Fun in the dolomites

Mum, Leonie, and I drove to the dolomites in Italy on Thursday evening and spent an extended weekend there in perfect weather. On Thursday night we camped near passo di Valparola and on Friday morning we drove up to the pass and went for a walk up to Sas de Stria. The peak was at 2477 m and there were lots of trenches and tunnels from the first world war which we explored.

We headed down to Cortina d’Ampezzo in the afternoon and set up camp.

On Saturday we headed back into the mountains to passo di Giau. From there we did a loop up to Rifugio Nuvolau with a short section of via ferrata along the way. Perfect weather and great views.

I went for a little road ride in the evening.

On Sunday we walked to Rifugio Croda da Lago in the mountains and stayed the night there by the lake.

We drove home on Monday with a stop at Lago di Braies for a walk.

Very nice.


Might dolomites (Dolomites, Italy)More dolomites (Dolomites, Italy)

Above left: We camped the first night in the dolomites near passo di Valparola. The dolomites looked very enticing. Above right: The dolomites are very impressive looking.

Nice lake (Dolomites, Italy)Directions (Dolomites, Italy)Exploring (Dolomites, Italy)

Above left: We drove up to passo di Valparola and went for a walk up to Sas de Stria. Above middle: Many options. Above right: There were many nooks and crannies to look into from the 1st world war.

At the top of Sas de Stria (Dolomites, Italy)In Cortina (Dolomites, Italy)Leonie and mountains (Dolomites, Italy)

Above left: We made it to the top of Sas de Stria and were greeted with a nice view. Above middle: We went into Cortina a few times to get supplies. Above right: We drove up to Passo di Giau for some more walking.

In the mountains (Dolomites, Italy)Mum does some climbing (Dolomites, Italy)At Rifugio Nuvolau (Dolomites, Italy)

Above left: From there we headed up to Rifugio Nuvolau. Above middle: And we did this with a little via ferrata section. Above right: It was quite busy at the top.

Us (Dolomites, Italy)At Rifugio Croda da Lago (Dolomites, Italy)

Above left: But we managed to find a spot for a photo. Above right: We went for a walk to the Rifugio Croda da Lago up in the hills near Cortina.

Night time at Rig. Croda da Lago (Dolomites, Italy)Nice view (Dolomites, Italy)

Above left: We stayed the night there. Above right: The dolomites really are nice, especially if the weather is good, which it was.

View over the lake (Dolomites, Italy)View over the lake 2 (Dolomites, Italy)

Above left: The hut was next to quite a nice lake. Above right: We went to Lago di Braies on our way back home. It was a very pretty lake but very busy.

Rund um Vorarlberg 2015

Leonie and I had another before-5am start, and drove out to Hohenems in preparation for the Rund um Vorarlberg cycling race.

The weather forecast was completely wrong which was very good. Instead of the predicted rain it was hot and sunny. This was a very good thing as after the Arlberg Giro I didn’t feel like another cold wet race.

We left Hohenems at 7 am and headed into the Bödele climb. I felt a bit flat but seemed to manage it ok. Left knee was hurting a little. I had a nice descent from Boedele and chased onto a bunch and stayed with them until the Hochtannberg Pass. I rode at my own pace up the hill and unlike last week I held my place fairly well. I had a fantastic descent to Lech behind some speedy guys. The descent is really nice along a small winding road. Didn’t manage to die too much on the climb to Flexenpass and although I lost some speedy people I ended at the top with a good bunch.

The next section was neutralised because the Arlberg Tunnel is closed. This was a bit annoying as we didn’t know how fast we were allowed to ride. We got stuck behind a very slow campervan on the descent but after some time I managed to get past. Then we had an awesome descent the rest of the way. It’s always an enjoyable descent there and it feels like it goes on forever. We had a big bunch by the bottom of the descent. There was a woman who had perhaps six guys working for her and they set a really strong pace along the flat into, at times, a feisty head wind.

