Dolomiti and Italian Alps Bike Tour in 2011

After finishing the previous six-day bike tour with Breaking Away, Mary and I returned to the Novotel Malpensa in Cardano al Campo near the Milan Malpensa airport. We spent three nights there and biked on our own for three layover days. We then did this second bike tour with Breaking Away for the next seven days in July 2011. The first five days were in the Dolomite Alps, while the last two days were in the higher Alps of Italy further west. We biked 90 miles on our layover days and 352 miles with 45,300 ft of climbing during the tour. There were 11 guests in total plus four guides: Greg and Teri Hogan, Glen Allen, and Oleg Bozhor.

Here is the itinerary for the tour.

Day -2 (Friday, July 1): On our first layover day we do a longer ride along the Canale Naviglio Grande than we did before the previous tour. We bike 45 miles.

Day -1 (Saturday, July2): We have saddle sores and bike only 10 miles from Cardano al Campo to Femo and back. For extra exercise, we run 5 miles and swim 400 m.

Day 0 (Sunday, July 3): We go back to the Canale Naviglio Grande and bike the opposite way alongside the Fiume Ticino. We bike 40 miles and run 5 miles. Mary does a 400-m bonus swim.

Day 1 (Monday, July 4): Take a long shuttle to Levico Terme. Then bike 47 miles with 4,000 ft of climbing to finish at Albergo Antico in Bellamonte.

Day 2 (Tuesday, July 5): Bike over Passo Rolle (1,984 m) and Passo Cereda (1,369 m) to finish at Sporthotel Europa in Alleghe, where we spend three nights. We bike 55 miles with 6,500 ft of climbing.

Day 3 (Wednesday, July 6): Bike the Grande Strada della Dolomiti, a big loop over five passes: Passo Falzarego (2,105 m), Passo Valparola (2,192 m), Passo Gardena (2,136 m), Passo Sella (2,240 m), and Passo Pordoi (2,239 m)! The first two passes are right next to each other. We bike 68 miles with 9,000 ft of climbing.

Day 4 (Thursday, July 7): Bike most of the Alleghe Sud loop over Passo Duran (1,605 m) and Passo Staulanza (1,773 m) with an out-and-back to Passo Giau (2,236 m). We shuttle a downhill stretch because the road is wet. We bike 55 miles with 10,000 ft of climbing!

Day 5 (Friday, July 8): Bike through the Sottoguda gorge, over Passo Fedaia (2,054 m), and over Passo Costalunga (1,752 m) to finish at Hotel Stiegl-Scala in Bolzano. We bike 51 miles with 5,000 ft of climbing and swim 400 m afterward.

Day 6 (Saturday, July 9): Do a long shuttle to Lasa. Then bike 42 switchbacks up the 6,200-ft climb to Passo dello Stelvio (2,760 m or 9,055 ft), the second highest paved pass in the Alps! We finish the day with a long downhill to Bormio, after 35 miles of biking with 6,200 ft of climbing.

Day 7 (Sunday, July 10): Bike one more big climb over Passo Gavia (2,652 m) to finish in Edolo after 41 miles of biking with 4,600 ft of climbing. Do a long shuttle back to Novotel Malpensa in Cardano al Campo to end the tour after 17 successive days of biking in Italy and Switzerland!

Photos and commentary follow.