Introducing the #5MaratonasChallenge

The Maratona dles Dolomites is quite probably the oldest cyclosportive in the world.

The first edition, in 1987, was a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Societá Ciclistica Alta Badia-Raiffeisen. The route snaked over seven Dolomite passes: Gardena, Selle, Fedaia, Duran, Forcella Staulanza, Falzarego and Valparola. It took even the fastest rider over ten hours to complete the 175 kilometre course.

From the first edition, the route morphed and developed. By 1990, it looked significantly different: it was 184 kilometres long, and included the Valparola Pass, the Tre Croci Pass, Misurina Lake, the Cimabanche watershed, Cortina, the Giau Pass, Colle Santa Lucia, Caprile, the Fedaia Pass, Canazei, the Pordoi Pass, Arabba and the Campolongo Pass. Featuring over 5,000 metres, it was an incredible challenge to competitors.

As the years moved forward further, the number of Maratona participants grew and grew. The routes developed as well, but remained challenging ascents of multiple Dolomite passes.

In 2017, almost 9,000 riders began the course. At 138 kilometres in length, and with 4,230 metres of climbing, it is still a truly legendary day in the saddle.

Over the course of its history the Maratona has taken on five different routes, each of them iconic in their own way. My challenge this July is to complete all five, over five consecutive days…

The #5MaratonasChallenge. The Numbers…

  • Day 1: 1987 - 170 kilometres x 5,300 metres
  • Day 2: 1988-89 -180 kilometres x 6,230 metres
  • Day 3: 1990-91 -175 kilometres x 5,970 metres
  • Day 4: 1992-97 -182 kilometres x 6,200 metres
  • Day 5: 1998- -138 kilometres x 4,230 metres

TOTALS: 845 kilometres x 28,000 metres

Five iconic routes. Five big days in the mountains. Five opportunities to test mind, body, and kit.

#5MaratonasChallenge Kit Select

To make the most of the opportunity of riding similar mountainous courses, over five days, I will be testing five of the best 'Climbers' Kits' from five top brands.

5 Days. 5 Brands. 5 Kits.
  1. Castelli Free Aero range
  2. Sportful RandD Cima range
  3. Isadore Apparel Climber's range
  4. Endura Pro SL range
  5. Assos campionissimo range
Many of the early editions of the Maratona were plagued by bad weather. In 1988, the final finisher was revived in a hot tub of water on the finish line. In 1989, it was so cold that the organisers finished the race on the Giau Pass. In 1991, the hail and rain was so severe that many abandoned.

These early riders didn't have the benefits of Gore-Tex, NanoFlex and WindStopper. Luckily, I do. I have also scheduled my ride for July, so that hopefully the June thunderstorms will have passed.

Nevertheless, my kit selection for the #5MaratonasChallenge has been a thorough and detailed process. It includes some of the lightest riding kit available, to deal with the heat; coupled with some of the latest waterproof products from Gore Bike Wear, should the weather turn inclement. I will go into full details of the kit choices on each days' blog post.

Ready for the mountains...

The challenge will be a great way to further explore the beautiful region of the Dolomites; a mountain range that I have fallen in love with.

I will be based in the beautiful town of Badia for the duration of the challenge; staying in the well known Ustaria Posta hotel, which offers a bespoke and friendly service for bike riders.

'The mountains are calling... I am ready." #5MaratonasChallenge


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