The rain from the day before is a thing of the past and today, with the best weather, we head through the middle of the Dolomites. On perfect cycle paths and beautiful gravel routes. For me scenically the most beautiful section of the route.
You can find the Komoot Collection for the trip here: Bikepacking 2021
Stage 12 - Through the Dolomites
Today it worked for us Calazo di Cadore going and our goal for the day should Brunico be. A look at the altitude meters in the morning already showed that it will be a rather normal day in the mountains. Some elevation gain but without any difficult passes.
It quickly went behind the village on a beautiful bike route, which we should also leave very late. We left at 9:30 am and it was pleasantly warm, but it got really hot very quickly. With the best weather, we went through one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe today. I will definitely go to the Dolomites again, but then really for gravel and not just for cycling.
Despite the picturesque landscape, there are enough quiet roads in the valleys if you stay off the main road. The cycle paths always went along above the country road, on an old railway line. Again and again there were small towns with cafés where you could take a break.
Typical for trips on old railway lines, we also went through various old tunnels on this day, which is always particularly nice.
Cycle paths that are almost too close to be true.
The tracks of the rain
It took quite a while on these very comfortable cycle paths above the valley before our route turned into a beautiful gravel route. It went through the forest and then on really rough stones. Partly demanding, partly very demanding. Here and there you had to be careful not to slip on the rough gravel. The heavy rains of the summer had also left their mark and you could see from the rivers that they had taken a lot of debris with them in the last few days and weeks.
We drove over that Passo Cimabanche, which didn't feel like a pass though.
Marcus had another one during the descent broken spokes, luckily the bike held up to the next town. There the bike was repaired in a workshop while we enjoyed a coffee. It then went through a somewhat milder landscape to Bruneck, where today's stage should end.
From Brunico to Innsbruck
Marcus and my last stage together should start today. It went from Brunico to Innsbruck. A very special tour for me, because we drove a long way that I already knew. I already knew the valley up to Sterzing, just the other way around 😉
It goes to after Vipiteno gently uphill the whole time and I have to admit that it really got to me 😂 Only around 20 km/h the whole time and it feels like a sprint. The railway crossings on the bike path provided some variety. The water from the last few weeks was still standing here and while other cyclists were standing in front of it and didn't dare, Marcus and I just rushed through it. The water was already very high and you had to be careful, but somehow that was the highlight of the day.
Break in Sterzing and up to the Brenner Pass
After working our way up the valley, we took a break in beautiful Vipiteno. Always worth a trip and a break 😍. In Vipiteno I met another friend I met in 2018 at the MSR had met. He was also on a bikepacking tour.
Up the burner
From the south side, it now went up the Brenner. I've never driven over the Brenner from this direction 🚴♂️ I still remembered the beautiful descent from two years ago, now it was up the long and beautiful route. The Brenner is wonderful to deny from the south side via the cycle path and you don't have to be annoyed about cars on the road. Of course, the whole thing takes time, but the gradients are minimal and the landscape is super beautiful 😍
From the Brenner Pass, it was another 35 km to our destination today: Innsbruck! We took a short break for cake Burner to book a hotel. For the most part it was only downhill, up to the last 2 km. A rise from HELL. 2 km with between 10 and 20%. After that we really deserved the last hotel!
We used the empty swimming pool in the hotel and just let our souls dangle. The hotel was above Innsbruck and we enjoyed the beautiful view.
Marcus already booked a ticket for the journey home the next day and I was already looking forward to the Achensee and the forest ride down to Tegernsee 😍
I'll take you to the last stages in my last part next time!
Summary of the stages
On bikepacking trips it is always impressive how the vegetation can change. Of the Dolomites with rough mountains and rocks in the clearly softer Inn Valley in just two days. And all on your own. I love the mountains and with a little more gravel it would definitely be the most beautiful stage of my life.
In any case, I would like to go to the Dolomites again and do a lot of graveling there. Then it will definitely be much more difficult with the supply, or I just have to plan more ;-), but I would very much like to explore this beautiful landscape a little more closely.