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2019 CCA Dolomites Trip… written by GG on the way home, good read:

Club Trip to the Dolomites
Good company and flight to Pisa. From there taxi to hotel in Luca. The first meal with clubmates. I have missed riding with the club but still have no regrets moving North. The rides here provide perfect training for such tours as these. In most weathers the incomparable scenery and almost perfect rides are unmatched anywhere , save maybe here on this 6 day jaunt in Tuscany to the Dolomites.
Day 1 tested us all and was long and seriously challenging. The start from the hotel was relatively benign but the climbs loomed. Everyone was well prepared and made it over three of the toughest climbs I have ever experienced. The stark contrast between the peaks and valleys lifted us with their stunning beauty. The many descents were often challenging with their unpredictable surfaces which meant we could never relax for fear of a rut or other hazard.. This was not true of all descents and some were both open, smooth and very fast.We were blessed with fine if sometimes too hot weather, but rather that than rain, cold or high winds. We arrived at our nights hotel very tired and in no doubts as to our next five days riding.
Day 2 should have been a recovery cum rest day with only 3000ft of climbing, but over flat,exposed industrial and farming land we were totally exposed to the raw heat. This,together with the long mileage left me drained. Another good meal and company lifted my spirits auguring well for day three.
Day 3 dawned with everyone expecting the worst. To be blunt, it was simply brutal and the long climbs, high altitude, heat and challenging descents all but finished me. I honestly didn't expect to be up for day four the Stelvio and Gavia climbs.
Day 4 arrived, but as it happened we were unable to do the route owing to inclement weather conditions and landslides. Martin Hillier stepped up to the plate and produced what can only be described as the ride of a lifetime. Whilst relatively short the route was extremely tough. Anyone who thought they would be robbed of climbing was soon left in no doubt as to the sternness of the days riding. However, the diversity of scenery, apple harvesting on a monumental scale through a 10 mile river valley(millions of tons) and the sheer beauty of the Alpine passes and villages with flower and grass meadows being harvested for fodder will live in our memories for a lifetime. Because the route changed we ended up travelling the very last section to our hotel on the road we would be retracing on our start to day five.
Days 5 and 6 are somewhat of a blur and probably accurately reflect my physical and mental state. The road to our hotel on day 4 was a descent and we were not looking forward to day 5 ascent first thing. I recall a long climb two thirds into day 5 culminating in a ride through beautiful forest and coming out at the top to see a stunning high alpine meadow farming community below. One of our number(no names) had been flagging and we were relieved that the second stop of ATC was due in this valley. He talked of riding in the van for the last section but we persuaded him we would ride at their pace to the hotel. We arrived late but safely at the hotel which was on a descent and included a fish restaurant run by the brother of the hotel owner. I can remember just about being able to climb off the bike and heading in to find my room and a bath to soak in. We discovered that 3 riders had overshot the hotel and descended to the town in the valley below. At the end of such a tough day the last thing anyone wants is to do the extra and add another climb at the end. A slightly forlorn trio eventually emerged, one being my room mate for the trip. When he knocked on the bathroom door to shower I told him to try one of the other rooms because I wasn't getting out of my bath for a while yet. We all had a wonderful meal and slept like logs ready for day 6 to Lake Garda.
Day 6 arrived and the descent to the valley below was a great start. I only recall the end of the ride which led over a climb and down to the shore of Lake Garda. There is a photo of me sitting in a cafe looking like death warmed up which probably explains my lack of recollection. I must have been running on autopilot by then. The group split into those who wanted to ride left around the majority of the lake and those who wanted the shorter ride to the hotel turning right. I along with MC and others turned right and found a section which surpassed 25%. Needless to say it found out those without the right gear selection and even forced one to dismount and walk. Everyone arrived at the hotel for rest relaxation and a well earned last meal. An epic adventure which lives on in memory. Thanks for such good companionship on this tour CCA and MC for all the organisation..


  • That was a great week away in the saddle, and thank you Geoff for the write up. My recollection of the climbing is Stevio (aptly christened for this trip) Martin H, Keith and I pushing hard on those long hot climbs, then stopping to re-group at the top and enjoying the far reaching views. The long descents with Carmelo’s mate John, flying past me at twice the speed on a death wish into hairpin bends, leaning the bike as if wearing motorcycle leathers. Every evening was spent with good wine(selected by Carmelo) and stories from the sometimes torturous day we’d all endured. Looking forward to the 2024 trip to Andalusia.
  • welcome Paul. Was a blast. You were a bit out of it like me. Was exhausting but we didn't do Stelvio due to conditions. Martin gave us that alternative route. Haven't ridden for over 2 years now due to these 2 conditions I've contracted. Rather done for me and lost most of my muscle and fitness because of the steroid and other meds I have to take. Enjoy it while you have got it. Whose going to Andalusia.
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