Stelvio questions.

CrescentCrescent Posts: 1,133
edited September 2019 in Tour & expedition
I'm heading to Bormio in July and looking to do Stelvio and Gavia at least, both from Bormio. In terms of navigation they both look fairly straightforward.I have no knowledge of the area other than a glance through Google maps but it's looking like climbing the Stelvio from Prato would require me to cycle over from Bormio first - not sure I'll have the time or legs to do both ascents in one rides so that may be a non-starter. As an alternative, is it relatively straightforward entering Switzerland to do the Umbrail pass? I'm assuming there is border control etc? Thanks for any advice. Cheers.
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Edit - "Unless it's a BMX"
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  • dish_dashdish_dash Posts: 4,688
    edited April 2019
    Bormio's a great base.

    Yes, to cycle Stelvio from Prato needs you to go over it first from Bormio. I've done a full day trip of up the Stelvio to the Umbrail (which is a couple of km short of the top of the Stelvio) headed down into Switzerland, cycle along the flat for a bit to Prato, had some lunch and come back up the photogenic side. It's pretty straightforward.

    Switzerland is in the Schengen area, so there was no noticeable border controls.

    Did a similar day with the Gavia - up over from Bormio and down the other side for lunch and then up over it again back to Bormio. As an alternative, you can tie in the Mortirolo and make a loop of it. Either down the valley to Bormio, over the Mortirolo and then up the Gavia, or Gavia first then the Mortirolo and back to Bormio. The former is the more classic ascent of the Mortirolo I believe (and bloody hard)!

    The cycle up to Lago di Cancano is also worth considering.
  • meursaultmeursault Posts: 1,476
    I'm also going in July.

    Our plan is

    Bormio - Stelvio - Prato - Stelvio - Bormio.

    https://www.cyclinglocations.com/bormio-stelvio-prato-stelvio-bormio/

    We did look at Swiss side, but apparently the iconic 48 hairpins are from Prato.

    Second day we are planning easy coffee shop ride somewhere scenic. Possibly the suggested Laghi di Cancano, Grazie.
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

    Voltaire
  • svettysvetty Posts: 1,903
    Going in June.....
    FFS! Harden up and grow a pair :D
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 7,630
    Worth it.

    epPBkHP.jpg
    and then the next thing you know
  • CrescentCrescent Posts: 1,133
    Hmmmmm, sounds like the Prato side is a must do. Might need to look at doing a "day out" and cover both sides then. Negotiations required with the minister for home affairs. Thanks for the replies. Any other suggestions?
    Ribble Gran Fondo
    Bianchi Impulso
    BMC Teammachine

    “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. “ ~H.G. Wells
    Edit - "Unless it's a BMX"
  • Captain FagorCaptain Fagor Posts: 1,768
    Route (Distance, Climbing)
    Bormio - Bormio 2000 - Bormio (12 miles, 725m)
    Bormio - Pradele - Valle di Fraele - Lake Cancano - Pradelle - Bormio (22 miles, 850m)
    Bormio - Stelvio - Bormio (28 miles, 1525m)
    Bormio - Passo Gavia - Bormio (32 miles, 1450m)
    Bormio - Stelvio - Bormio - Bormio 2000 – Bormio (41 miles, 2250m)
    Bormio - Stelvio - Prato allo Stelvio - Stelvio - Bormio (60 miles, 3350m)
    Bormio - Umbrail - Santa Maria - Prato - Stelvio - Bormio (64 miles, 3150m)
    Bormio - Passo di Foscagno - Passo d'Eira - Livigno - Punte del Gallo - Punt la Drossa - Ofenpass - Santa Maria - Umbrail Pass - Stelvio - Bormio (71 miles, 3150m)
    Bormio - Mazzo - Mortirolo - Ponte di Legno - Passo Gavia – Bormio (72 miles, 3100m)
    Bormio - Tirano - Berninapass - Passo d'Eira - Passo di Foscagno - Bormio (83 miles, 2975m)
  • CrescentCrescent Posts: 1,133
    That's really helpful. Thanks for taking the time to post the info. Cheers.
    Ribble Gran Fondo
    Bianchi Impulso
    BMC Teammachine

    “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. “ ~H.G. Wells
    Edit - "Unless it's a BMX"
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 7,630
    And don't forget your lights. There's one tunnel on the Bormio side that was pitch dark when I rode down 2 years ago and had a bend in it. I almost had AG2R trousers.
    and then the next thing you know
  • CrescentCrescent Posts: 1,133
    Lights and brown shorts on my list. :shock:
    Ribble Gran Fondo
    Bianchi Impulso
    BMC Teammachine

    “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. “ ~H.G. Wells
    Edit - "Unless it's a BMX"
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 694
    meursault wrote:
    I'm also going in July.

