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SL Magazine

Remko: the journey from Holland by train with his bike to the Giro delle Dolomiti

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

Dolomites are the absolute most beautiful mountains in the world where you can ride your bike or do any kind of outdoor sport. Picture yourself pedaling through pristine meadows and conquering challenging peaks, surrounded by awe-inspiring views that will leave you speechles

But it's not just about the cycling.

Along your journey, you'll encounter charming villages, crystal-clear lakes, and verdant valleys. Take a moment to soak in the tranquility of the beautiful forests and marvel at the imposing rocky peaks that surround you.

Sometimes you would wish for nothing else. With a network of well-maintained roads that wind through the region, you'll experience smooth and seamless rides, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the stunning surroundings. From exhilarating climbs to thrilling descents, every twist and turn will keep your adrenaline pumping.

As you explore the Dolomites, you'll also have the opportunity to indulge in the region's renowned culinary delights. Treat yourself to mouthwatering local cuisine, savoring the flavors of South Tyrol that perfectly complement your cycling experience.

My journey, which started in Holland, continued, once I arrived in Italy in Bolzano, with Stefania of

SL Academy who "picked me up" once I got off the train, taking me to my hotel in the town of Lavies, which is located at the confluence of the Isarco and Adige rivers, the starting point for my Tour of the Dolomites.

The hotel was a very nice place to stay with good facilities,

the most important ones is nice bed, a good restaurant, a good shower.

If you have time to spare you can also enjoy the swimming pools outdoor and indoor.

Remko “ On Sunday morning I did a very nice relaxed tour om my own to the Mortigler See. This was a very beautiful lake area with many cyclists on e-bikes. The weather was very beautiful around 30 degrees. In the afternoon we went to the Fair to pick up the stating number and have a briefing about the race. Afterwards they had some nice delicious little bites to eat and time to meet some other cyclists.”

On the tour of the Dolomites all of us cyclists are kept in a group and controlled by a race leader in the front car which you are not allowed pass. The peloton is escorted by traffic police along the route. In this way you can ride in peace and safety while enjoying the scenery as well as being able to chat with fellow riders.

Remko “The slight disadvantage of this is, that is the pace, especially on the descends, are a bit slow. But this also gives you the time to chat a bit with the other cyclist coming from all parts on the world. Together with to the 2 drink stations, with a lot of different food (not the usual sport-gels and -bars but with cakes, sandwiches) and drinks and at the end or during the stage a warm lunch. This is a real recommendation.”

The first day's ride was 90 km in Val di Fiemme with a start which was still beautiful and pleasantly warm. On the first climb, with the pedalling left free so that each of us could keep our own pace, was very pleasant and left inside the desire to do another one right away also because, for me, it had been the first real climb of this year. Always a pleasant feeling of riding uphill and enjoy the magnificent views. At the top at the first refreshment point, it was possible for everyone to exchange impressions and talk with fellow adventurers from all over the world and enjoy some drinks and food. Not more or less artificial drinks and snacks usually found at other rest stops in other cycling events. But nice cakes, bread with ham or cheese.

Remko: “A few km after this we had the first timed section. This time a rather short but steep climb (6.5km with 687m). When this was over, we had a few km to climb furter (with almost the same climbing percentages. At the top of Alpe di Pampeago it unfortunately began to rain a little bit, what made it could immediately.”

Fortunately for me, Stefania practically forced me to bring the necessary clothing for bad weather. Like in all mountain regions the weather is very unpredictable, the weather can change suddenly. And especially because you are on a high altitude it gets also cold very quickly. Fortunately, when we descended a little bit, the conditions improved and we ended with dry weather.

Remko " Most people didn’t put enough warm cloth it the bags that you can hand in at the start. So, for most this was a cold descent back to Bolzano. Back in Bolzano we had a lunch and the cold was forgotten quickly.”

The second day was the most intense and the longest and hardest ride of the week, the Sella Ronda tour...four passes: Sella, Pordoi, Campolongo and Gardena...160 km in 10 hours...

Fortunately the weather was much better than predicted and allowed us to face this wonderful effort being able to enjoy views and landscapes of unique beauty together with some very nice cyclists on this truly special day. At the hotel a well-deserved shower was waiting immediately followed by a dinner and afterwards to bed for a restful sleep to seal a day that will always stay with me.

Then came Wednesday, the day of the great Stelvio Tour!

Remko " Today was a very simple stage on go up the Stelvio, the timed section and then descending at the other side and back via the Umbrail pass. The Stelvio is famous because of its 48 hairpins. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time the enjoy the views on the way and at the top it was bit cold, so it was better top descend as quickly as possible. In the valley it was nice and warm again and we good enjoy a lunch in some a nice fortified place.”

Thursday was the turn of Fedaia Pass, the Marmolada glacier Pass

Remko: " Again, we had much climbing to do in the morning leading up to the Fedaia Pass, where the timed section of the day was to be. But the beautiful and jaw dropping views of the mighty dolomites made up for it all. The timed section was not that long and with the smallest climbing percentage of the week, was really doable. They way back was a bit long for me, having a bit of an upset stomach. But after the last drink station I felt a little bit better.”

Friday was the final day of this magnificent tour of the Dolomites. Everyone was exited to xtart this last stage to win some place in the classifications. But the atmosphere was not tense at all, everyone was talking to other people who they have met during the other stages.

The start headed towards S. Genesio Valley where the last timed climb of this tour was located for about1000m of climbing. Here a refreshment point awaited us where among speck, cheeses, scones, and jam-filled pancakes I enjoy the sun and the green meadows together with the rest of the caravan with the organizers and Stefania.

The museum of San Genesio Haflinger was there as well to show a a carriage with horses in front, that seem perfectly at ease with humans.

From here begins the last descent to Verano where another refreshment point awaits us with sandwiches filled with local specialties and the music of an accordion as background music...this day looks more and more like a pedal ride in total tranquillity among food, smiles and now close-knit people that will bring everyone back to Bolzano for the grand finale and the ritual price awards.

It was also say goodbye to all cyclists I have met during the week

Then on Saturday my holidays came to an end unfortunately. Stefania was with me until my departure even though everything was already over the day before and I am grateful to her for that and with her, perfect organizer of my whole week, the farewell was a goodbye util next year, hopefully with some friends.

This tour of the Dolomites, its stunning landscapes, charming locations, delicious food, and the wonderful people I encountered, will forever hold a special place in my heart.

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