Christmas day in the Dolomites

Our moms were not so happy about our plans on Christmas day this year. The usual routine on this day would be:
  • breakfast
  • going to church
  • back home for Christmas lunch
  • again back to church
  • end
The only statement that worked (again) this time was Fridtjof Jansen quote:

It is better to go skiing and think of God, than go to church and think of sport!

Oh well but we didn’t want to go skiing. We skied the last 3 weeks on perfect groomed and empty slopes of the Dolomiti Superski and Alta Badia area. Our plan was to do something very rare, something we are maybe not able to do anymore for at least the next 20 or more years.
We are talking about the classic Fanes-Sennes-Prags Nature Park loop with our Mountain Bikes. In fact the latest in the year we have been able to ride was on 18th December 1994 (21 years ago). Usually at this time of year you should just meet ski rando skiers in this area. But as we didn’t have any precipitations since October, Christmas was the perfect day to celebrate a mountain bike ride on this loop.

Snow?
The only snow pack we needed to go through was the one of a ski slope on our way down the valley before turning right in the beautiful but damn cold Rudo valley towards the Pederü hut. In fact this isn’t really the perfect season to go on a road or mountainbike ride in the Dolomites. In the sun the temperatures are cold but OK, but as soon you are in some places that are not touched by the sun since months you get temperatures like this:

-9.1 °C equals to 15,62 °F and this at 1,444 meters above sea level (4,737 feet)
In the 20 km long freezing conditions we didn’t feel anymore our fingers and toes. But we knew the more we would climb the warmer it would get (!?!?!?!) Strange to hear this? Well it’s now more than a month that we have temperature inversion in the Dolomites valleys. That means that down the valleys it’s colder than up higher.

Finally into the sun!

At 1,400 meters we needed 2 pair of gloves and at 2,000 meters none anymore.
Once we reached the highest point of the ride, we had to think back what we said & promised to our moms. Of course we starred at the amazing mountains thinking at mother nature and whoever made all of this possible. On the table our minimal Christmas lunch, a tasty tiny panettone sponsored by Franz that is not only a good road cyclist and mountainbiker (the only one that is able to steal all my Strava Cycling KOM’s) but also the junior patissier at the family pastry shop I dolci di Ricky. Side note … if you don’t stop by there during your holiday in the Dolomites you don’t know what you are missing.

Christmas lunch with a view
Cold? Not anymore above 2,000 meters. After more than an hour riding at -9,0°C the +3,4°C felt warm and it was a pleasure to stop and eat without freezing.
As soon our gourmet style lunch was over it was time to cycle through the Gran Fanes plains with all the best views you can get on the Dolomites.

Wanted to hitchhike, but it looks like that dog had the same idea before me.

Haha, Franz … show me how you outrun … ehmm ride … that dog!!!
Fanes Natural Park loop ride details:

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