La Maratona - Maybe the most beautiful

2015 – We were lucky to obtain a starting ticket for La Maratona dles Dolomites in 2015. The number of competitors is limited to 9.000 and plenty of those tickets go to VIP, organisations and many more. The rest of the tickets are assigned via a raffle. We selected the safe option and signed in via an organisation that has access to a limited number of tickets. The race is a true unique experience as it is one of the few races where the road are closed and only accessible for the race participants. It makes that going downhill is safer as there is no upcoming traffic. From all races we have completed, we think this one is one of the best. So if you ever have the chance to go there, you will not regret.

However, before going to Corvara we stayed a couple of days at the Lago di Fedaia to explore some mountains in that area as well. A second reason was that the race package we bought only covered 4 days in Corvara, but we still wanted to go for a week. The hotel at the Fedaia was also cheaper and we got the tip from a friend professional racer, who often goes there to train.

We did 3 day trips by bike when staying around the Lago di Fedaia. Two days we left with our bike from the hotel and one day we took the car to explore yet another area. The mountains are very nice to climb and the climbing percentage is mostly comfortable. Only the Fedaia should not be underestimated and the straight steep part of about 2.2 km is terrible. It feels like it never ends. It is 11% average over that entire distance. It is very hard to compare climbs among each other because it depends on the day, the condition and many more things. However, I do think that the Fedaia climb is in my suffer top 5. Few days later the Giau (auauau!) would be added to that suffer top. Here are the Strava GPX files:

When riding Tour Marmolada we had the time to stop on some places which are on the official Maratona route and below you see the incredible landscape of the Dolomites. It is a real biker climbing paradise with a lot of nice turns and an acceptable percentage increase.

A funny moment during our stay was when we drove down towards Canazei and came across a huge flock of sheeps. We only could stop the car and wait till they passed.

Next to biking we did some hiking in the area and went swimming in Canazei (Piscine e vasche). The swimming pool has the nice advantage that you have both an indoor and outdoor pool. There are also some whirlpools and a slide. It will keep you busy for a couple of hours.

A little above our hotel at the Lago di Fedaia you can take a small vintage lift towards the glacier. You have to stand in the lift and 2 people fit 1 open cabin. From the end point of the lift you can go to the rifugio on 2700 meter and even higher if you go on the glacier. However, be careful on the glacier as it can get tricky.

A little above our hotel at the Lago di Fedaia you can take a small vintage lift towards the glacier. You have to stand in the lift and 2 people fit 1 open cabin. From the end point of the lift you can go to the rifugio on 2700 meter and even higher if you go on the glacier. However, be careful on the glacier as it can get tricky.

Hotel Rifugio Dolomia: hotel located at the Lago di Fedaia on an elevation of just above 2.000 meters. We got this tip from friend professional cyclist who goes there often to train. At the time we were there two other young cycling teams were present. The rooms are everything you need for an outdoor stay. You use the room only to sleep. Breakfast and dinner (included) are served in the mess. There is also a bar for drinks.

The hotel is foreseen on cyclists and uses the ski room for bikes in summer and they offer a laundry service so your cycling clothes are washed over night.

In this hotel the crew of The Italian Job stayed while filming few scenes. For example the car that ride of the dam and some chasing scenes. Some pictures of the actors (Donald Sutherland, Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, …) with the proud hotel staff are hanging around the hotel.

From the Fedaia we moved further to the place Corvara where we would spend the last days before the race. It’s a very nice village with some good restaurants. Every day we got closer to the race, the village became a bit more crowded. It brings a special atmosphere, to see all those amateur riders. They look at the other their bikes, try to compare the condition, … Most of these people have trained months and hope now to reap the benefits from the hard training during winter months. It’s waiting for the apotheosis of their biking season.

Personally the year 2015 was my best ever. I had thousands of training kilometers and had the sharpest weight ever. Day before the race that was 79 kg. Which is quite impressive for being 1.91 m. The combination of the good weather, the atmosphere and a great condition made this trip one of the best biking trips ever.

The Dogma Pinarello Passionate Lounge As a bike lover you can’t miss this little Pinarello museum. There are plenty of famous bikes in that lounge. From the famous Indurain time trial bike to the yellow bike of Bradley Wiggens and some more. It’s not very big, but worth a visit and as bike lover you will easily spent over half an hour 🙂

Pension Valbona

We stayed in the lovely Valbona which was just outside the city center. You can walk or bike to the center but when you return there is an incredible steep part to over win. Luckily it’s only 250 meters. The rooms of the pension are spotless clean and have a modern private bathroom. The breakfast is served in buffet format and is very extensive. The day of the race the hosts served breakfast extra early and had some extra’s foreseen like pasta. Always appreciated when you have a big race 🙂

Brumotti

The day before the race there was a performance of Brumotti. He does trial like tricks but on a racing bike. It is incredible to see the trial artists, but when you see similar tricks with a racing bike, you can only watch speak less.

These are the Strava tracks around Corvara and off course the famous Maratona dles Dolomites:

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