Il grande tour nelle Alpi 2018 – V

Cavalese – Passo Sella – Passo Gardena – Passo Campolongo – Passo Giau – Passo Tre Croci – Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe – Hochtor – Edelweissspitze – Bruck-Fusch

DAY 6: Wednesday 6.9.2018

Our stay in Cavalese is over for this time. Hotel San Valier has offered good accommodations, but there are many nice places to stay in both Val di Fiemme and Val di Fassa. When our first choice of hotel had no available rooms, we decide to try a new hotel this time and Hotel San Valier was my choice.

We are starting on our trip home today and are on the bikes by half past nine. As always; today’s route is ambitious, and it should prove to offer some unexpected challenges. We are heading for Canazei and Passo Sella (2240 m.a.s.l.) as today’s first highlight. The plan was to continue from Sella to Passo Pordoi and take the lift to Sasso Pordoi to an altitude of 2950 meters. But on the climb from Canazei there is heavy traffic, this is obviously the day for visiting the mountains of the Dolomites. On the way up to Passo Sella you can enjoy the magnificent mountains of the Sella massive towering in front of you. Only Sella has these impressive mountains and that is one of the reasons why it is one of my favourite passes. At Passo Sella, we enjoy the view of Sassolungo 3181 (m.a.s.l.) and rearrange our plans. We skip the trip over Passo Pordoi and continue over to Passo Gardena.

Passo Sella med Sassolungo 3181 (m.o.h.)
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We must start with a descent and more traffic and further delays, but we finally get down to the crossing where we turn right towards Passo Gardena (2136 m.a.s.l.). We take a break and lighten the outfit; the temperature is rising rapidly and as the traffic is moving very slowly we are getting hot despite being at 2000 meters altitude. Many buses and heavy traffic in general give you all the time you need to enjoy the view of the mountains – as long as you keep a good distance to the traffic ahead. At Passo Gardena, it’s time for another break and we stop at the highest point. Lots of motorcycles and for some reason there are often some exotic bikes here. Today, there are two silver grey Laverda RGS 1000 that catch my attention, as is the view towards Sassolungo.

Sassolungo 3181 (m.o.h.) sett fra Passo Gardena. Sassolung seen from Passo Gardena.
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We head for Corvara and dance through the turns down from Passo Gardena. The next pass is Passo Campolongo (1875 m.a.s.l.) which is almost experienced as a ridge before it descends to Arabba. Here we turn left and follow the SR48, also called La Grande Strada delle Dolomiti. It starts in Bolzano and takes you through Val di Fiemme, Val di Fassa, over Passo Pordoi and Passo Falzarego to Cortina. We arrive at the last third of the route and follow it until the climb up to Passo Falzarego starts. Here we turn right on SR203 and ride to Rucava where will keep left onto SP 251. When we get to SP 638 there are signs to Passo Giau and Cortina and we start the climb to 2236 meters pass.

We have a lovely ride on the climb and the traffic is no problem anymore, so we can ride the turns as we wish. Well up at Passo Giau we park on the square to the right. I’ve never seen so many motorcycles here before. It is obvious that the good weather draws motorcyclists south – besides Norwegians there are many Germans, Austrians and Swiss here today. We take a break at the cafe enjoying the sun, the view and the atmosphere. Life is wonderful!

Passo Giau
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We have some more miles to ride today. I take a last look at the majestic Nuvolau massif (2647 m.a.s.l.) to our left as we start riding down from Passo Giau towards Cortina. Down in the forest, the road offers challenging riding. In Cortina, the GPS provide yet another unintentional detour in the countryside. It ends up in a rotten dirt road and we choose to turn around and get down on the main road. It is possible that Tom could have stayed on the gravel road and entered our route nearer to Passo Tre Croci (1809 m.a.s.l.), but we enjoy the ride the most on asphalt, especially when the alternative is a cart road. On our way up to Tre Croci we stop and take a lunch break, before we continue over towards Lago di Misurina. Here you have a view of the magnificent Tre Cime di Lavaredo. After a short stop we ride on to Dobiaco.

Lienz is our next destination and the heat follow us. We have entered a popular route for those going to the European Bike Week at Faaker See, and as soon as we turn and take the Grossglockner hochalpenstrasse at Nussdorf-Debant we have the road almost alone.

This road has been proclaimed Europe’s best motorcycle trail. Here everything is in order; superb tarmac, good markings and a wide and nice road all the way over to the toll station on the north side. There is a toll station on the south side as well and a day card costs 26.50 Euro. After the toll booth, Bror and Knut are already ahead, their K 1300 S machines have been idling all day, now they finally see their cut to get a bit more spirited ride. They do not have such a large head start, and at the roundabout, where we turn left to Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe (2369 m.a.s.l.) we are all together again. The road up to the vantage point is not as well maintained and as wide and predictable as the main road but offers stunning views and entertaining riding.

We stop at the parking and admire the 3798-meter-high Grossglockner and the Pasterze glacier. The glacier has shrunk a lot since the first time I was here, and the glacier end is no longer white and beautiful, but covered with gravel and stone. It is impressive to see how big the glacier has once been and a little scary to see how much it is shrinking. Time is running out for us too, so there is no museum visit this time.

Utsikt mot sør fra Edelwissspitze. The view to the south at Edelwissspitze.
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Our next stop is at Hochtor (2504 m.a.s.l.) and the route’s highest point. If you want to go higher you must take the detour to Edelwissspitze, where you will reach 2571 meters altitude and is our next destination. The weather is still top notch and the Edelwissspitze detour is mandatory. The cobblestone road on the last stretch of the road to the top has a couple of tight hairpin turns, but now we have got control and take these with ease.

What a view – From here we can see far and further than far north, all the way to Zeller See. And we have a fabulous view to mountains both in the east, west and south. As we are on Edelwissspitze the sun sets and the chill is sneaking in on us. It is time to find a hotel.

Utsikt mot sør fra Edelwissspitze. The view to the south at Edelwissspitze.
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Today we have been riding from highlight to highlight, and as we sit outside Hotel-Gasthof Post Bruck in Bruck-Fusch we realize that this last descent from Edelweissspitze was the last Alpen pass on this trip. The September evening is warm, and the restaurant offers a good dinner. We have ridden 341 eventful kilometres today as well. Now we have only one destination before we head straight home, but that must wait until tomorrow.

Todays distance: 341 km – 213 miles

Read about the other stages on Il grande tour nelle Alpi 2018 here:
Day 1 + 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7 + 8 + 9.