Somewhat of a veteran when it comes to the Haute Route’s seven-day events, contributor Lorena Jones was recently invited to check out the Haute Route’s three-day format – on the world famous Stelvio Pass in Northern Italy.
Carved into the Italian Alps, the ‘Passo dello Stelvio’ is one of the highest paved passes in Europe, and arguably the most beautiful. Rising to 2,758m and boasting 48 gloriously breath-taking switchbacks, it’s no wonder the Stelvio pass has become a bucket-list climb for many cyclists, and a chosen location for one of the Haute Route’s three-day events.
Branching out from a central location, the Haute Route Stelvio provides the perfect blend of challenging cycling terrain and relaxing holiday activities. Add delicious local cuisine and Bormio’s natural spas into the mix, and you have everything you might want from a mini-break destination.
Is this the recipe for the ongoing success of the Haute Route three-day events? Almost certainly.
Day one, and the highly-strung weather, typical of an Italian mountain range, gave way to a stormy setting during our first approach towards the Passo dello Stelvio and marked what would be a rather cold and wet descent as we veered left towards the Umbrail Pass. Met at the summit with delicious treats and plenty of cheery Haute Route staff to help us navigate our numb fingers into our raincoats and gloves, we made our way down the other side towards Prato.
Here, the cold wet air soon gave way to breaks of sunshine and a very fast road into the following town. Funny how quickly those damp moments are forgotten once you are sharing some warm, smooth and fast tarmac with fellow riders.
The river, at the base of the mountain in Prato offered some refreshment in the humidity but didn’t last long as we wound our way up the second climb of the day; another humbling ribbon of road.