    Our plan is

    Bormio - Stelvio - Prato - Stelvio - Bormio.

    https://www.cyclinglocations.com/bormio-stelvio-prato-stelvio-bormio/

    We did look at Swiss side, but apparently the iconic 48 hairpins are from Prato.

    Second day we are planning easy coffee shop ride somewhere scenic. Possibly the suggested Laghi di Cancano, Grazie.

    The Umbrail descent apparently is stunning, according to friends who have done Bormio - Stelvio - Umbrail - Prato - Stelvio - Bormio. It will take a bit longer than going straight down to Prato and back up again, but I think it is worth it.

    I'm going at the end of August for Stelvio day, when the road is shut to cars, can't wait. Tried to do it two years ago, but the weather forecast was rain/sleet for two weeks before, and on the day it was snowing they stopped people at Trafoi, which is about a third of the way up from Prato.

    I want to do the full loop but I think the missus will divorce me if I do! It looks like 6-7 hours riding time for me, so with a couple of stops it's going to be 8 or more hours, and we have to drive back towards Blighty that day.
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 694
    Route (Distance, Climbing)
    Bormio - Bormio 2000 - Bormio (12 miles, 725m)
    Bormio - Pradele - Valle di Fraele - Lake Cancano - Pradelle - Bormio (22 miles, 850m)
    Bormio - Stelvio - Bormio (28 miles, 1525m)
    Bormio - Passo Gavia - Bormio (32 miles, 1450m)
    Bormio - Stelvio - Bormio - Bormio 2000 – Bormio (41 miles, 2250m)
    Bormio - Stelvio - Prato allo Stelvio - Stelvio - Bormio (60 miles, 3350m)
    Bormio - Umbrail - Santa Maria - Prato - Stelvio - Bormio (64 miles, 3150m)
    Bormio - Passo di Foscagno - Passo d'Eira - Livigno - Punte del Gallo - Punt la Drossa - Ofenpass - Santa Maria - Umbrail Pass - Stelvio - Bormio (71 miles, 3150m)
    Bormio - Mazzo - Mortirolo - Ponte di Legno - Passo Gavia – Bormio (72 miles, 3100m)
    Bormio - Tirano - Berninapass - Passo d'Eira - Passo di Foscagno - Bormio (83 miles, 2975m)

    I know it is a hard question to answer, but any idea how long to ride Bormio - Stelvio - Bormio? And the full loop via Umbrail and Prato?
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 694
    davep1 wrote:
    meursault wrote:
    I'm also going in July.

    Our plan is

    Bormio - Stelvio - Prato - Stelvio - Bormio.

    https://www.cyclinglocations.com/bormio-stelvio-prato-stelvio-bormio/

    We did look at Swiss side, but apparently the iconic 48 hairpins are from Prato.

    Second day we are planning easy coffee shop ride somewhere scenic. Possibly the suggested Laghi di Cancano, Grazie.

    The Umbrail descent apparently is stunning, according to friends who have done Bormio - Stelvio - Umbrail - Prato - Stelvio - Bormio. It will take a bit longer than going straight down to Prato and back up again, but I think it is worth it. I think part of the Umbrail road is gravel, but it is Swiss gravel so probably nicer than most UK tarmac.

    I'm going at the end of August for Stelvio day, when the road is shut to cars, can't wait. Tried to do it two years ago, but the weather forecast was rain/sleet for two weeks before, and on the day it was snowing they stopped people at Trafoi, which is about a third of the way up from Prato.

    I want to do the full loop but I think the missus will divorce me if I do! It looks like 6-7 hours riding time for me, so with a couple of stops it's going to be 8 or more hours, and we have to drive back towards Blighty that day.
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 694
    meursault wrote:
    I'm also going in July.

    Our plan is

    Bormio - Stelvio - Prato - Stelvio - Bormio.

    https://www.cyclinglocations.com/bormio-stelvio-prato-stelvio-bormio/

    We did look at Swiss side, but apparently the iconic 48 hairpins are from Prato.

    Second day we are planning easy coffee shop ride somewhere scenic. Possibly the suggested Laghi di Cancano, Grazie.

    I've read that if you only do one side, do the Prato side, but the Bormio climb is still pretty impressive.
  • meursaultmeursault Posts: 1,476
    davep1 wrote:
    Route (Distance, Climbing)
    Bormio - Bormio 2000 - Bormio (12 miles, 725m)
    Bormio - Pradele - Valle di Fraele - Lake Cancano - Pradelle - Bormio (22 miles, 850m)
    Bormio - Stelvio - Bormio (28 miles, 1525m)
    Bormio - Passo Gavia - Bormio (32 miles, 1450m)
    Bormio - Stelvio - Bormio - Bormio 2000 – Bormio (41 miles, 2250m)
    Bormio - Stelvio - Prato allo Stelvio - Stelvio - Bormio (60 miles, 3350m)
    Bormio - Umbrail - Santa Maria - Prato - Stelvio - Bormio (64 miles, 3150m)
    Bormio - Passo di Foscagno - Passo d'Eira - Livigno - Punte del Gallo - Punt la Drossa - Ofenpass - Santa Maria - Umbrail Pass - Stelvio - Bormio (71 miles, 3150m)
    Bormio - Mazzo - Mortirolo - Ponte di Legno - Passo Gavia – Bormio (72 miles, 3100m)
    Bormio - Tirano - Berninapass - Passo d'Eira - Passo di Foscagno - Bormio (83 miles, 2975m)

