I was originally planning a long distance ride to follow Ventoux and Stelvio. But this has been a year of climbing so why not make a change of plan and make my last cycling challenge of 2019…..
It so happens that our holiday this year is in the Alto Adige region of Italy. A village named Eppan an der Weinstrasse, or Appiano sulla Strada del Vino. In a reflection of the history of the region, a German and Italian name. Eppan is also the starting point of roads leading to cycling climbs categorised as Hors Categorie. Or ‘bloody insane’. Up to 1,000 metres of hairpins in some cases.
A happy coincidence…… for me at least.
I had planned to undertake a 200+ kilometre ride but that may not work out this year. A whole day in the saddle has actually been difficult to fit in and the nights will start to draw in soon. So, instead, another climb. Maybe two or three, although not in one day. But with one specifically targeted as a challenge, the Passo Mandelo. Handily enough this lays about 4 kilometres away from our holiday lodgings. Not a well known climb but comparable to Passo Gavia. A little steeper but also a good deal shorter in distance. As is normal for this region it has another name in German, the Mendel Pass, Fairly similar, though. For me, that is.
Not much time to prepare for this ride but enough long distance rides at high tempo to be ready to push, as per my six year ride. My condition is good and, in any case, it is not the plan to push hard. This is a holiday after all. Perhaps a nice couple of warm up rides first, to find my sadly neglected climbing legs.
Perhaps a lesser challenge than Ventoux and Stelvio, certainly not so renowned. But a nice way to round out my cycling year, taking advantage of a different landscape than I am used to. Also a rare chance to get the legs climbing. Next year can always be one for long distance rides, A small change of plan and a relatively low key climb but, still, a nice closing challenge for 2019.
The Passo Mendalo 15 kilometres long and has an average gradient of 6.5% with short bursts of higher gradients, as high as 20%.