Jerry’s 7-days Bicycling Trip in the Dolomites 2000 – Day Two

Malcesine (Lago di Garda) — Riva del Garda — Andalo — Revo — Fondo — Bolzano (180 km)
After a very good breakfast I took off around 9 a.m. (the normal time I took off in the morning was somewhere between 9-10.30). It went very fast up to Riva del Garda (I had an ambitious mountainbiker behind me ;-)). It was indeed a nice town, but totally overflowing with tourists and cyclists, so I just tried to find the right way out as fast as possible. I was heading in the direction of Tenno (and Lago di Tenno) (look for the road sign to the ”cascata” – which is one of the main attractions around there and is one the road to Tenno).

The serpentine road up to Tenno was very nice and steep, with a nice view over Lago di Garda (I took a photo up there, but it was the most disastrous one, since it was still rather foggy all that could be seen on the photo was the shrubbery where I stood, despite that I could clearly see the nice half-opened tunnels by the side of the lake that I had just been cycling in). Lago di Tenno was the first mountain lake I passed and it was one of the most beautifully coloured I saw during the days (the other was at the Gavia passage).

On the way from Ponte Arche to S. Lorenzo in BanaleI was in a very good mood that day, at least until I reached S. Lorenzo in Banale, where they closed the local shop doors just in front of me while I said hello to another cyclist just coming out of the shop. Now again I had missed the fascist open hours schedules they have in Italy! On the way up from Ponte Arche to Banale I took the third photo of the day and the first for this page. The scenery there were more wild than comes out of the flat photo. A very nice area to go cycling in (and apparently many others thought so too).

I just decided to hurry on to Molveno to see if there were perhaps something open there, but it looked like a rather dull and dead place to me. I continued to Andalo and decided to get into a Pasticceria (bakery of sorts). They did not have much to eat though, but at least I got something in me. Andalo must be the highest situated place on that way (the height was not marked out in my otherwise rather good Michelin 1:400 000 map over North-East Italy, which I cut in half to save weight), probably around 1000 meters and almost a kind of a pass height, but none such was indicated. When leaving Andalo it had become more cloudy and it was a bit chilly and the rain was threatening to come down on me. (The weather sometimes change dramatically up in the mountains.) On the way downhill from Andalo just where the landscape opened up below me, I took the next photo.
Down from Andalo on the way to DermuloOn the big road on the way up to Dermulo, it begun to rain and I took shelter for a while in Dermulo, before I continued to Sanzeno (where I stopped at the little Despar to buy some more things to eat). I went the way over to Revo (the only way around the little lake there which was not marked as being beautiful on the Michelin map), but it was quite nice really. From Revo I went up to Fondo. Originally I had planned to go from Revo up a road (that I curiously only found on this map and no other, maybe because it is new) to Val d’Ultimo and then go back to Fondo over the Passage delle Palade/Gampenjoch, but partly because things took longer than I expected, the rain and my over-optimism about what I could possible do in a day I decided to make things easy and go up to Fondo directly.
MendelpassI stopped briefly again in Fondo (I had also stopped shortly on the way there again for the rain) and had a soda. The way up to Fondo was a bit steep. Then it was not very difficult to reach the Mendelpass (clearly from the easy side!). There is one photo at top of the passage, but it is not so great as one again sees very little of what appears in the distance. (I also did not take a photo against the pass sign as it was only trees behind there.) The Mendelpass is 1363 meters over the sea level and was the first real mountain pass on my trip.
MendelpassThe way down to Bolzano from the Mendelpass was marked as dangerous in my map and such roads are always most dangerous when going down. I think it was indeed properly marked as dangerous, but perhaps mostly because of much traffic. The inner curves are very sharp at times! The cars in front of you and behind do not have much chance of driving away from you (unless they have a Porsche or such). Here I also had the most spectacular view below me of all during the 7-day trip I think (maybe it was because I was new to such heights) – it was like 1000 meters right down from where I took the last picture for the day. All went well, despite that I went rather fast down and even though I had just begun to go down such roads. I alter discovered that such serpentine roads are actually often more dangerous if they are wide and good, like downhill the Pordoi passage, where I was almost closer to drive off at one point (it is easy to think one can go faster than what turns out to be possible on such better roads).

I was in Bolzano already at 7 p.m., I think it was and I cycled around 180 kilometers that day. One should perhaps add the kilometers one go up while travelling in the mountains too. It is not possible to gain very much time on the way down from mountain passes as the roads usually do not admit of average speeds above 40 km/h. Going uphill in mountain passes meant for me to go somewhere between 8-14 km/h most of the time (up the Mendelpass from Fondo I was probably closer to 14-20 km/h though, but that was easier than usually).

In Bolzano I stayed at a place I was not very happy with, but it was still ok. I went down to Bolzano in my modified super-lightweight beach-sandals I had with me and the Infil wool-underwear shirt I tried not to use, so I had something to change for after arriving at a place and having a shower. I had all packaging in a ”cross-over” back-pack of a small kind that probably weighed something like 3 Kg all in all. I had my camera in the bicycle shirt, as with my Psion computer (which I needed to wake up in the morning + had address for postcards there). Well, I went down to Bolzano and had a ”doubled” pizza which was very good and bought an ice cream nearby afterwards that was fabulous. Strolled around in the city for a little while – very nice city but perhaps mostly a tourist place. Bolzano lays surrounded by high mountains and castles.

Then back to the room to wash up the bicycle clothes, just as usual, and having them almost dry at morning ;-). Next day is day 3!

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