    I know it is a hard question to answer, but any idea how long to ride Bormio - Stelvio - Bormio? And the full loop via Umbrail and Prato?

    You could have a look on Strava for average times for ascents. Comparing it to Ventoux (Similar gradients and elevation) I'm guessing 2.5 hours ascent for average fitness.
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

    Voltaire
  • Captain FagorCaptain Fagor Posts: 1,768
    The Umbrail - Stelvio loop involved 5.5 hrs of riding excl stops. I was on day 8 of a 10 day solo holiday based in Bormio, so was pretty goosed going up Stelvio from Prato. Total time including loads bakery in Prato and loads of photo stops was 7 hours. Would recommend the loop route in preference to the "over and back" Bormio - Prato Bormio route, albeit the latter involves more climbing.

    I have only ever ridden Bormio - Stelvio - Bormio on a recovery day. Ride time would be about 3 hours for the return journey, but it's the taking of photos that adds to your time! The scenery is lovely, as are a lot of the cars.
  • dish_dashdish_dash Posts: 4,688
    Crescent wrote:
    Hmmmmm, sounds like the Prato side is a must do. Might need to look at doing a "day out" and cover both sides then. Negotiations required with the minister for home affairs. Thanks for the replies. Any other suggestions?

    You could go drive over to Prato all together for lunch and ride back. Basically what I did on one occasion.

    If it helps with negotiations, there is a cracking thermal spa half way up the Stelvio....
  • CrescentCrescent Posts: 1,133
    dish_dash wrote:
    If it helps with negotiations, there is a cracking thermal spa half way up the Stelvio....

    My wife has alerted me to the Spa already :D Are there any other non-cycling attractions in the area? We are visiting primarily to allow me to tick the Stelvio off my "to do" list but we do need other things to do as well. I usually go out cycling in the morning and then we do a bit of touring around in the afternoon/evening.
    Ribble Gran Fondo
    Bianchi Impulso
    BMC Teammachine

    “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. “ ~H.G. Wells
    Edit - "Unless it's a BMX"
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 694
    The Umbrail - Stelvio loop involved 5.5 hrs of riding excl stops. I was on day 8 of a 10 day solo holiday based in Bormio, so was pretty goosed going up Stelvio from Prato. Total time including loads bakery in Prato and loads of photo stops was 7 hours. Would recommend the loop route in preference to the "over and back" Bormio - Prato Bormio route, albeit the latter involves more climbing.

    I have only ever ridden Bormio - Stelvio - Bormio on a recovery day. Ride time would be about 3 hours for the return journey, but it's the taking of photos that adds to your time! The scenery is lovely, as are a lot of the cars.
    Cheers! I'll be taking ALOT of photos but the road will be closed to traffic that day :mrgreen: I can get away with 3 hours for the one climb, but I think going down Umbrail and back up from Prato will be at least 7 hours... Unless I get some serious training done in the next few months...
  • durhamwaspdurhamwasp Posts: 1,202
    Personally I prefer the Bormio climb, has a bit of everything.

    Great place Bormio, you'll love it!
    http://www.snookcycling.wordpress.com - Reports on Cingles du Mont Ventoux, Alpe D'Huez, Galibier, Izoard, Tourmalet, Paris-Roubaix Sportive & Tour of Flanders Sportive, Amstel Gold Xperience, Vosges, C2C, WOTR routes....
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 694
    durhamwasp wrote:
    Personally I prefer the Bormio climb, has a bit of everything.

    Great place Bormio, you'll love it!

    That's good news! I feel like I have to do the full loop, as I might never get back to the area - the missus has already brought up repeatedly the failed attempt in 2017 so I am praying the weather gods are on my side. I have booked the Channel Tunnel for around 2 pm on the Sunday so we need to get up to somewhere around Saarbrucken or Luxembourg after I have ridden the Stelvio...
  • durhamwaspdurhamwasp Posts: 1,202
    We did a pretty direct and short trip there last summer, wrote about it here. https://snookcycling.wordpress.com/stelvio/

    Previous to that, we went there as a family and loved the place. Done the Bormio side twice and Prato once and definitely prefer Bormio. Bucket list destination.
    http://www.snookcycling.wordpress.com - Reports on Cingles du Mont Ventoux, Alpe D'Huez, Galibier, Izoard, Tourmalet, Paris-Roubaix Sportive & Tour of Flanders Sportive, Amstel Gold Xperience, Vosges, C2C, WOTR routes....
  • CrescentCrescent Posts: 1,133
    durhamwasp wrote:
    We did a pretty direct and short trip there last summer, wrote about it here. https://snookcycling.wordpress.com/stelvio/

    Previous to that, we went there as a family and loved the place. Done the Bormio side twice and Prato once and definitely prefer Bormio. Bucket list destination.

