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Tour 2000,  20 - 25 July

stagedistance (km)climbing (m)
Karthaus - Bolzano - Costalunga - Falcade1402450
Falcade - Giau - Tre Croci - Valparola - Corvara1293480
Corvara - Gardena - Sella - Lavazè - Forst1431980
Forst - Reschenpass - Albula - Filisur1832760
Filisur - Versam - Giraniga711090
Giraniga - Alpsu - Brunnen - Albis - Kilchberg1571930
total82313690

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Stage 1 (20 July 2000): Karthaus - Bolzano - Costalunga - Falcade

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After participating to the gigathlon 2000 (i had the bicycle stage Savognin - Niederurnen... mostly under the rain), i left with my girlfriend Catrina for short vacations in the Schnalstal/Val Senales, South Tirol. We enjoyed hiking and visiting the region, but then each of us took a different way: Catrina (by car) back to Obersaxen to finish a work for the university and me (by bike) towards the Dolomites.
After descending to the main valley (Vinschgau/Val Venosta), i found nice little roads across the orchards. Then, however, i had to join the main road and its cars and trucks. In the valley between Meran/Merano and Bozen/Bolzano, i found again smaller roads, but not without several detours and a first (and last) flat tire. I crossed Bolzano, then took the old road up to the Nigra pass. This road is quite famous among cyclists because its maximal slope is given as 24%! Not necessary to write that it was hard... The new road joins the old one below Tiers/Tires and the slope becomes less crazy, but the climb was still hard. From this first pass to the next one (Karerpass/Costalunga), it was much easier, there was only a small hill left. It was already close to 4 o'clock when i started to climb form Moena to the San Pellegrino. The climb should not be very hard, but the straight road appeared almost endless. I decided not to ride much further than the pass and finally stopped at Falcade, a touristic place like many others in the Dolomites.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Karthaus01300 
Schnals11550 
Töll20510 
Forst24360 
Marling2837010
Tscherms30290 
Lana3432030
Terlan50250 
Bolzano58250 
Prato all'Isarco6833080
Aica di Sopra75950620
Sta Caterina79870 
S. Cipriano851090220
Passo Nigra921690600
Colbleggio961790100
Val Carezza1011710 
Passo di Costalunga102175040
S. Giovani1121320 
Moena1181170 
Passo di S. Pellegrino1301920750
Falcade1401150 
total140 2450

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Stage 2 (21 July 2000): Falcade - Giau - Tre Croci - Valparola - Corvara

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After a long sleep and a good breakfast, i hit the road in a chilly morning air. Soon i was at the bottom of the descent at Cencenighe and took to the left in the valley towards Caprile, then climbed to Selva di Cadore and to the first really high pass of the day: Passo di Giau. It was still cool and the long climb was not too hard. Then, riding down to Cortina d'Ampezzo, i expected to find one of those artificial, soulless cities in the mountains. The former olympic station, however, surprised me with a still good, original character. I had the Cristallo mountains in front of me, which i wanted to ride around. On the way, i had three passes to climb: the Cimabanche (almost flat at the top), the San Angelo (a bit harder, but not long) and the Tre Croci (easy from that side, with a longer descent to Cortina). After this little round-trip, i climbed again the same road as when coming from the Giau. At Pocol, however, i went right to another pass, the Falzárego. It was warm, my bottles went empty and i found no fountain along the way. Finally, i was able to refill from a small stream. I did not stop at the pass and just continued to the nearby Passo di Valparola. After the long descent, my legs were feeling tired and i only rode a short stretch up in the Alta Badia valley, just to reach Corvara. A place with many hotels, but not very exciting apart of that.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Falcade01150 
Cencenighe9780 
Alleghe17970190
Caprile21100030
Selva261340340
Codalonga271310 
Passo di Giau372230920
Pezzié de Parù461510 
Pocol47154030
Cortina531200 
Cimabanche681530330
Carbonin711430 
Col San Angelo771760330
Dogana Vecchia801650 
Passo Tre Croci841810160
Cortina931200 
Pocol981540340
Passo di Falzárego1082110570
Passo di Valparola109219080
La Ila1231400 
Corvara1291560160
total129 3480

