- Saturday, August 26th to Monday, September 4th, 2017
- Serious, Four pigger riding! This trip is for experienced riders who are comfortable riding up and down Europe’s best mountains.
- $4,100 per person; $500 extra for a single room—Limited Single Rooms Available (see Travel Details below)
- Nine days of mountain riding. First to the Gavia and Stelvio passes, then riding two days to the Dolomites via Merano.
- Schedule flights in and our of Venice (VCE)
- The tour starts with a shuttle from the Antony Palace Hotel in Venice, August 26th, at 8 a.m. (book at the hotel for nights leading up to the 26th) and ends on Sunday, Sept. 3rd at the Antony Palace Hotel in Venice. Schedule flights home for Monday, Sept. 4th. Or stay on in Venice.
- Limited bike rentals available
- Climbing gears essential. Andy rides a compact with a 27 in the rear. Do. Not. Skimp!
- Cold weather clothing, rain gear, bike lights required.
Alps to Dolomites!
We are returning to Bormio to revisit the Italian Alps and ride the Gavia and Stelvio passes. Andy had some good races here, and is happy to share his stories of the Giro d’Italia on our day on the Gavia. More importantly these two master passes will give each of our guests their own stories of conquering their limits and common sense. The Alps are long, steeped in history, littered with switchbacks to keep the grades reasonable, and an absolute blast to ride over. The Dolomites offer long, demanding climbs and blissful descents, while towering limestone crags loom over the dozens of switchbacks we pedal. The Alps are older geologically, and for cyclists they are like the grumpy old uncle who just needs to be visited now and then. Culturally we will enjoy the transition from old- school Italian style in Lombardy, into old Austria on our transfer days, and end up in the Laudin mountain culture of Alta Badia that has changed between Austria and Italy. At the end of each day we will relax and enjoy the cuisine (and beer) of northern Italy’s mountainous frontier. For the bike-obsessed and mountain lovers, this is the Grand Tour. Like Tuscany, we try to maintain a rigorous pasta-wine-prosciutto regimen off the bike but the emphasis here is on going high every day on the bike.
All the particulars
We usually find day time temps between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but there is always the possibility of harsh weather, especially at the summits, and cool temperatures in the evening. Come prepared with leg and arm warmers, shoe covers, gloves, a waterproof riding jacket, waterproof pants, and a hat to wear beneath your helmet. A sweater for the evening is a great idea, too. (We’ll send you a packing list!). Do think “I want to be happy and warm on my vacation”; don’t listen to “You’ll be OK in Italy with that flimsy old rain jacket that was fine in 2004”. Come prepared and you’ll have a blast!
This is a full on 4-pigger tour for those who pedal every mile (see our Fitness Check for a guide.)
We don’t sugarcoat the fact that this is some stiff riding. This trip is for hard-riding folks and we tackle some of the longest climbs in the world. Experienced riders only, please. The climbs are tough and the descents very technical. That means fun for those experienced enough for the challenge. Worried? Well, don’t be—come fit and prepared and you’ll do just fine in good company.
400+ miles (650km) with 40,000+feet (12,200+m) of climbing during the week.
We will ride for 3 days in Bormio to tackle the Stelvio and the Gavia passes. Weather can be an issue so we left same extra time to make sure we get as much riding on these historic passes as practical. From Bormio we will set out over the Stelivo to Merano 100 kilometers away. That will involve 38 switchbacks on the way up, and 48 hairpins on the descent. The rest of the route will be along a cycling route through apple orchards and villages. It will avoid car traffic and involve sections of very nice gravel paths. And it is gradually downhill. Ahhhh. From Merano our second transfer stage will tackle the little used Giovo pass and the Passo delle Erbe to bring us to La Villa in the Alto Adige region of the northern Dolomites. Here rides range from 35 to 90+ miles (56 to 150km), most looping over one to four mountain passes. Passes on the itinerary include the Sella Ronda collection (Fedaia, Gardegna, Sella and Campolongo passes), the grand Pordoi, Falzarego, Giau, and more if we can stand it.
Who is this trip best suited to?
This is the most challenging tour we offer—the crown jewel of cycling in the mountains. Long rides, twisty descents, and unparalleled scenery make this a once-in-a-lifetime itinerary. This is our best tour for the super-fit, uber-motivated, and bike-obsessed guests who crave a mountain adventure with good food, great company, and phenomenal scenery.
The trip is not well suited for non-riders because we are on our bikes for most of the day. However we have had non-riding guests come who had a great time. Write us if you are interested and we will discuss your interests and see if this would be a good trip for you.
Training is required to make this trip enjoyable…and come with your best, most comfy bike– our bike of choice is with compact cranks or triple rings with a 29-tooth cog in the rear. Contact Steve or Andy at Hampsten Cycles for your dream climbing-machine. For bike rentals, see below.
