I have chosen to take on the long route of 138km this year (there are options of 106km and 55km as well) and as a result, I have over 4000 meters of climbing over 7 cols ahead of me. This year’s event starts in cool temperatures and I am grateful as last year’s 30+ degree weather really added to the challenge!
Now in its 31st year, the Maratona dles Dolomites is one the best organised closed road events you can ride anywhere in the world.
I start with thousands of others straight up the Passo Campolongo. At 6.1% it is by no means the steepest but it definitely gets the blood pumping early and is a great marker given I will see it again in about 3 hours! The climb is beautiful and as I look around the sight of 10,000 cyclists snaking their way through the Dolomites, it really is a sight to behold.
After a good fuelling stop and a quick chat to some fellow Brits, the big one now stares back at me. The Passo Giau is 10km of over 9% and a climb I already have a love/hate relationship with. Two punctures, yes two last year, I already feel the climb has something against me. Today though, as I hit the bottom, I feel positive. I am actually feeling really good and I reach the top in record time. A euphoric wave engulfs me until I remember the Cat Wall is still to come!
The finish comes pretty quickly soon after and at a little over 7 hours I’m pretty pleased with my time. But then I check a couple of friends on the Datasport App and they have beaten me. Oh well, here’s to next year then.