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Stage 3 (22 July 2000): Corvara - Gardena - Sella - Lavazè - Forst

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The third stage went right uphill to Passo Gardena. A regular climb in a beautiful landscape, with the typical tower-shaped mountains of the Dolomites around. After a short descent, as i was climbing to Passo Sella, there was even a light- show, with the sun shining between the mountains through a light fog. As soon as i began to ride down to Canazei, however, the natural spectacle was forgotten and replaced by a technical one: long columns of cars on the road. Astonishingly enough, it was also, by far, the time i saw the most other cyclists during this tour, as if they would like the smell of exhaust fumes (?) Along the Fassa and Fiemme valleys, there was also very much traffic. Fortunately, because it was Saturday, there were no trucks. I was able to ride quite fast as the road was slightly going down. It was still a big relief as i was able to leave the main road after Predazzo. From Tesero, i was on the way to the next pass, a small one called Pramadiccio, which is something like a first step towards the Lavazè. A road sign then indicated a slope of 15%... down. Even if my legs were clearly telling me that they had a hard job going up (another indication of the reliability of road signs in Italy)! After a good soup at the pass, i had the reward of a superb ride down the Eggental, on a good road in a narrow valley, then through a deep canyon. That's how i literally came out of the Dolomites. After crossing again the city of Bozen, i hoped to find tail winds in the Etschtal... and i was right. Now knowing the way, i was able to ride faster than coming the same way during the first stage. This was especially good as the temperature was climbing up to 30 degrees. After a few unsuccessful trials, i finally was able to find a room near Forst, in a nice pension in the middle of the orchards.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Corvara01560 
Costa11520 
Passo di Gardena102120600
Sella del Culac132020 
Plan de Gralba151870 
Passo di Sella202240370
Canazei321440 
Predazzo591020 
Ziano63950 
Tesero6798030
Passo di Pramadiccio731430450
Val di Gambis74144010
Passo di Lavazè781810370
Ponte Nova91870 
Cardano103290 
Bolzano109250 
Terlan117250 
Lana13332070
Tscherms137290 
Marling13937080
Forst143360 
total143 1980

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Stage 4 (23 July 2000): Forst - Reschenpass - Albula - Filisur

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To ride up the Vinschgau, i knew only a dozen of kilometres of roads through the orchards and, for the rest, had to take the main road. Starting shortly after 8 on this Sunday morning, it was no problem with the traffic. As the time passed, however, there were more and more cars. Fortunately, the wind was again with me and i could ride at a good pace. At the end of the valley, i took to the north, i.e. towards the Reschenpass. Many cars were on the same way, some returning from vacations, more going only to the pass where there was a huge summer festival. This was for me an unique opportunity of overtaking a 10-km-long queue of cars! From the lake to the pass and then on the Austrian side (a long rather than steep ride), everything was back to normal. At Nauders, i turned left to the Norberthöhe, on the road towards Switzerland. After a nice descent in the forest, i reentered my country at Martina, the lowest village in Engiadina.
Because the weather forecasts were bad for the evening and for the next day, i wanted to ride as far as possible before it rained. I got a few drops already after Scuol and always again to Susch. From Susch to Zernez, on the top of that, there was a terrible head wind. At S-chanf, the rain got more serious and i stopped at a restaurant. Looking through the window, i was wondering if it was the place to take a room for the night. I finally put my rain jacket and went on as soon as the rain was receding. Since the sky was not bad over the Albula, i decided (in spite of already 150 km for the day) to continue that way up. This was not a bad idea as the temperature was now just perfect and the rain completely stopped. From the pass, the road was dry, which was really better for this beautiful but very bumpy descent. After 7 1/2 hours on the bike (not counting many breaks), i finally reached Filisur, a nice village at the confluent of the Albula and Landwasser streams.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Forst0360 
Töll4510150
Schlanders30720210
Laas36920200
Salinen (Laas)38870 
Schluderns4992050
St. Valentin651470550
Reschenpass75151040
Nauders801340 
Norbertshöhe82141070
Martina881030 
Crusch (Sent)1001240210
Scuol107127030
Kurhaus (Vulpera)1081190 
Ardez1161460270
Giarsun1201390 
Zernez132147080
Brail1401640170
Cinuos-Chel1421620 
Zuoz1491720100
Madulain1521680 
La Punt153169010
Pass d'Alvra1622310620
Bravuogn1751370 
Filisur1831030 
total183 2760

