Tour 2011,  3 - 8 July

stagedistance (km)climbing (m)
Sargans - Feldkirch + Kufstein - Schüttdorf114820
Schüttdorf - Hochtor - Lienz - Bruggen1282850
Bruggen - Stallersattel - Campolongo - Pordoi - Pecol1143040
Pecol - Fedaia - Valles - Rolle - Fontanefredde1282530
Fontanefredde - Merano - Reschen - Martina1581620
Martina - Tschlin - Scuol - Ftan - Scuol411120

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Stage 1 (3 July 2011): Sargans - Feldkirch + Kufstein - Schüttdorf


There were still some famous passes in Austria and in the Dolomites where i did not yet had been with my bicycle. I wanted to take first a train to Kufstein in Austria but - believe it or not - no longer any train connection during the day between Switzerland and Austria would take bicycles on board! The best way to work around this bad service was to take first a Swiss train to Sargans, ride by bicycle from there to Feldkirch and take an Austrian train to Kufstein. This way, i could really start from Kufstein at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. In spite of more optimistic forecasts, the weather was cloudy and very cool. I rode over Ellmau to St. Johann and further over the Griessenpass to Saalfelden. There was much traffic all the way. There were places with bicycle routes, but not everywhere, not always easy to find and sometimes making detours. Short before Saalfelden, i got a few rain drops, but nothing serious. I could avoid to ride into this town by taking small roads around it and joined so the road to Zell am See. There was the a bicycle route for most of the way. I reached Zell am See after 17 and looked for an hotel in the southern part of the town, where prices are markedly lower than along the lake shore.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
>>> Kufstein33490 
St. Johann63660 
total114 820

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Stage 2 (4 July 2011): Schüttdorf - Hochtor - Lienz - Bruggen


It was still cool as i left Zell am See, but it was not bad since a serious climb awaited me first: the Grossglockner road to the south, with 3 or even 4 high passes close to each other. The climb was long, but this was not unexpected. There was quite some traffic, but it was not a surprise either. This brought me over the Fuschertörl, Mittertörl, Hochtor and finally Kasereck passes. The weather was becoming nicer, which was better to take of few pictures of the road, the mountains, the small lakes and the famous church of Heiligenblut. In the last part of the descent, there was a bicycle path parallel to the road. Just as i was thinking that it was nice... it became a gravel path and i had to switch back to the main road. From Winklern, i went again uphill until i reached the small pass of Iselsberg. The descent from there to Lienz was easy and fast, and then i found a good way to cross the town of Lienz. From there to St. Johann, i followed a very nice cycle road along the Iselstal, but then i lost it because it was not well indicated. At Huben, i left the main valley and went up to the Defereggen valley. The first part was quite steep, but then the slope became more gentle. At Bruggen, between St. Veit and St. Jakob, i saw a sign 'Zimmer frei'. I stopped there... and it was a good choice. Austrians really know how to welcome tourists.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
total128 2850

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Stage 3 (5 July 2011): Bruggen - Stallersattel - Campolongo - Pordoi - Pecol


The weather was perfect to start from the Defereggen valley for this third stage. There was not much traffic and i could really enjoy the climb to the Stallersattel. At the pass, there is a traffic light which turns green every hour for 15 minutes because the road is then very narrow on the Italian side. I had 10 minutes to wait but this was better than taking risks riding down when cars and motorcycles were coming up. I thus first enjoyed the view at the pass, then a descent without traffic in the opposite direction. After the lake, the descent along the Antholz valley was long and quite fast. Arriving in the main valley (Pustertal), i just crossed it and went into the next climb, to the Fúrcia pass. It was very steep at some places and i had to sweat in the midday heat. In the descent, i joined for a short distance the route of my first tour in the Dolomites (1997). This time, however, i went up the Badia valley, all the way to the Campolongo pass. Up to Corvara it was not steep at all, but with more than enough cars, motorcycles and trucks. Further up, it was more sport and less noise. I was first not sure if i would climb yet another pass the same day, but after the Campolongo and the descent to Arabba, the mood and the legs were ready for the Pordoi. Because Campolongo and Pordoi are both part of the famous Sella roundtrip, there was quite a number of other cyclists around, Italians but also from many other countries. The third stage ended for me at an hotel in the descent towards Canazei, with the beautiful Dolomites all around and especially the Marmolada to the south. More about it... tomorrow.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Passo Fúrcia551760740
Passo di Campolongo951880350
Passo Pordoi1092240650
total114 3040

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Stage 4 (6 July 2011): Pecol - Fedaia - Valles - Rolle - Fontanefredde


