Jerry’s Tour of the Alps 2008 – Saturday June 28th

Proveis — Ultental/Val d’Ultimo — Bolzano/Bozen — Oberbozen/Soprabolzano — Rosswagen — Jëuf de Frea/Grödner Joch/Passo Gardena — La Villa/Stern (160,2 km, 4075m, 14-41°C)

Passo Fresna

The day started with wonderful weather as usual. I could not resist to start by going in the wrong direction south to nearby Passo Fresna (1462m). The last part is a good gravel road (approximately 1,5 km). (It should be fun or nice going down/up this road from the south according to the lady in Proveis, but probably best for a mountainbike ride.) It was very nice up here and the first photo is in the direction toward Proveis at the pass. I had another photo catching Proveis on the way back as you see below.

Then I took a minor (asphalted) road via Matzlaun and down to the road up to Hofmahdjoch/Passo Castrin (tunnel) (1706m). The tunnel pass is highest at the south entrance of the tunnel. The tunnel is new and good and lit. It is not recommended to try and get over the pass above with a road bike. There is one more tunnel of some length further down before the landscape really opens up in the Ultental. The third photo here is just after coming out of the long first tunnel. The next two photos were taken up on a side road looking down toward Lana and up the Ultental.


Ultental is very nice and it would surely be nice getting up further that valley one day. Down at Lana (the lady in Proveis told me she had good new roasted coffee in Lana once, but I was not sure where one could find a good place for coffee there. Anyway it was really hot now. I tried my luck with some bicycle lanes down here and eventually crossed over to east side of the big road before I had planned to go over there. The road down here to Bolzano is however easy to follow and not with too much traffic (but it would probably have been even less on the other side). Down in Bolzano I found a place to wash my bicycle, but it was difficult to find a good grocery store there (bigger cities are typically bad in this regard). I had an expensive coke at a restaurant as the grocery had no cold soft drinks.


Then it was time to get up to Oberbozen – I guess I dragged out on time to avoid this as I knew what was waiting … . I was going to take the most difficult road up there (out of three possible roads from Bolzano). It is the Via Maddalena road (you will pass by this if you choose another approach up to Oberbozen). The problems were twofold: the first 2,1 km is close to 20% on average making it receive a much higher score at than climbs like Alpe d’Huez (which is also a reason why I think you cannot take the scores at with too much seriousness). But it is far more difficult to cycle up this road than almost any other road at all. It is 30% at maximum and I could cycle that for a little stretch, but eventually gave up at the tunnel you could glimpse near the house in the photo. Above the house the climb is a bit easier, but given that there were no wind and 41°C in the blazing sun, I really had to walk most of the way up to where a grassy concrete track takes off up to a farmers house called Ebenich. My heart rate was at maximum even while walking up here. At Ebenich I got some water and then cycled all the way up to Oberbozen, and even though this stretch is not so very steep it was just about doable for me this day and I could hardly stand up while arriving at a pizzera/pub in Oberbozen. I had a very good ice-cream here and coke and soon felt better again. This road up to Oberbozen could probably not be cycled up by anyone with any kind of bicycle. (I saw someone cycle up the famously steep Malga Palazzo near Rovereto with up to ca. 40% inclination, but still it seemed a bit easier than this. (Search on Youtube.))


Then it was an easy trip over to Klobenstein. From here up to Rosswagen/Rittnerhorn (1702m) it is a varied road which is steep toward the end. I was very tired though. I managed to get some water by a house and met a nice cyclist at the top who took a slightly blurry photo off me there. I had a photo lower down this road which offers splendid views toward the Dolomites. I had thought to go up the gravel roa from here to Rittner Horn and Gasteiger Sattel/Sella dei Sentieri (2054m) and down to Barbian/Barbiano from there (it might be posible to cycle most of this with a road bike), but as it was late and I had to go to alta Badia for a race in the morning, this was not an option.


The road over to Barbian/Barbiano from Klobenstein is very dangerous is several places (it is a good road, but with some narrow passages and odd turns that comes without notice). I was close twice to smash up with a car on this stretch. It is a very lovely road alternative to going down the busy road in the valley, of course, but it also goes a bit up and down. The road down from Barbian/Barbiano (821m) to Waidbruck/Ponte Gardena (472m) is a lovely serpentine descent!

Then it was “just” to get up and over Jëuf de Frea/Grödner Joch/Passo Gardena (2121m) (one also passes over the Sela de Culac/Kulatsch Sattel/Sella del Culaç (2018m) on the way here). I filled my water bottle at the beginning of the road, but it was not a good place to stop and a couple of cars nearly hit me while going by. I survived and went in a good speed up to Ortisei and St. Christina, where I stopped for a sausage and coke before the final attack up to the Gardena pass. I was down in La Villa/Stern around 20.30 and it turned out my friend had just came back picking up her girlfriend, so we could all go out and have a somewhat late dinner (considering we needed to get up early in the morning for the Maratona dles Dolomites race).

Maddalena (Bozen)