Chasing the sun across the Alps — unsupported solo

Omar di Felice

Chasing the sun across the Alps — unsupported solo

Road Cycling Collection by Omar

The idea for this trip was to cross the Alps, going east to west from Muggia at sea level, located on the Italian-Slovenian border, to Ventimiglia on the Italian-French border. Along the way, I'd take in many iconic mountain passes that define the history of cycling.

This challenge was my way to start again after the world health emergency, staying not so far from home but exploring the Alps all along the border through Italy, Switzerland, and France. An old project turned into reality, because from every difficulty we can have a new opportunity.

I had originally planned to take between six and seven days to complete the task, but as progress was really good over the first few days, a new goal was set: to complete the challenge in five days or less. In the end, I rode the entire length of the Alps — a huge 1,642 km with no less than 31,750 m of climbing (1,020 miles, 104,166 ft) in four days and 23 hours.

I was totally self-supported, which meant staying overnight in hotels, buying food from shops and carrying all the kit that I needed on the bike.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    204 mi
    13.4 mph
    21,400 ft
    16,625 ft

    The start of a new adventure is a really exciting moment. This first day took me from the sea level at the border of Italy and Slovenia at Muggia up to the Zoncolan and finally an amazing sunset across the Dolomites in the Gardena Valley.The major climbs on this first day included;
    Monte Zoncolan (1,750 m)
    Sella Ciampigotto (1,790 m)
    Passo Tre Croci (1,809 m)
    Strada per il Rifugio Auronzo (2,320 m)
    Passo Falzarego (2,105 m)

    200 mi
    14.7 mph
    11,750 ft
    15,400 ft

    This second day took me from the Dolomites down to the heat of Bolzan and up again to the Stelvio Pass before downing the Valtellina valley. Today’s goal was to do as much distance as possible to be closer to the border of Switzerland.There were only two climbs on this day;
    Passo Gardena (2,121 m)
    Passo dello Stelvio (2,757 m)

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  • 19:01
    237 mi
    12.5 mph
    23,325 ft
    20,325 ft

    The third day was the turning point of this adventure; now it was time to face the high mountain climbs and bad weather, with strong storms on Nufenen Pass and Gran San Bernardo. Reaching Valle D’Aosta was a big relief considering the tough day that I'd endured!The major climbs today included:
    Splügen Pass (2,114 m)
    Nufenen Pass (2,478 m)
    Grand Saint-Bernard Pass (2,469 m)

    151 mi
    11.0 mph
    20,700 ft
    18,375 ft

    The fourth day was the toughest, after the rain the day before. I had wooden legs but it was all mental now. What an effort it was to reach Sestriere after some dark moments on the Col de l'Iseran and the huge Colle delle Finestre climb on gravel roads.The four climbs on this day were;
    Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard (2,188 m)
    Col de l'Iseran (2,764 m)
    Col de la Madeleine (1,993 m)
    Col du Mont Cenis (2,083 m)
    Colle della Finestre (2,178 m)

    228 mi
    11.6 mph
    27,000 ft
    33,525 ft

    The fifth and final day. I supposed to do the entire adventure in six to seven days but when I had the opportunity to do it in just 5 days (or perhaps even less...) I tried to catch this new dream.So a long Alpine marathon ensued, with plenty of emotions! It was a real achievement to reach Ventimiglia in 4 days and 23 hours after tackling the major Western Alpine climbs.These included;
    Col de Montgenèvre (1,854 m)
    Col d'Izoard (2,360 m)
    Col d'Agnel (2,744 m)
    Colle di Sampeyre (2,284 m)
    Colle del Vallonetto (2,447 m)
    Col de la Lombarde (2,350 m)

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    1,020 mi
  • Duration
    81:05 h
  • Elevation
    104,150 ft

Chasing the sun across the Alps — unsupported solo