Dolomites: Biking (and some climbing) in Alta Badia



I’ve visited the Dolomites a couple of times in the summer – hiking the Alta Via No.1 and  Via Ferrata in Cortina.

The landscape of the Dolomites is quite a contrast to Chamonix – with towering spires that glow almost  fiery pink at sunset….. and it’s very beautiful, in a different way to Chamonix’s more dramatic style.

This time  I was on my bike as the ‘Alta Badia Sanité’ programme was launched; a host of new food and sporting events in the open air.

There are already several cycling events in  Alta Badia this year, such as the Maratona dles Dolomites and the Sellaronda Bike Day as well as mountain biking events.

For the 2 days  of cycling I was based at the  4* Hotel La Perla, who were launching their ‘Leading  Bike” project – a service for cyclists offering a cycle repair shop, secure storage facility, bike wash and laundry service inside the hotel.

There are also  guided tours from the hotel and meals prepared by a chef who specialises in cyclist nutrition. I also tried out a bike from the Pinarello range.


The first day I was meant to be cycling the Tour Sellaronda route (accompanied by Maria Canins (a former pro): Corvara – Passo Campolongo – Arabba – Passo Pordoi – Passo Sella – Passo Gardena – Colfosco – Corvara.

The next day I was geared up to cycle the Tour Passo Giau : San Cassiano – Passo Valparola – Passo Falzarego – Cernadoi – Colle Santa Lucia – Passo Giau – Pocol – Passo Falzarego – Passo Valparola – San Cassiano

Beatrice Tomasson and her guide, Arcangelo Siorpaes, in the Cortina Dolomites, 1898

Beatrice Tomasson and her guide, Arcangelo Siorpaes, in the Cortina Dolomites, 1898

I’ll then attempted to do something I’d planned about  a year ago- until it started snowing!

My aim then was to climb some of the routes put up in the 1900’s by pioneering female climbers  such as Ilona and Rolanda von Eötvös and Käthe Bröske, and in particular, Beatrice Tomasson, who studied the south face of Marmolada for several years with a  number of different guides until she succeeded with Michele Bettega.

I’m hoping to climb the   “Dënt de Mezdì” (“teeth of the Mezdì valley”).

But, of course this is Italy, and food will also be high on my agenda with local Ladin specialties as well as the new Gourmet Picnics which you can pick up at nine of the mountain refuges. These have specially prepared dishes created by some of the best chefs in the area.

I’ll certainly be trying one of these to fuel me through the cycling!

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