I sat on as much as possible and later managed to ride off the front with a few guys on a small hill. I rode with a smaller bunch until close to the the finish where we caught up to another bunch with the second woman in it. I kept looking at my speedo and thinking we had 15 km to go but suddenly the finish line was in front of us. I wasn’t in the best place for a sprint but managed to get past a few guys before the line. Overall a much nicer race than the Arlberg Giro this year and the fact that most of the climbing occurs in the first 75 km suited me well. I was happy not to ride the extra 1600 vertical metres like last year on the Highlander. Very good weather and a nice course.

My only gripe was that the results do not show gun time and the race was ridden on transponder time. This allowed me to win the Grape Ride in 2009 but this time it cost me up to 20 places. Annoyingly after sprinting at the finish and being the third across the line in my bunch (which was apparently the second bunch) many people in the bunch and people we had dropped had a better time than I did. Looking at the results, this must have been much more annoying for Anna Bachmann who we caught up to near-ish the finish line after dropping Anna Obmann, who had her team, about 20 minutes earlier. I crossed the line before Anna Bachmann and had a similar transponder time to her. Anna Obmann crossed the line some time after us but had a better transponder time meaning she took 3rd place away from Anna B. who crossed the line well before her. Very annoying I imagine. I guess my transponder time meant I effectively lost approximately 2 minutes or something like 13 places.


Cris before the start (Rund um Vorarlberg 2015)_resizeCris before the start 2 (Rund um Vorarlberg 2015)_resize

Above: Before the race started.

Rund um Vorarlberg 2015 – 145(?) km/2400 m 4:57:22,3 transponder time Place 63/440 overall

Arlberg Giro 2015

Leonie, Markus, and I headed to Sankt Anton on Saturday afternoon. The weather forecast was bad but we hoped that it was going to be wrong. We collected our race packs and set up camp.

After a very short sleep Markus and I got up at 4:30 am and got ready for the race. The weather forecast was unfortunately right. It was raining lightly. We rode to the start line in the dawn light and at 6 am we set off. Instead of riding like crazy at the start I concentrated on not falling off on the wet road. I rode up Arlberg Pass slower than usual and at the top the horror became apparent. Steady rain and fog. I descended at 40 km/h and could see very little.

Had an ok but slower than usual bunch going to the Bielerhöhe ascent. As usual my legs died on the ascent and I lost huge numbers of places. It didn’t help that I dropped my pump and went for a pee twice but even without the 2 minutes lost there, I would have lost the group.  My legs seemed to be particularly poked this year as I was 8 minutes slower in the ascent than in 2013.

It was 11 degrees at the pass. Another slow descent and then I collected a few people and we formed a bunch of four. The descent from Bielerhöhe is always fun and I still had some fun on the gently descending sections this year.

Another bunch caught us up shortly before the final ascent to Sankt Anton. This time I didn’t get dropped on the the ride up the valley and cruised with them to the finish line where I snuck across in second place in our bunch. Still I was considerably slower than 2013 (25 minutes) but perhaps I can blame the weather, it being the first race of the season, being in hospital, not riding much this season, and getting older. It’s always good to have a healthy list of excuses ready. Finished in 5 hours 10 officially.

Markus had a very good race finishing in 5:28. Leonie was waiting at the finish line.

Perfect weather (Arlberg Giro 2015)Riding (Arlberg Giro 2015)

Above left: Here’s a nice example of the weather we had. Above right: The weather looks quite ok here but it’s all a trick. It stopped raining for the ride up the valley to Sankt Anton at the end of the race, which the event organisers have chosen to publish on their website.

Sprint finish (Arlberg Giro 2015)After the race (Arlberg Giro 2015)

Above left: I had a nice sprint at the finish line. Above right: Having some food at the finish line.


Arlberg Giro 2015: 5:10:09 148 km 348/942 finishers overall, 2400 m climbing