Where do we go?
We will start in Bormio in the far corner of Lombardia, and traverse over the Alps into the Dolomites with a night’s rest in Merano. Alta Badia, deep in the Alto Adige of the upper Dolomiti region is our final destination. Our transition stages will be 100k from Bormio to Merano, and 150k from Merano to Alta Badia. Both hotels will keep us well fed and rested—massages and spas will keep your legs turning.
What Bike/Gears/Tires should I bring?
We will be riding paved roads; bring your 23 to 25mm tires. Go for great grip. We like Rivendell’s rollypoly. They are 28mm but roll oh so nicely when we are in a hurry to get to lunch. Challenge’s Paris Roubaix seem to be nice too.
Lower gears than normal are recommended on this ride, for obvious reasons. Our favorite solution to gearing is to use a compact crank (meaning a double chainring with smaller chainrings than usual 110mm BCD, if that means anything to you) with 34 and 50 teeth in the front, coupled with a 12-27 (Shimano) or 13-29 (Campy) in the rear. Or easier!
Another great option is a triple, usually 30/42/52 (Campy) or 30/39/53 (Shimano), combined with a wide range in the rear.
If you are considering riding hero gears like a 39×25, please rethink your madness. Put it this way: Andy rides a 34×27. Love yourself. Install the compact and spin your legs. Your knees just thanked you.
Questions about bikes or gearing? Contact Andy or Steve at www.hampsten.com.
There will be a limited number of rentals for this tour. Nothing will replace your own trusty stead, however, Gerardo (our mechanic and driver of the follow van) has an impressive rental fleet for those of you needing it. He rents new BMC Gran-Fondo series bikes with 25mm tires–a great rental option for this terrain. Rentals cost 250 € for the week. If you are interested in renting please visit our Rentals section of the Travel Help page or contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
The tour starts Saturday, August 26th at 8:00 a.m. and ends on Labor Day Monday, September 4th.
Schedule your flights in and out of Venice (VCE). Plan on arriving before or on August 25th to get over the travel lag.
We will provide shuttle service at the start of the tour, August 26th, from the Antony Palace Hotel near the Venice airport. Our transfer to Bormio will take 4-5 hours and we’ll hope to get out for an afternoon spin upon arrival.
We will ride the morning of the 3rd and transfer back to Venice after lunch, sleeping at the Antony Place Hotel near the airport.
Flights or onward travel should be scheduled for Monday, September 4th.
Accommodation in Venice on Sept. 3rd is included in the tour price. If you are arriving before Sept. 26th or staying on after Sept. 4th please book your extra nights directly with the hotel in Venice.
Single rooms—we have limited single rooms available on this tour. Please consider rooming with a friend or meeting a new one. Single rooms will be given on a first come basis and we will reassess our rooming needs in the Spring to see if we can allot more single room accommodations.
Cinghiale Shuttle Schedule
Pick up: Saturday, August 26th 8 a.m. from the Antony Palace Hotel
Drop off: Sunday, September 3rd near dinner time at the Antony Palace Hotel .
Fly out on September 4th.
Special notes about this trip
Due to the challenging terrain we will ride, and the resulting time gaps between riders on the climbs, we will not be cycling as one happy herd, as on most Cinghiale trips.
There will be van support, and our crew will do their best to care for you. Every rider will be required to come not only fit but also self-sufficient in supplying warm clothing. Our follow van will carry your rain bag with your favorite warm clothing in it, but keep in mind having a very good rain jacket in your pocket on most rides is necessary. Plan A is that our follow van will be at the tops of passes with your backpack of warm clothes. For chilly conditions you will want to change clothes and head down the descent before you share every joke in your repertoire. Take it from Andy; your jokes are funnier in a warm café.
We also need to have front and rear lights on our bikes for the occasional tunnel. Not so much to light the way, but to be seen by traffic. Small and bright is best. We like these LED lights by Blackburn. Lights must be on your bike for every ride.
Think twice about riding carbon wheels on alpine trips, they could have braking issues on long descents. Aero bars should be left at home, too.
Transport in the mountains is tricky, so this trip is one day longer to make certain we get all the rides in we want to do. We will pick you up in Venice and then head directly to Bormio the morning of August 26th. Consider arriving the day before to relax, visit Venice, and most importantly make the morning shuttle.
We will transport the bikes and bike boxes to the mountains with us and repack them on the last day. You do not need to have your bike built up prior to the shuttle on the 26th. We will build bikes on the 26th and then head out for an afternoon ride. If your bike requires a special tool please be sure to bring them along with you. We’ll have all the basics necessary to build up bikes and keep them rolling smoothly, but specialty stuff will be hard to come by.
