Ultracycling is one of the toughest and most intense disciplines of cycling. As part of it, cyclists must try to complete races exceeding well over 60 miles (100 kilometers) in the shortest time possible. And the toughest of these tough events can be found in Europe, in the Alps, a ride for which you need to be specially selected by the committee to participate in: The Race Across the Alps.
This one-day race sees challengers ride over 335 miles (540 kilometers) in a single day, all while contending with over 45,000 feet (14,000 meters) in elevation gain. We did say it was tough, right? But don't worry, the route we present to you here has no time limit. After all, it would be a shame to come all this way and not enjoy the views. Therefore, we've broken the ride down into several stages that you can mould together yourself based on how long you think you'll need.
On it, you'll start in Nauders and gradually cross the Brenner Pass, the Stelvio Pass, the Gavia Pass, Mortirolo, the Passo dell'Aprica, the Bernini Pass, the Albulapass, the Flüelapass, the Ofenpass and the Umbrail Pass. Passes, passes, passes. At the end, you will return to the Stelvio Pass, but this time you will descend the 48 turns. Your ride will then end back in Nauders via the Reschenpass. Once you've arrived, you'll be able to assess the unimaginable performance of the ultra cyclists who compete in the Race Across the Alps — while being proud of the extraordinary effort you put in to get here, too.
The first stage offers you some of the top spots for racing cyclists in the Alps. You start in the Austrian town of Nauders, cross the border with Italy on the Reschenpass and then roll down the Vinschgau in a relaxed atmosphere. A photo stop on Reschensee, with the sunken church of Graun, is obligatory.But that's not all, because the true adventure of this day is still waiting for you: the Stelvio Pass! With its 48 bends and 1,200 vertical meters a very demanding pass and an absolute must for racing cyclists in the Alps. After the successful conquest of the pass, it's all downhill - to Bormio.
Also the second day on the track of the "Race across the Alps" has it all. Again, more than 100 kilometers and 2,000 meters of altitude are waiting for you. You pedal on historic cycling routes.The Gaviapass is always part of the Giro d'Italia and when you stop at the pass to the Rifugio Bonetta, you can marvel at many pictures of past giros and the "Maglia Rosa" by Maro Pantani.Then you fly down the pass road to Ponte di Legno. The second pass of the day can not match either the celebrity or the Gaviapass, but the Passo dell'Aprica also has its Giro story to tell. From Edolo you then drive about 15 kilometers and not quite 500 meters up to 1,176 meters. After the short descent, the last few kilometers will take you almost evenly to Grosio, where you will set up your camp. From here the next day goes over the Mortirolo.
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After a restful night, when you have regained your strength, right at the beginning of the third stage you get down to business.It begins with a short flat piece, then you conquer a real legend: the Passo del Mortirolo - in the hard variant of Mazzo. 1,300 vertical meters on 12 kilometers are a real challenge. The slope practically never falls below 10% and is on average 11-12%. Since you are well advised with a mountain suitable translation. Almost to "recover" you come today a second time on the Passo dell'Aprico, which then appears almost like a "cat's jump".And because you still do not have enough, another giant of the Alpine passes is on the program: The Bernina Pass. Let it go easy, because on the 37 kilometers and 1.880 vertical meters you will need your last reserves. Once at the top, you can briefly strengthen and then roll down to St. Moritz. In the fashionable holiday home, you're leaving for today. Allegra!
From the numbers, the fourth stage is a little more gracious than the previous three. It is 109 kilometers and "only" 2,500 meters to overcome. A rest day will not be so.However, you could also roll quite relaxed and without many vertical meters from today's starting point St. Moritz to the stage finish in Zernez. The distance between the two places is only 35 kilometers and it is mainly downhill. So if you have heavy legs and need a break, that would be a real alternative.But you would miss two great Swiss road passes - the Albula Pass and the Flüela Pass. Transitions that pay off for every racing cyclist.
Final sprint! Not only the participants of the "Race across the Alps" will soon be at their destination, the tour will soon be over for you as well. So far, you have been able to gather a lot of impressions and legendary racing bike passes and the last day is guaranteed to be boring. From Zernez you leave the Inn Valley through the Swiss National Park on the Ofenpass.A simple descent will take you to Val Müstair. Now you really need Körner again to be able to conquer the Umbrailpass and thus also the Stilfserjoch. Up here you already stood on the first day of the tour, but you had to pedall the serpentines from the bottom up. Today you can enjoy the descent on the 48 bends. On the already known way you pass again the Reschensee and the Reschenpass and finally get back to your starting point Nauders.Now you can finally put your feet up and be proud of what you've achieved. Even if the participants in the ultra-cycling race manage the route at one go - for ordinary cyclists the five-day variant is already a tough nut to crack. Bravo!