Riding The Dolomites
Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
71Trip End Jul 10, 2011
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Prior to leaving the Hotel Nes Crepes (with full bellies) we slimmed down the P-D by removing the panniers and tank bag and taking out whatever we could from the top box. This makes handling so much easier with 20-30 kilos pealed off. We also put on our thermals and rugged up, sure that we would be cold when we were at altitude of 2000 metres +/-. We weren't wrong and Greg was thankful that the P-D was equipped with heated grips. Some say, "toughen up" as real bikers don't need heated grips but as Greg is known to reply "Up your nose with a rubber hose" (with apologies to Vinnie BARBARINO, a sweathog from the 1970's American sitcom 'Welcome Back Kotter' - for those younger ones - do a Google search!).
We decided to complete the "figure eight" ride which includes the alpine villages of Arraba and La Villa that encompass the Sella Group of mountains, and then ride on to Cortina D'Ampezzo that is the largest town in the region. We topped two very well known Passo, being Passo Pordoi
and Passo Di Falzarego, both with snow just off the side of the road and as you would expect, very cold.
We seriously under estimated the time it takes to ride these mountains. The distances are small but due to the steep climb and number of switch backs, and the need to take added care on unfamiliar roads that punish the unwary, you can double if not treble all your time and space calculations. This meant we couldn't complete our intended route, but we did manage to get to Cortina and enjoy the magnificent view of the town (see attached photo Kerrie took from the back of the P-D) as we approached from the West.
On the Passo Di Falzarego we met up with a German guy called Andreas from Berlin, who had a week off from work and had decided to ride The Dolomites. He spoke fluent English and knew the area in intimate detail saying that he had ridden here many times before. Andreas said he was into software development and did not understand when Greg said he was a 'computer boffin' not having heard the term 'boffin' before. When Greg said it meant 'nerd', Andreas was not impressed. Kerrie later said Greg should have said 'boffin' was one with technological expertise. She is right - so Andreas - if you are reading this Blog (we took his email address), delete 'nerd', insert 'expert'. Andreas rode a very nice Honda Varadero. Safe riding Andreas.
When we were talking to Andreas, about 4-5 other bike riders turned up. Some wearing only leathers. Greg was surprised and amazed at how fast these guys can ride on tight, alpine roads.
We stopped in Cortina for lunch and when sitting outside the cafe Greg took off his tour jacket and black sweat shirt. It took Kerrie a moment to spot the faux pas. We were now identically dressed! We both had on our black Sidi riding boots, our black riding pants, our black long sleeved thermal tops (we won't mention our under things so that any secrets Greg may have will remain so) and our white, short sleeved "Turkey to the TT" t-shirts. Talk about 'turning Japanese'!
We decided to ride back to the hotel by a longer route, instead of retracing our steps over Passo Pordoi. Kerrie's comment, "So we are taking the boring route?" On reaching the hotel we both commented on how magnificent the scenery was on "the boring route."
After two days and two nights sleeping in the frig (Hotel Nes Crepes) we decided to move on and head to the town of Sondalo to ride the Passo Stelvio, perhaps the best known of all the Italian passes and a real biker favourite.