Who we are? Bianca ( @bfr_bianca) and Boukje (@boukjev). Two women who are fond of cycling. We live in the Netherlands, a very flat country where it can be very windy. Especially in the region where we are from. After a cycling ride last year in the east of our country we got the idea to plan a cycling holiday somewhere in Europe. It didn’t take us long to decide which country and which area. Italy, the Dolomites, the Stelvio pass and surroundings. That’s where we were going! The plans were made and then the long waiting started.
Finally, the day of departure came. After some final preparations we drove off on Wednesday the 20th of June with a car full of baggage and two bikes mounted on the back. Due to the uncertain weather forecasts our suitcases were stuffed with long and short clothing and hot- and cold weather cycling gear. On our way to Italy we stayed at a hotel in a Asperg, Germany. It was very hot in Germany, 34 ° C. After a hot night we continued our journey to the Dolomites, destination Corvara alta Badia.
The moment we arrived in the Arkadia hotel our cycling holiday really begun. Bianca arranged this fantastic hotel with a super room, food and friendly personnel. They made our stay feel great!
We stored our two Italian baby’s with five locks.
Friday 22 June. Our first adventure.
The next morning our baby’s were still there and wanted to go with us into the mountains. We started with the Campagnolopass to Arraba and back. When you are used to ride in a flat country you need some time to get used to the mountains. Like any other cyclingtourist we made a photo at the top with the sign. Actually not just one photo but more. After the descent back at the hotel we went to the Giaupass to look at the pro’s. Maybe we could learn something from them. Our local, Marco, gave us some tips where to park our car which led us somehow on the race parkour and we crossed the finish line by car. It was a great afternoon. We picked a great spot at the finish from where we could watch the cyclists finish. Some were fitter than the others. The day after we were told that we had been on TV!
Saturday 23 june, Sellaronda Bike Day.
The Sellaronda Bike Day. One of the reasons we travelled all the way to Italy. When we woke up that morning we both felt nervous for what was to come. We did our best to have breakfast but we did not feel hungry at all. After five minutes cycling we didn’t feel nervous anymore and started to enjoy the pedaling and the majestic mountain views. A picture on every top, after every top a descent, after each descent a climb. On most beautiful presents that day were Bianca’s hello’s and ciao’s each descent. What an experience! Back at our hotel we both cried over our achievement. It may sound stupid for outsides but we both have our reasons to be proud of this. After an Aperol spritz we went from the sunny terrace to the swimming pool. But not before we checked if our baby’s were still safe in the bike parking. Though the parking was full, only two bikes were locked.. ours!
Sunday 24 June. Both relaxing our own way.
We began our rest day with a cheerful and tasty breakfast. No pressure today but just relax enjoy the beauty of this stunning region. Bianca took the gondola lift to explore the region on foot. I decided to go for another ride on my Italian baby. Soon after Bianca left I already received her text messages telling me how much she enjoyed the mountain views and photos taken from the lift.
In the meanwhile I got dressed and was ready to ride to passo Valparola. I took the longer route. Though the plan today was relaxing, the ride was a quite heavy. Thankfully I got rewarded with beautiful views and a fantastic descent. Back at the hotel I parked my bike at the bicycle parking. Again only two out of three bikes where locked.
Bianca told me she made a beautiful hike to a lake. A steep climb made also her day not that typical recovery-hike but she also got rewarded with nature’s silence and beauty. While drinking a cappuccino she enjoyed observing how Italian families spend their Sundays and had interesting chats with fellow-cyclists.
Time flies when you’re having fun. We spent our last evening in the Dolomites on a terrace sipping a drink that carries the name Bicicletta, a pizza, a swim in the pool and a delicious dinner. Before going to bed we thank the waiter (Bianca calls him my friend, he always starts smiling when he sees me) and the lady behind the bar. They made our stay very pleasant.
Monday 25 June. Both relaxing our own way.
Before breakfast we assigned ourselves a simple task. Mounting the bike rack back on our car. We really struggled with the electricity cable but some brute force made us complete our task. Yes, ladies can use brute force too! Eventually we were ready to leave the Dolomites and start our journey to the Stelvio pass. We put on our favorite playlist on and drove of via the Gardena pass and Wolkenstein.
At the Stelvio pass Bianca showed herself a real co-pilot as she guided me through the 48 hairpin turns. Just before the top I thought I saw a bus coming down so I stopped. As I see some cyclists coming around the bend the engine of our car struggled and stalled. A cyclist behind me got in a little trouble while he tried to unclip. Luckily he was able to hold on a concrete block next to the road. We we only noticed that when we continued our ride and I guess he cursed at us.. a lot… sorry sir!
