A mountain bike tour around the Latemar massif
Do it your way!
All I want to do when I drive into town, in fact, is to get a few items for my bike holiday but, as so often happens with me, things turn out differently from the way I had planned. On the passenger seat as I drive back there is a paper bag filled with eight power bars, while in the boot there is a brand-new trail bike. It’s not mine (yet), but I will be testing it out for a few days in the Dolomites above the Val d’Ega – on my bike holiday, to be precise!
Test route around the Latemar
This is the first time that I have been biking in Obereggen and I have had hardly any time to prepare for it over the past few days. So I am all the more pleased that the deputy manager of my hotel is also a big mountain biking fan and straightaway gives me a good tip for me and my test bike: “I recommend the tour around the Latemar. It’s got everything to put your new bike through its paces!” I eagerly accept his advice.
Ride the Dolomites
In the early morning all is quiet in Obereggen, with everyone still asleep. I am the only one wide awake as I tackle the first stretch up to Nova Levante and Lake Carezza. The mix of ups and downs along the first few kilometres is a good way to warm up. My sat-nav tracks the route perfectly to ensure optimum flow - no braking and losing speed at the numerous junctions. Today I will be letting the cable car do the hard work up from Nova Levante to the Costalunga Pass and the hard climb from Predazzo up to the Passo Feudo. At the top station of the Laurin 1 lift in Nova Levante my eyes open wide. Wow - the view over the Catinaccio and Latemar massifs as the early morning mist clears looks as if it is straight off a film set. I pull my smartphone out of my back pocket and take a picture of the beautiful scenery. The day is off to a promising start. So let’s ride!
Total mountain bike
Immediately after the top station I turn left by the Nigra Pass onto a forest trail. The test bike at once makes a solid impression on the first short climbs - the 29-inch tyres are fast, while the lock-out function on the suspension makes for efficient power transmission. Up to the Costalunga Pass I alternate continuously between forest path and single trail, a change matched by the Dolomite panorama: on my left soars the Catinaccio, while to my right are the bizarre rock formations of the Latemar range. Shortly after the pass the trail joins the road. I take a breather on the asphalt surface, and then comes the hard work: a single trail with S2 sections brings me 700 metres down to Moena in the Val di Fassa. And once again the trail bike shows its worth, even with limited suspension travel. In fact the bike demands you take a clear line – which in turn teaches you the right technique. An obligatory coffee stop in Moena, then comes the cycle track to Predazzo from where I take the gondola up to the Feudo Pass, at 2,190 metres the highest point on the Latemar circuit. I enjoy a quick break to take a photo in the autumn sunshine and enjoy a plate of macaroni, then it’s off again from the south side of the Latemar, guided by my trusty Garmin along forest roads, meadow paths and gnarly trails back to Obereggen.
Latemar 360° test route
It takes me a while to digest all the emotions provoked by this tour. I enjoy the well-earned feeling of tiredness and slight soreness so, after the buffet dinner, I stay up until midnight in the hotel’s lounge bar. What with the phenomenal mountain panorama, a new bike and challenging trail passages, this fantastic tour was a holiday within a holiday. The test bike too easily overcame my initial scepticism as to whether the 130 mm suspension travel was right for me. I have my doubts when I think of my wife’s reaction when she sees another new bike in the garage, however. I smirk... Oh well, it’s not as if I’m always doing it ;-)
Depending upon personal preference and physical condition, the climbs from Nova Levante to the Niger Pass and from Predazzo to the Passo Feudo can of course be done using either muscles or electric power!