Thursday, September 8, 2011

MTBing in the "Dolomiti Stars"

The "Dolomiti Stars" includes the resort areas of Civetta, Falcade-Passo San Pellegrino, Arabba and Marmolada in the Dolomites. Here you can find spectacularly beautiful and challenging road bike rides, and also terrific mountain biking. Below are some suggested mtb routes courtesy of the nice people at .

Medium difficulty route for a total 190,54 km and about 1913 m of altitude change. It starts off from Alleghe. Take the cable car lift to Piani di Pezzè, where you take a second lift up to the panoramic locality of Col dei Baldi (1915 m). Once off the chair lift we start going down towards the right for about 550 m. At the Col Fioret crossing we continue in the direction of Malga Boi Vescovà until we reach the crossroads for Casera Fontanafredda. Once passed the dairy there’s a slight, short uphill towards F.lla Pecol turnoff; when we come off the top it’s an intense downhill stretch for about 2 km with no less than a 15% negative gradient. At point Vizza Mareson we continue to the left under Bosco delle Foglie, another 500 metres of asphalt and we get to the parking lot for the lifts at Pescul. We use the lift to go back up to Fertazza. With a second stretch of chair lift we’re up at 2082 m on the panoramic Belvedere di Fertazza with its lodge. We proceed to the right to go up a few metres to Cima Fertazza then back down to path 566 towards Col di Davagnin. Immediately after the houses in Fernazza (1567 m) we continue along the path until we reach the hamlet of Coi, a little less than 600 m away, our first downhill section for about 3170 m with -654 m negative, so an average gradient of a little more than 20%. From Coi we set off for our final dive towards Alleghe Lake; it’s 3020 meters, with a downhill gradient of 15,5%, passing through the hamlets of Frena and Fontanive.

Valle di Gares has glacial origins and carves out a deep trench among the Pale di San Martino mountain chain. This stretch is an ample, rolling downhill that comes out in the wide plain of Pian delle Giare. From here you can see the Comelle Falls, a lovely, dramatic waterfall. Valle di Gares is accessible from Canale d’Agordo, birthplace of Pope Luciani, via a bicycle path that follows the main road and the Liera torrent. The 31,79 km-long route, with an altitude change of 1166 m, is of medium difficulty and goes all the way to the hamlet of Gares, where it starts to become much more challenging during a short yet intense climb to Malga Stia.

This easy route, appropriate for everyone, starts from Arabba. We head east following asphalt downhill on SP n. 48 until we reach Renaz, where, in front of the family-run dairy (that’s worth a visit) there’s a turn to the left that goes uphill on asphalt until it comes to Malga Cherz. Here the path becomes steeper until it comes to Rifugio Incisa. We pass this and after a dozen or so metres we’re tempted to take the downhill that will take us to Corvara. Instead, we turn left and go up again, on a slight slope along a well- marked path. From here it’s mostly forests, where it’s an easy ride to Passo Campolongo. We take the asphalted provincial road for a few hundred metres and when we come to a conglomerate of hotels we take a left exit and find ourselves on a narrow single track, which soon becomes steep and heads straight up to Arabba. A softer alternative is to go down from Passo Campolongo to Arabba along the provincial road.

The magnificent Valle Pettorina is the starting point for this tour. You go up from the little village of Sottoguda, along the Serrai di Sottoguda gorge (about 2 km) until you reach Malga Ciapela. Continue in the direction of the campsite and the Miola holiday farm. Here you go up towards Malga Franzedaz and follow an old mule trail to the top of Forca Rossa. You can come back along the same route, or continue on towards Passo San Pellegrino and come back on the state road to Rocca Pietore/Sottoguda (challenging).

Click on photos to enlarge.

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