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Stage 5 (24 July 2000): Filisur - Versam - Giraniga

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Still in the bed, i was glad to be already on that side of the Albula, because it was now raining. And it looked like it would be so all the day. The goal of that 5th stage was no longer very far, just about 70 km to Obersaxen, to the vacation house of my girlfriend's father. After breakfast, i put my rain jacket on and hit the road. The big reflective stripe in the back of the jacket was an advantage in the tunnels of the descent towards Thusis. It really requires good nerves when big trucks are roaring from behind you in a long tunnel! Just the last (and newest) tunnel is forbidden for bikes and then it's possible to take the older road instead. I arrived safely in the Domleschg. Still in the rain, it was quite boring till i climbed from Bonaduz towards Versam, a road known from previous rides, but which i was taking from the first time from that side. The Rhine canyon appeared even wilder than under better weather conditions. After the descent to Ilanz, i could finally take off the rain jacket for the final climb to Obersaxen, where i arrived just at lunch time. I would have enough time to clean the bike during the afternoon.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Filisur01030 
Tiefencastel9850 
Valmala (Alvaschagn)11960110
Sils i. D.21680 
Thusis2370020
Rothenbrunnen31620 
Bonaduz3766040
Zault41780120
Versamer Tobel43730 
Versam45910180
Ilanz57700 
Affeier661320620
Giraniga711260 
total71 1090

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Stage 6 (25 July 2000): Giraniga - Alpsu - Brunnen - Albis - Kilchberg

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It rained the whole Monday and part of the night but, when waking up on Tuesday, i saw the sun and a blue sky. Since i had to go to work on Thursday and since the forecasts were bad again for Wednesday, i decided to start again. No rest day at Obersaxen!
First, i had to ride down to the Rhine valley, then up along it. These were ideal conditions for riding: cool but sunny (except a few clouds forming along the slopes from the humidity of yesterday's rain). Up to Disentis, the slope of the road is gentle, with some flat or even slightly descending parts. In this long approach, it is therefore mainly a matter of saving strengths for the final climb after Disentis to the Oberalp pass. The bright blue sky and the deep green valley were so beautiful that i didn't fell like hurrying up anyway. At the pass and twice later, i also took time for eating and drinking stops. This helped: even after the long (usually boring) ride through Uri and along the lakes of Lucerne and Zug, i was still felling in good shape for climbing to the Albis, the last pass of this tour. Where i, once again, had to notice that road sides are dirty around Zurich, throwing garbage through the car window being there a very popular sport. :-(
I arrived around 3 o'clock, happy about this tour 2000 which had shown me many new passes, new landscapes and mostly a good weather. And from which i was coming back in good shape.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Giraniga01260 
Tavanasa6820 
Sumvitg151060240
Punt Grondo181030 
Mustér / Disentis221140110
Rueras331400260
Oberalppass432040640
Wassen64920 
Amsteg76520 
Ried (Schattdorf)86450 
Grund (Schattdorf)8849040
Flüelen93430 
Tellsplatte9751080
Brunnen105440 
Lücken (Schwyz)11048040
Seewen111450 
Bernerhöchi117560110
Arth121420 
Baar13744020
Tüfenbach145670230
Albispass148790120
Adliswil154450 
Kilchberg15649040
Oberer Mönchhof (Kilchberg)157450 
total157 1930


PS / 26.7.2000