#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 Pass

Rolling 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 Sella

From 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.


The climb to the top of the Pordio Pass is a series of hairpins, laced to the mountain side.

Down. Down. Down. Then Duran…

The descent from the top of Pordio seems to last forever. Indeed it is the longest descent I have ever done. Dropping from 2,260 metres to 600 metres; it is a serious loss of height.

That elevation loss can only mean one thing in the mountains… the climbing must follow.

The Duran Pass is a Haute Categorie climb. Almost 1,000 metres of elevation gain in 12 kilometres.

The snaking single-track road is a mix of magic and masochism. By the summit, I am a sweaty heap; I pull into the Refugio for a refuel.


There is little respite after descending from the Duran; the route heads straight into the 1st Category climb of Forcella Staulanza.
The heat of the early afternoon sun is at its peak now, and I am glad that I'm wearing the new specialist hot weather gear from Sportful: the R&D Cima range.

I celebrate with another espresso and an ice cream at the summit.

Valparola finale

The final climb of the route is up to the top of the Valparola pass.

Refreshed by my refuel, the climb seems easier than its predecessors. Further refreshment arrives too, in the form of a brief rainstorm.

By the time I reach the summit though, my legs are pleased that they are done for the day.

The rain has passed; the sun has fast dried the road; and it is an incredible long descent back to Badia. Day 1 complete.

Ride Summary

Kit Select Day 1: Sportful RandD Cima

Today's kit selection came from Dolomites-based brand Sportful; in the form of their new RandD Cima range. It is a set of kit designed for hot weather racing.

If I had asked a manufacturer to design a kit for today's ride type and weather conditions, I couldn't imagine anything more perfect could have been put together than the Cima bib shorts and jersey.

Worn without a base layer, it provided superb wicking, comfort, and breathability; thanks to some innovative design features and fabrics. Full review coming soon.


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