In June we rode the infamous Sellaronda Bike Day
It’s a non-competitive Cycling event in the heart of the Dolomites on closed roads. No vehicles just cyclists! It’s on one of the most spectacular routes in Italy - certainly one of the most exhilarating and inspiring places to ride a bike.
This year the recommended course direction was anti-clockwise but of course there are always a few who like to go against the flow! The passes Gardena, Sella, Pordoi, Campolongo make up the Sellaronda. You can start at any point on the course. The roads are closed to traffic from 08:30am to 15:30pm, so there's plenty of time for photos and cafe stops.
Arriving in Selva Gardena on a cool sunny morning, there were lots of other cyclists unloading bikes ready for a great day in the mountains. After staying in a Selva for a week skiing in January, this place felt very familiar to us as we decided to stop at one of our favourite places for coffee and strudel, Cafe Europa. Then we were off up the Passo Sella to the start of the circuit.
Passo Sella - the highest paved mountain pass in the Dolomites
(length of climb from Selva 5.6km, elevation 2,224m)
At the start point of the circuit, Bivio Gardena, there were lots of cyclists milling about in the road, but as we continued up the climb to Passo Sella the road became clearer.
We decided to ride at our own pace and arranged to meet in Arabba, the village at the foot of the Pordoi "see you at Garni Erica" he said as he zoomed off into the distance.
About three quarters of the way up the pass a voice called out to me "Pegoretti" !! ...that was my bike. As I turned round I saw the friendly face of Alberto Boz, a friend from Treviso who we knew from the 'Pegoraduno' (an annual cycling weekend for Pegoretti fans and friends).
We rode to the top of the Sella chatting away and at the top we took a few photos of our beautiful Pegoretti’s. Then we said our goodbyes as Alberto waited for his friend. Putting my jacket on for the descent, I set off down the other side. I could see the snow capped peaks of the Marmolada in the distance. It’s a thrilling descent with jaw-dropping scenery at every turn.
Passo Pordoi - the second-highest paved mountain pass in the Dolomites
(length of climb from Sella turn 7km, elevation 2,239m)
Turning left at the crossroads of the Sella-Pordoi passes, it was up again just a 7km climb of the second half of the Pordoi. The foot of the climb is in Canezei, so it’s not the full Pordoi, but the switchbacks on this climb make it so picturesque.
I couldn’t resist stopping a few times to get some cycling shots, there were cyclists everywhere. Near the top, I get a text from Paul, he’s already arrived at Garni Erica (a favourite), having a strudel.
The descent from Passo Pordoi down to Arabba is fantastic, incredible views and 33 hairpins packed into 9.5km.
However, it's now quite busy with hundreds of cyclists, some on their last descent to Arabba where they started the route. We’ve got two more passes to ride, the Campolongo and the Gardena.
(length of climb from Arabba 4km, elevation 1,875m)
After a panino and coke at Garni Erica, we both set off together up the Campolongo where we come across the garden hairpin (as we like to call it)....a highlight on this climb.
After the descent of the Campolongo, we stop for a quick coffee in Corvara. It’s my favourite village in Alta Badia - famous for the finish of the Maratona Dles Dolomites every July. We’ve stayed here many times in the Summer.
(length of climb from Corvara 9.6km, elevation 2,136m)
We carry on up the Passo Gardena and back to Selva Gardena. Back at the car we got chatting to some Luxembourgers who were parked next to us. They were convinced Paul looked like ex-pro rider Andy Schleck!
What a super day, my legs were still feeling ok as we drive back down the autostrada to our home in Arco, Lake Garda.
Strava stats: 65.4km, total elevation 2,150m
Are you training for an event?
Do you want to ride the Sellaronda?
For this and more, check out our Dolomites cycling holiday, 8 - 14 July 2019.