#5MaratonasChallenge - The Wild Card Ride - #WildCardDolomitiRide

There is another side to riding a bicycle in the Dolomites. Away from the passes and ski resorts you will find deserted single track roads, leading to tiny villages, farms and incredible vistas.

With the #5MaratonasChallenge completed yesterday, today was the last day of this trip to the Italian mountains. I was keen to explore the less-discovered roads…

Selecting the 'Not Only Dolomites Passes' card from the Holimites route card portfolio, I set out with Igor from Ustaria Posta - in search of small lanes and hidden gems.

Not far from home

It didn't take long to discover the first of the beautiful roads.

After a descent down the valley, we hooked a left turn, and headed up a twisting broken road; taking us far up above the valley floor.

Gravel sections, wooden bridges, off-camber tracks, and functioning farm villages kept the mind engaged and interested.

Down the valley, then up the Kiener Alm

I bid farewell to Igor as we reached the cycle path heading down the valley. He turned right, back uphill towards Badia. I turned left, and carried on descending alongside the river.

After 15 kilometres more of gentle valley path, an abrupt uphill awakening arrived at Mühlbach. 

From Mühlbach to the small house at the top of the mountain is 13 kilometres, with almost exactly 1,000 metres of height gain. Starting with a wide open road, it finished with a deserted narrow lane twisting through the pine forest.

My legs and mind weren't quite up to another Haute Categorie climb, but the views and variety offered on this ascent were incredible. The descent was equally breathtaking. 

Gelato in Brunico

The long ascent and descent had fuelled my appetite for one last proper Italian ice cream.

I had heard that the Brunico dairy gelato was particularly good, so I made a short divert into the town to grab a refreshing cone. I have never tasted any so good.

From Brunico, it was another fantastic narrow road ascent up the valley. The route also took me along possibly the world's best section of cycle path, laced along the mountain edge.

Gravel Finale

The final ascent back up to Badia had one final surprise in store.

Rather than head through the tunnel on the main road, my GPS suddenly beeped at me to take a sharp right hander. The road ramped up; deteriorated into broken asphalt; then developed a grass centre strip and turned full G-road!

The discovery of these incredible new trails and tracks was a fitting finale to the week. It gave me a flavour of something even more exciting that the Dolomites has to offer. 

Next time, I bring the gravel bike...

Ride Summary

Kit Select: POC Sports

My final kit of the trip comes from POC - the innovative Swedish brand.

The POC Raceday Climber's jersey and Contour bib shorts were impressive in the heat of the day. I am a big fan of the blue colour scheme, and it matches perfectly with the Mavic Izoard shoes


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