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Oct. 21, 2009
Gary’s Adventure in the Dolomites: Day 5
Bike paths, snow and more mountains...Gary sends another update from his adventure in the Dolomites.


Looked out the window the second I got up to check the weather, and it was spectacular—clear as a bell. Cold but at least it was dry.

Our route for the day was long, over 160 kilometers, heading down to the Valley through Bolzano, up over the Passo Mendolla, and over the Passo Tonale to a very cool town called Ponte di Legno. When we hit the valley leading to Bolzano, I spotted something that looked like another bike path.

As I mentioned before, I’ve been riding these roads for many years, but didn’t remember a bike path here. It appears that over the last few years there has been a big push in Northern Italy to develop bike paths all over the place. We ended up riding a path all the way to our next pass—more than 35 kilometers.

Along the way, there was art work made just for the path itself—such respect for cycling. And through Bolzano, a town of about 100,000 people, there were paths everywhere, all through town, with separate stop signs and lights just for bikes.

Why is it so hard here in the USA to support the most efficient vehicle ever invented? I’m currently reading David Byrne’s (Talking Heads guy for those too young or old to remember) new book called Bicycle Diaries; I think he might feel the same way.

Anyway, it was so cool and inspiring to see the priorities of this region and the support for those who love to ride and use the bike as a form of travel, sport and transportation.

On to the Passo Mendolla—a long but gentle pass with spectacular views all the way up.

We had lunch on top and then moved on to the last pass of the day.

Our longest day so far, but what a great day; we had beautiful weather all day, met some nice folks, stared at some big mountains and had some great down hills.

This is Gregg’s first trip in the Dolomiti or Alps and he’s riding great. This summer he trained in Wisconsin where my dad, Clifford, was born.

Not the biggest hills in the country, so the first few days were a little rough; this trip is a climbing tour, almost no flat roads at all. Gregg got through the first difficult days with grace and got stronger every day.

The Giro di Italia or Tour de France have many mountain stages, but many more flats than mountains.

This trip is all about climbing, plus the extra weight, and handling all the logistics.

I’m used to it; the new guys need a few days to adjust. Gregg got an “A” for adaptability.

In Ponte di Legno we found a great hotel. The owner, Stefano, drove us to a new place he bought and is converting into a hotel but for now it is a great local style restaurant.

We were two of four people there that night, plus his mom and dad and other family.

The food was off the charts fantastico. Everything homemade, incredibly fresh, and so tasty.

I plan on sleeping well again...
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From the Road, Office Life, r@nd0m, Team Clif Bar

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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