As i woke up for this fourth day, the Dolomites were even more beautiful thanks to the morning light, but there were clouds around some of the summits. The weather forecast was for a mix of sun, clouds and rain. This means that i started with questions in my head: How long would it remain dry? Would i have to ride in the rain? At least it appeared that it would not be cold and wet at the same time, an for the start everything was perfect: dry and still a bit cool. I finished the descent to Canazei, joining for a short stretch my 2000 route. Then i turned left up to the Fedáia pass. From that side, it was quite an easy climb, but the other side is longer and steeper. The lake near the pass has a dam at each end. I went first over the western dam and then along the southern shore, on a smaller but good road. After the pass, i had the long descent to Caprile. From there to Cencenighe and then to Falcade, i was again on the same route as for my 2000 tour, but in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, the temperatures were above 25°, which is enjoyable but requires to drink enough. Above Falcade, the roads to the passes San Pellegrino and Valles went apart. I took left, to the Valles pass. There was no particular difficulty and i reached the pass in the early afternoon. Good news: the weather was still nice and i decided to make a small extra loop. Small but not easy. In the descent towards Paneveggio, i took a gravel road up to the Costazza pass. I knew that this road would be difficult to ride with a race bicycle, but the landscape was promising: the cabin at the pass is named Baita Segantini after the famous painter who dwelled there several times because he liked the landscape and the mountains around. I was able to ride about half of the way up, but then it became too rough and steep. I changed my bicycle shoes for plain sandals and continued pushing the bicycle. There were many hikers on the way and there were certainly some astonished looks, but no silly questions or remarks concerning my special way of transportation. Contrary to Segantini, i had my digital camera: not so artistic but quick and easy to capture some nice images. The descent from the cabin at the pass was still on gravel, but short and quite easy to ride. And then there were just a few pedal strokes to reach the Rolle pass. From there, i had a long descent towards Paneveggio and Predazzo, partly very nice but partly on macadam in poor condition. The remaining of this fourth stage was more or less flat but against some headwind. After Cavalese, it went slightly uphill to the Passo di San Lugano, then down to Fontanefredde. In the descent, i found an hotel to stop for the night. Is it because i was so hungry? The rich dinner there was particularly delicious!

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Rifugio Castiglioni182060620
Passo di Fedáia212050 
Malga Ciapela261470 
Passo di Valles682030860
Piano dei Casoni721680 
Passo della Costazza792170490
Passo di Rolle821960 
San Lugano1241100110
total128 2530

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Stage 5 (7 July 2011): Fontanefredde - Merano - Reschen - Martina


The forecasted thunderstorm had the good idea to come only during the night, and in the morning it was still very cloudy but the streets were dry again. The descent down to Ora was on a good and broad road, but with an important traffic. From Ora, i decided to go over the west side of the small mountain ridge that separates the valley into two parts. I partly followed a bicycle route, but this meant some detours and more ups and downs than necessary. Nevertheless it avoided the roads with too much traffic and led me through the nice villages of St Michael and St Paul, through some vineyards and through many orchards. Near Lana and Meran, i did not find any good way to avoid the traffic, and when a cycling path was indicated, it was with a coarse gravel. Fortunately, this changed a bit further up: there is now a really good cycle route along the Venosta valley, continuous, smartly designed and well built. This was the good surprise of the day. There were short unsurfaced stretches, but absolutely no problem for a race bicycle. This route made a detour in the upper part of the valley, but not so bad. In the climb to the Resia pass, however, i left the cycle path because it became too steep for my bicycle (my rear wheel was even spinning on wet patches). So, i continued on the main road and easily reached the plain around the pass. With a good tail wind, it was even easier. After the pass, i entered Austria and soon turned left to the Norbertshöhe, which led me back to Switzerland. Short after the custom at Martina, i found a place to stay overnight. I was an older hotel made to a centre for outdoor activities. Simple but very sympathetic.

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
Adigio (Ora)13220 
Pianizza di Sotto2645030
Riva di Sotto35240 
S. Valentino1351470560
Passo di Rèsia145151040
total158 1620

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Stage 6 (8 July 2011): Martina - Tschlin - Scuol - Ftan - Scuol


As during the previous night in the Dolomites there was a thunderstorm during the night. And then a second one. And it was still raining as i woke up. This means that i was glad to be already so close to the goal of the day, Scuol. I took my time for the breakfast, at 9:30 the rain stopped and then i got in the saddle. After only a few kilometres along the Inn valley, i turned right to Tschlin. It was quite steep, but i wanted to see once this nice village on the slopes. I looked around, took some pictures and went down again. Meanwhile, the streets were largely dry. Back on the main road, i had a very gently slope and i reached Scuol at 11:30. I found an hotel, dropped my little baggage and went up to another picturesque village on the slopes of this lower Engiadina valley: Ftan. Just a last small climb to round up this nice tour 2011 before my girlfriend Angelika would arrive by train for yet another day in the mountains, but then hiking and no longer cycling...

 distance (km)altitude (m)climbing (m)
San Niclà5109050
San Niclà131090 
Crusch (Sent)201240150
Cut (Scuol)281230 
Ftan Grond341630400
Ftan Pitschen35165020
Cut (Scuol)411230 
total41 1120

PS / 23.7.2011