At arrival in Bormio we rested a for the afternoon and met up with Daniele (Insta name@dani_dega) and Danilo (Insta name@bormiobike). Later this week they will lead us through the beautiful area of Bormio and will show us the real Italian restaurants an local Italian specialties.
Tuesday 26 june, The big day: Stelvio time.
This morning was very much like last Saturday: nerves, nerves, nerves. Again we did our best to have breakfast while we our appetite had dropped to zero. We started our ride at 07:30 because the weather forecast told us it would be another sunny day. At km 3 Bianca a little gap fell between me and Bianca, as I was used to. Her cadence was nice and steady. My legs felt heavy and I realized I should have done a little recovery ride. I set a new goal: get to the top within three hours and enjoy try to enjoy as much as possible.
Bianca got to the top in 2 hours and 40 minutes. I fillowed 15 minutes later. A thanks for mister Frenchman who started to chat with me at 4 km to the top so I did not realize how hard the last part was. At the top Bianca awaited me and cheered loudly. Of course we did a photoshoot at the Bormio sign. Photos together and alone, behind our bikes and with both bikes lifted in the air. Bianca got the idea to put on our cycling goggles and the photo that followed became the best of the shoot.
We had some chats with other cyclists and started our descent, both our own way. Sometimes I stopped alongside the road and Bianca rushed by. After 30 minutes we got back at the hotel. Bianca realized what she just did. She did that climb for someone special. She got overwhelmed by emotions and together we shared a beautiful moment.
The rest of the afternoon we relaxed on a terrace. That night Danilo (@Bormiobike) took us via a small winding path to a valley nearby which offered us a fantastic view on the glacier a river and a village. This spot was close to Switzerland and we enjoyed the silence and the beautiful flower that grow there. We had a pizza on the wat back at the hotel and a again we realized that we both felt lucky to here!
Wednesday 27 june, The last day.
This day we took a trip to Lago di Cancano. A ride that I have done before. I told Bianca that this one was not really hard but I forgot to tell her that the first part was in fact quite steep with its 13%. After the first part a lot of hairpin turns led us to the top while we both enjoyed the climb while making photos and some jokes. After some tunnels we got to the lookout and again enjoyed the beauty of the Italian mountains. Most of all we look back on a fantastic cycling week. The cold wind made us decide to get down to Bormio.
At the hotel I couldn’t resist the temptation to do one more climb. Bianca went back to her room to pack her stuff and I started the climb to Bormio 2000. Last year I did that climb while it was raining so now I took the chance to do it while the sun was shining. With a mind full of thoughts I arrived at the top. After letting Bianca know that I arrived safely I took, of course, some pictures , had a coke and made myself ready to descent. I even put on my live location so she could come and help me in case I got into trouble. The first part of the descent I enjoyed with every fiber of my being. The last part of the descent the road condition was so terribly bad that I had to slow down and avoid cracks and holes.
After a shower I met Bianca and we went to the terrace where we talked about the many beautiful and most impressive moments that we experienced that week while we enjoyed an Aperol Spritz. Of course we laughed a lot too. We came to the conclusion that it was a fantastic week and would love to do a trip like this again. That night we dressed chic for dinner so while we strolled trough the village while we drew quite some attention.
Thursday June 28 the return journey ….
After breakfast Bianca folds her bike and herself in the elevator, I hate the elevator and carry my bike downstairs and upstairs for the whole week. In the lobby of the hotel Bianca asks if I want to film her while she is cycling through the hotel. I stand on the lookout film her and see if nobody sees it, so she can get a QOM in the hotel lobby. Everything is in the car and bicycles are on the back of the car. The past few days our babies have been in our room. After all our Italian adventures they go back to the flat Netherlands today. We get in the car and say to each other we will definitely come back here. Bianca steer the car to the Stelvio pass where we see the first cyclists on the climb. One smood pedaling and the other raking upwards. We pass them and the a beautiful view after another passes by. We drive down the Umbrailpass and see marmots playing and running on the road. After an hour driving through Switzerland, the navigation tells us that we have to take the Ferry. We both start to laugh because we only see mountains. We arrive in the car train through the mountain. At the border we are put aside because we do not have a vignette, Bianca has to come along with the customs and is extensively screened. After some consultation Bianca arranges that we only have to pay the vignette and not a fine, pooh that was just sweating. We say to each other it is never boring with us !!
A moment later I receive a phone call with the news that a colleague has died unexpectedly. What grief brings up but I also realize that this was a really special holiday. We drive further and further away from Italy and are getting closer to home. With a heart full of beautiful memories.
For this trip Bianca and I made a joint spotify playlist with 295 songs. Our song of this holiday is BAD by DAVID GUETTA !! When we hear this we are both in Italy again.
Bianca, friendships sometimes arise unexpectedly and you experience amazing and most funny things together. Thank you for who you are and that we have been able to experience this wonderful cycle holiday together.