#5MaratonasChallenge Day 4 - 1992-97 - A Long Day

"Race through life, and you'll miss it. Ride fast, and you will see many amazing sights from the saddle of a bicycle"

Today, I don't think I can claim to have been fast. Still, I enjoyed the opportunity to see some more incredible mountain landscapes, from the seat of a bicycle.

The 1992-97 route of the Maratona dles Dolomites was composed of two loops: these took in some of the hardest and longest mountain passes; including the Sella Pass, Fedaia, Valparola, Giau and 2x Campolongo.

Tiredness is beginning to kick in now, so for better or worse, this will be a blog post of fewer words. I will let the photos do the talking.

Close to 9 hours in the saddle, with over 6,000 metres of climbing. This was the last really big one of the #5MaratonasChallenge.

A special meetingThere was a special guest waiting for me, on the return to the hotel.

This fantastic gentleman started the very first Maratona in 1987, and after hearing of my challenge, he wanted to meet me. A real honou…

#5MaratonasChallenge Day 3 - 1990-91 - A Beautiful Ride

It always takes a few days for me to feel at home in the mountains. Yesterday, I saw the dark side; the unpredictable and untamed alter-ego. Today, thankfully, things were different.

After a few days, I begin to descend better; climb better; and even gain small learnings that make the ride that much easier: things like when to put on a rain cape, and even when to eat and drink on the climbs.

Day 3 of the #5MaratonasChallenge was clearly my day of coming to an understanding with the mountains.

With 175 kilometres to ride, and 5,800 metres of climbing to complete, the 1990-1991 Maratona course was going to be another long day in the saddle.

Valparola and new ground The day began with the same ascent of the Valparola pass as yesterday; before a long descent to Cortina, and a new loop up and over the Passo Tre Croci - an incredible little series of switchbacks.

Passo Giau From the top of the Passo Tre Croci, it was a long fast descent back to Cortina.

Then, starting the Passo Giau from i…

#5MaratonasChallenge Day 2 - 1988-89 Thunderstorms

The weather forecast for day 2 of the #5MaratonasChallenge was unsettled at best. Thunderstorms and lower temperatures threatened to make the 180 kilometres, with 6,000 metres of climbing, even more challenging.

Sat eating breakfast, and gazing up at the mountain peaks, the forecast seemed to have materialised. Rain hammered the windows, and darker clouds hovered over the mountains.

Given the weather, it seems worth recalling that in 1988 the final finisher was revived in a hot tub of water on the finish line. Then in 1989, it was so cold that the organisers finished the race on the Giau Pass. Don't underestimate the mountains…

The 1988-89 route of the Maratona dles Dolomites was similar to the 1987 route, but with the addition of the Giau Pass. To make things less repetitive today, after yesterday's 1987 route, I decided to do today's 1988-89 route, in reverse.

Valparola in the mistThe first climb of the day was yesterday's last: the Valparola Pass.

The rain has all bu…

#5MaratonasChallenge Day 1 - Starting in 1987

The first edition of the Maratona dles Dolomites was run in 1987. The planned route was 170 kilometres in length, and featured 5,300 metres of climbing.

On the day of the event, the weather forced the organisers to divert their route over the Pordio pass, rather than the Fedia pass. The distance was slightly increased, and the elevation remained unchanged. The challenge would still be an awesome day in the saddle.

The Gardena PassRolling out from the Ustaria Posta Hotel in Badia, the route heads up the valley to Corvara, and then onto the Gardena Pass.

Hazy morning mist rises off the valley, and the Sunday morning roads are beautifully clear.

It is a beautiful start to a second day on the Dolomite passes.

Passo SellaFrom Gardena, the descent is fast and clear, finishing at the base of the Sella Pass.

Up through the small car parks, full of hikers and climbers. The view from the summit is a stunning reward.

PordioThe climb to the top of the Pordio Pass is a series of hairpins, laced to …