Cycling In Italy – Stelvio
There are a few places every cyclist dreams of riding, and seeing as by some twist of fate I’ve ended up living in the Italian Alps, I thought I’d take the opportunity to tick a few of those rides off my checklist. So after a full-on week of work, feeling totally shattered, Dave and I dragged ourselves out of bed to ride up a really steep hill for a couple hours and make our legs and lungs hurt. It’s funny the things cyclists find appealing – pain, sweat and struggle for instance. No wonder people think we’re wierdos.
Passo Di Stelvio is one of the most iconic climbs in Europe, not only because it’s a serious challenge but also just because the road looks so damn nice as it coils it’s way up the mountain. A series of switchbacks winds it’s way out of the valley all the way up to a height of 2757m, where you’re rewarded with views of Italy on one side and Switzerland on the other side of the pass. It’s the second highest col in the Alps! See, I told you cyclists are weird – we find roads exciting.
Dave and I took on the pass from the Bormio side, the ‘less famous’ side, so once we reached the top we rode down and up the North side a bit as it looked really cool and it seemed a shame not to. I believe that the Bormio (South) side actually works out steeper as it includes a flat section in the middle, so the hairpins are steeper to make up for it. The North side has hairpins all the way but I think they are a slightly lower gradient.
So that’s the Italian side of Stelvio ticked off my list – obviously I need to go back and do the whole thing from the other side, so where should we go next?
As always, photos of Dave by yours truly, and photos of me by Dave