valles the mountains were in dew / vapour.
After Falcade at a hairpin the road was 12-16% steep, the road was painted by Giro fans, my road turned right. The next 6-7 kms were calm, I enjoyed the voices of birds, cows. At the top there was only ca. 10 degrees Celcius.
Beside these passes the most beautiful one was the road to under the rockwall of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. The steep part of the road is 6kms long, but it is 10-12%.
At the end of the road there are two parking places and a tourist-house. The views are fantastic from the last 2-3kms:
a lot of peaks, and sometimes the Lake Misurina.
The Granfondo Campagnolo was fantastic. One of my most memorable bicycle memory. We started from the center of Feltre which was rebuilt in the
16th century after destroying in 1509. The first 38 kms were generally flat with small hills, then the first climb:
Castello Tesino: 9,64 km +627 m heightdifference. On that climb all of the participants (short and long distance) psuhed the pedals together, so I was able to overcome 40-50 bikers by my touring bike. At stopping for photo making a few of them went in front of me, but then I reached the again.
After the refreshment point, cyclers of the short distance turned right. Our next climb was the Passo Manghen (2048 m), a hard one.
Generally I climbed with 20-30 bikers, sometimes I overtook them, sometimes them did the same with me. I made photos too, for me it was a hard tour, and not a race; I enjoyed very much. The last 5 kms were 9% steep, so a few bikers suffered. Without any problem I arrived at the top 20 minutes before the time limit.
In the valley it was surprise for me, that I overtook almost 20 bicyclers, and no one come in front of me; my pace was 30-32 km/h. The other climb was the nice Passo Rolle (1970 m), with views to the peaks of the Pala di San Martino. This pass has a very beautiful surrounding, nature, countryside, but unfortunatelly the weather went wrong, cloudy, and a little bit cold.
At last int he last 1 kms started a little bit rain. The organisers were very wise, sharp because 1 hrs before they gave juice, water to the racers, but when we arrived in the cold we got hot tea.
After downhilling 10kms, we could cycle again in warm. The last climb, Croce Aune was only 1015 m high, but 3-4kms of the climb was hard, 9-10% steep.
Rolling towards the finish I was very excited. Surprisingly the finish went up to the high center of the town Feltre, to the castle. Because of it the last 1km very cobblestoned, and more and more steep.
After I crossed the finishline I were smiling. I felt very well, I was very happy to finish in time without and problem, and beside this I enjoyed very much the whole distance and the feeling.
After that the speaker saw me with my unusual (not racebike) bicycle, he call me to beside him to have a little talk. I couldn't speak italian, but we communicated.
I surprised him with my bike, the 2-3 kg weighted things (mechanical items, clothes, map, steepness-diagrams on my bike, and he told it to the public.
At last I got a very nice surprise, when I could hear the sound of the hungarian anthem. I was touched. Although the winner arrived 5,5 hours before me, but with my bike and tour-biking attitude I think my efforts were serious enough, and I was happy that others thought the same.
PS: The Granfondo Campagnolo was the hardest bicyclemarathon of Italy in 2006. Look! or here: list of granfondos in 2006.
Just the GRANFONDO CAMPAGNOLO was my 300th bicycletour above 100km in a day. (since 1991)