There are limited single rooms available on this tour. If you would like a single room please request it on your booking form and if there is still availability we will confirm it in response to your form. If there is not availability you will be placed in a share-occupancy room will another guest of the same gender. Single rooms are available on a first-come basis.
Alta Badia: A more isolated area of the Dolomiti region, Alta Badia maintains a rich history and culture where the Ladin language is still spoken. An area that was transferred between countries for a time, during the first world war it eventually came to be part of Trentino, Italy. Here we see the German/Austrian/Italian cultures blended into a fine balance. Similar to Alleghe, the territory is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and we will enjoy the spectacular mountain views on our rides.
Venice: A city drenched in history and beauty (and yes, a lot of tourism), Venice retains the feeling of a bustling trade center between the east and west. If you can manage the crowds, the architecture and museums will not disappoint. If you head east from the main buzz you’ll find quieter neighborhoods, parks, and less-touristy restaurants. Highlights are: Perhaps the best cappuccino ever (north of Tuscany, at least). No cars, or mopeds, or motorized vehicles. We have stayed in the quiet, newer neighborhood on the east end of the islands, and in the heat of summer the parks there would be nice. The trains in Italy can be fast on the Frecce Italia system and the private Italo lines. Florence is two hours away, Rome is four.
Included in the cost of the tour:
9 days of fully supported riding; hotel rooms for 9 nights; 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 7 dinners (with wine!);
Snacks and drinks during rides; admission to scheduled sightseeing stops and special events; transportation on the first and ninth day to Venice, all included.
Please book your room for the 25th directly with the Hotel TBD in Venice. Our stay on September 3rd in Venice is included in the tour price.
*Two dinners and one lunch will be on your own during the week. One of those dinners is our final night near Venice. Our hotel is near the airport for travel reasons, but we encourage everyone to take a bus the short way to Venice and enjoy the city for at least one evening.
Not included with the tour: Airfare. Tips for guides.
Tour cost is $4,100 per person
Single rooms are $500 extra, per person. Please request a single room on your booking form. Single rooms are limited on this tour.
Deposit: $1,000 per person. Please wait for us to respond to your booking form to send in your deposit.
Final payment: A balance of $3,100 per person ($3,600 for a single room) is due by May 26, 2017. If you are signing on after this date, just drop us a line and we’ll arrange a different payment schedule.
Confirmation and communication
Once you’ve sent us your booking form, you can expect the following communication and requests from us:
A reservation email–Andy or Elaine will respond, letting you know about availability for the tour. If we have space available, you will be instructed to send your deposit of $1,000 per person.
A deposit email–we’ll acknowledge receipt of your deposit, confirming your spot(s) on the tour, and give you a balance and its due date.
Balance email–once we’ve received your balance payment, we’ll acknowledge its receipt, and remind you to send us your travel details so we can confirm ground transportation/ shuttle times with you.
For cancellations, see below.
Trip files–One month before your trip, we’ll send you an email with five attachments, including an agreement to sign, a medical questionnaire that must be filled out, travel info, contact info for each day of the trip, and a suggested packing list.
Itinerary–Upon arriving in Italy, we’ll provide you with a detailed itinerary and route map.
Travel confirmation—Send your travel plans to Elaine at least one month before the trip (airline, flight number, arrival and departure days and times) to email@example.com. We’d like to know how you’re arriving in Italy, so we can make sure everyone’s covered in getting to the tour on time.
If this info hasn’t answered all your questions, then drop us a line via email or by phone:
Andy in the US– (303) 506-1788 or Elaine (303) 888-4543 (US mountain time)
In the spring through fall we are in Italy, so please call: (Central Euro time; please call during daylight hours in Italy.) Andy in Italy (011 39) 333 97 60 997 or Elaine (011 39) 346 68 55 070
Specific information for your tour is contained in the Travel Details section above, so please read it carefully. Please visit our Travel Help and FAQ’s page to answer questions about booking, travel, and your tour.
If you decide not to come or cannot come for any reason, the amount you have paid is fully refundable up to 91 days before your trip. We do not refund money after 90 days. This means if you cancel within 90 days of your trip, you will forfeit the full amount you’ve paid.
We reserve the right to cancel your reservation with us if we have not received your balance payment by June 30, 2017.
We do not overbook our tours and we strongly recommend travel insurance. Please purchase travel insurance that covers trip cancellations (for any reason), lost luggage, and unforeseen medical emergencies.
Visit http://www.insuremytrip.com for an insurance quote and http://www.hthtravelinsurance.com/purchase/quote/quote.cfm for a travel health insurance quote.
Thanks for your interest and we hope to see you soon!