Cycling the Alps

Coming from a basically pancake-flat country – he actually lives below sea level, on the world’s largest artificial island – it’s amazing how much Cyclopaat likes cycling the Alps.

Even on a good day, he’s an average climber at best, but he claims it’s all about the views.

That is, he isn’t bad at it, but as he’s insane, he cycles multiple passes every day, for up to two weeks.

If he would just tackle one or two at the time and take a day off in between, or at least once or twice, he’d probably make more of an impression.

So, more often than not he barely makes it up another (famous) mountain pass, returning afterwards to his apartment half past dead, only to prepare himself to take yet another beating the next day.

It’s anybody’s guess what might be going on in that head of his, but he seems to be determined to ‘conquer’ every single climb he can find while cycling the Alps.

Or maybe that should read ‘be conquered by’… He likes to call it “grinta”, which probably is Italian for idiot 1, as they are quite often shouting that at him while he’s out there…

This destructive desire doesn’t allow for basic things like a ‘rest day’ once in a while.

“I WILL REST WHEN I’M DEAD!” is his standard answer to pleas to DO have a rest day every now and then…

Despite his efforts, during every cycling the Alps trip he discovers many more climbs for him to die on, so the list of links on this page to the reports of his insane expeditions will most likely continue to grow.

1 Yes, he does know it’s means grit, determination. Just pretend you think it’s funny, okay?

So, what does he think qualifies as areas for the best cycling climbs in the Alps and what cycling in the Alps tips does he have for you?

Giro d’Italia

Whenever the Treasury Secretary sanctions a trip into the high mountains, for another cycling the Alps adventure, Cyclopaat is first looking at his favorite destination: Italy.

In particular the Dolomites 2 is where he feels ‘at home’, but obviously the attraction of the northwestern part of Italy is almost equally strong.

Corvara (in Badia) is his favorite place for a base camp, although other towns along the Sella Ronda course, like Arabba or Canazei are good choices too.

And for the northwest, in or close to Bormio would be his first pick for that.

Other than the trip to Prato in 2008, which was ‘just’ for the Stelvio, he does not hesitate to shamelessly call these trips his own ‘Giro d’Italia’.

More on his Giro’s here.

Giro d'Italia 2015 - on the Stelvio

2 Technically, both the northeast and northwest mountain ranges in Italy are part of the Alps, but the northeast is more commonly referred to as the Dolomites.

Tour de France

And while his heart may be in the Dolomites, he has no objection to cycling and destroying his ass in other parts of the Alps, like in France.

And to be honest, staying in an area around Barcelonnette, Bourg-Saint-Maurice, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne or Briançon, is not a punishment…

Obviously, as with the Giro, he has no problem dubbing those cycling adventures in France as his version of the ‘Tour de France’.

Read all about those here.

Tour de Suisse

He already shamelessly dubbed his cycling adventures in France ‘Tour de France‘ and those in Italy ‘Giro d’Italia‘, so it should not come as a surprise that, when he planned another cycling the Alps adventure in Switzerland, it was dubbed ‘Tour de Suisse’.

In 2015, he had a taste of what Switzerland has to offer, when he concluded his Giro d’Italia of that year with an entirely Swiss epilogue.

That stage brought him the Gotthard (old Tremola road), the Furka and the Grimsel and he was so impressed by the landscape and the overwhelming views, that he promised he would be back one day.

So, in August 2019, Paula once again supported him in yet another crazy quest…

More on this adventure here.

TDS - on the Grimsel in 2015

It’s not all about cycling the Alps

While cycling the Alps may be his passion and priority, he also doesn’t object to grab whatever opportunity presents itself to cycle in other parts of the world.

As long as there’s a mountain or at least a serious hill/climb, he’s good.

Like those vacations on Mallorca, Gran Canaria or Tenerife – Paula booked those with the intention to lay on the beach and relax for a while, but she should have known better.

I mean, she did, but he got on a rental bike anyway.

If she wants to get that nutcase off his bike for a week or two, she should NEVER book a leisure holiday on an island that is routinely used by every wannabe cyclist to train…

On the bright side, these trips at least offer her the chance to enjoy the beach, instead of having to follow him around on his endeavors 🙂

Other than that, he’s been to Berchtesgaden twice, (Hoch) Sauerland three times and the Eifel 3 in Germany, as well as in the Vosges in France – nice areas to train for more serious expeditions, although he didn’t like the Vosges very much.

Sa Calobra - view from just before the summit

3 He also had a “Bike Rebel” – three of ‘m – outing there in 2005, before this version of his blog started… The Dutch version still has a report on that.

Alpe d’HuZes

As preparation for Team AD6 Tweets Alpe d’HuZes 2012, two training camps were planned.

Sadly, a month before the first trip, Cyclopaat crashed badly while training in his own neck of the woods and ended up in the hospital with severe injuries.

The aftermath of that spoiled a lot of the fun during the training weeks and also during the Alpe d’HuZes event (week) itself…

He and Paula first spent a week in the Bavarian Alps (the area around the above mentioned Berchtesgaden), where despite the fact he couldn’t cycle up the much anticipated Kehlsteinstrasse, he found enough challenges to seriously test himself got more than he could handle…

A month later, the near-complete team spent a week in France (Les Ménuires, close to Val Thorens), where the Croix de Fer, La Plagne, Les Arcs and a first climb up Alpe d’Huez were on the menu.

During this trip he seriously started to doubt his ability to accomplish the AD6 mission…

Full details on the event and the preparations here.

Alpe d'HuZes 2012

The Beginning

The cycling the Alps adventures began in 2008, when Cyclopaat had his first real high mountains trip: through Germany (Tegernsee) and Austria (Feldkirchen) Paula and he arrived in Prato for the epic climb of the Stelvio from that end.

Obviously the absolute highlight of that trip, but the Gerlitzen and the Nockalmstrasse were fine treats too…

The name of the latter might ring a bell, but for the Gerlitzen your reaction probably is “The what?!”. And at the time he cycled it, there wasn’t even much info on the most common col info sites…

Well, find it and if you ever try it, you will never forget it. It wasn’t until he prepared himself for his Giro d’Italia of 2011 that he figured out it was similar to the Mortirolo, although not as horrid as the Zoncolan.

At 12 kilometers and an average of 10,2% it’s remarkable that it doesn’t/didn’t have much of a reputation…

Report of that trip here.

The year after that, he continued cycling the Alps by getting up the full length – and forks – of the Grossglockner from Bruck. In (mostly) bad weather and with no views at the summits, still an experience well worth the effort.

Report of that expedition here.

The lack of views was compensated for years later, when in 2017 he returned there.

The steep Gerlitzen Alpenstrasse
The Gerlitzen looks eerily similar to the Mortirolo at times…
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