#5MaratonasChallenge Day 5 1998+ - A Final Climb

"The final climb is either an elated zen-like sprint, or a long dark tunnel with a distant light at the end". I am pleased and thankful to say that today I finished the #5MaratonasChallenge, in a euphoric state.

Today's route was the current Maratona dles Dolomites course: 143 kilometres, with 4,300 metres of climbing. That is a big day out by any standards, but thankfully it is less excessive than some of the preceding days that I have ridden this week - my legs were thankful for that, at least.

The Finale Ride

The sun rose on another beautiful day in the Dolomites, as I headed to the start in Varda.

From Corvara, the route heads on a lap of the Sellaronda: Campolongo, Pordio, Sella and Gardena.

Then, back in Corvara, you ascend Campolongo a second time; before descending, to the base of the Passo Giau.

Café refuel before Giau

I have developed a love-hate relationship with the Passo Giau over the last five days, so in the hope of starting this final ascent on good terms, I stopped to fuel up on coffee and cake before the ascent.

After this refuel, there would only be the Giau and the Valparola to complete the challenging climbs.

30 Hairpins. Descend. Valporola Final.

Spin to win… I plugged the Neil Pryde Bura SL into the 34x29, and 'spun' up through the 30 hairpin bends that make up the Haute Categorie Passo Giau climb. Elation met me at the summit.

From the Giau, it was a beautiful descent to Pocol, before the final climb of the day, and the challenge, up to the Valparola.

The Mür. Finito. Then, Gelato.

The incredible descent off the Valparola is followed by one final kick: the Mür dl Giat.

With the legs emptied, it was a final sprint into Corvara.

The #5MaratonasChallenge complete. Time for some Italian gelato!

Final Challenge Statistics:
  • 42 hours ride time
  • 873 kilometres
  • 28,300 metres

Ride Summary

Kit Select: Castelli Cycling

It seemed appropriate to finish the #5MaratonasChallenge in the official Italian clothing sponsor of the Maratona dles Dolomites.

I selected the Castelli Free Aero 4.1 Jersey, Free Aero Race Bib Shorts, Inferno Cycling Cap, Pro-Mesh Base Layer, Rosso Corsa 13 Socks, and the new Castelli Vela Gilet.

Castelli kit always performs well, and this new evolution of the Free Aero range is even better than past editions that I have worn. Comfortable, close fitting, and fantastically breathable; this was the perfect choice for another warm day in the Dolomites.

The new Vela Gilet uses sail cloth material to provide a superb level of wind protection and packability. I was extremely grateful of it when descending, having worked up a sweat on the harder climbs.

Fantastic Italian kit, to end an awesome Italian challenge. In-depth review coming soon.


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