In Cycling Italy, Dolomites

Cycling Passo Campolongo & Gardena

I love a cow, in a field, in the form of cheese or yogurt, and on a plate. Italian alpine cows are especially likable. They have nice coats, sonorous bells, and make food.

Of cows, I ask, why is it that European cows look so much happier and healthier and more energetic than American cows? I’ve seen a lot of both and there is a difference.

Today was a light day by Dolomite standards. The weather was threatening rain all day, so I decided to stay closer to home by riding out the door and over Passo Campolongo to Corvara, and up the Passo Gardena. The other side of the Gardena was totally socked-in with fog, so I went back the way I came instead of looping via Pordoi.

The Campolongo from Arabba is pretty easy, with the hardest part coming early.

Ascending the Passo Campolongo from Arabba on a foggy day.

Ascending the Passo Campolongo from Arabba on a foggy day. This is looking back at Arabba early in the climb.

Sign at the top of the Campolongo.

Sign at the top of the Campolongo.

The top of the Campolongo is anti-climatic. The good stuff is on the other side, starting with a fantastic series of switchbacks on the descent into Corvara. The downside is that the views are great so taking those in while attacking the road is a difficult ask. Best to ride it a couple times: fast and slow.

Looking down at Corvara from the Campolongo.

Looking down at Corvara from the Campolongo.

The town of Corvara is a ski village, as are most towns in this vicinity. While skiing heritage runs deep in these Austrian-Italian mountains, Cycling also has its heritage. The Giro d’Italia has had a stage finish here 5 times, of which were won by Italians 4-times. Paying homage to cycling, right in the middle of Corvara, is a park that displays this huge wooden bike sculpture. The detail of it up close is impressive.

wooden bike in corvara

A Wooden bike in Corvara reminds you that cycling roots are deep around here.

The Gardena Climb is a yet another fantastic stretch of tarmac-switchback delight, both up and down. There were a bunch of cows having lunch on my ascent.

Descending Passo Gardena into Corvara

Descending Passo Gardena into Corvara.

Here is the Strava for the ride.

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