    Good info in your write up, thanks for posting the link. Cheers.

    Getting excited about our trip now. New bike box purchased, Bianchi all serviced and new 13-29 cassette purchased as I don't fancy trying it on the original 11-25. Managed to shed my winter coat over the last few months and get my weight down from 80kgs to 77kgs (77kg is the point at which my wife tells me I look ill, so don't like going much below this). Plenty of local climbing planned between now and July. Can't wait 8)
    Ribble Gran Fondo
    Bianchi Impulso
    BMC Teammachine

    “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. “ ~H.G. Wells
    Edit - "Unless it's a BMX"
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 694
    durhamwasp wrote:
    We did a pretty direct and short trip there last summer, wrote about it here. https://snookcycling.wordpress.com/stelvio/

    Previous to that, we went there as a family and loved the place. Done the Bormio side twice and Prato once and definitely prefer Bormio. Bucket list destination.

    Great write up! Can I pick your brains about the Eurostar tunnel/train thing you got to Livigno? I think I will be driving back that way after the Stelvio, do you have to take the train, or is there a road? Should I book it? The Stelvio pass will be closed on the day, so we have to go back either via Livigno or St Moritz...
  • meursaultmeursault Posts: 1,476
    Excellent account, thanks for posting.
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

    Voltaire
  • durhamwaspdurhamwasp Posts: 1,202
    davep1 wrote:
    durhamwasp wrote:
    We did a pretty direct and short trip there last summer, wrote about it here. https://snookcycling.wordpress.com/stelvio/

    Previous to that, we went there as a family and loved the place. Done the Bormio side twice and Prato once and definitely prefer Bormio. Bucket list destination.

    Great write up! Can I pick your brains about the Eurostar tunnel/train thing you got to Livigno? I think I will be driving back that way after the Stelvio, do you have to take the train, or is there a road? Should I book it? The Stelvio pass will be closed on the day, so we have to go back either via Livigno or St Moritz...

    No need to book, its constantly running, just turn up, pay and drive on to the train. Think the train journey was max 15 mins.
    Livigno was definitely the way to go, else you can drive via Bernina and Julier passes - beautiful roads, but seem decent extra miles!
    http://www.snookcycling.wordpress.com - Reports on Cingles du Mont Ventoux, Alpe D'Huez, Galibier, Izoard, Tourmalet, Paris-Roubaix Sportive & Tour of Flanders Sportive, Amstel Gold Xperience, Vosges, C2C, WOTR routes....
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 694
    durhamwasp wrote:
    davep1 wrote:
    durhamwasp wrote:
    We did a pretty direct and short trip there last summer, wrote about it here. https://snookcycling.wordpress.com/stelvio/

    Previous to that, we went there as a family and loved the place. Done the Bormio side twice and Prato once and definitely prefer Bormio. Bucket list destination.

    Great write up! Can I pick your brains about the Eurostar tunnel/train thing you got to Livigno? I think I will be driving back that way after the Stelvio, do you have to take the train, or is there a road? Should I book it? The Stelvio pass will be closed on the day, so we have to go back either via Livigno or St Moritz...

    No need to book, its constantly running, just turn up, pay and drive on to the train. Think the train journey was max 15 mins.
    Livigno was definitely the way to go, else you can drive via Bernina and Julier passes - beautiful roads, but seem decent extra miles!

    Thanks for that! Will check out the alternatives, I think we'll be pushed for time so probably keep it to the quickest route.
  • rc856rc856 Posts: 1,133
    Hi folks,

    I was wondering if there’s any huge advantage to booking a trip through the likes of Sportive Breaks etc?
    From what I can gather, it seems easy enough to book accommodation in Bormio and get there and the Stelvio
    etc are easy to get to from Bormio.
    We’re not too bothered about having a guide as we’ll plod along at our own pace.

    Am I missing anything?

    I might have to ride non Campag for the first time in years to get rent a Pinarello with DA, and more importantly,
    a 32t cassette :D

    Thanks
  • gethincerigethinceri Posts: 1,004
    I'm doing the Sporting Breaks "Stelvio Weekender" in September, with a bunch of mates.
    I have fitted a Campag 11-32.
  • CrescentCrescent Posts: 1,133
    edited August 2019
    I'm in Bormio at the moment (heading home tomorrow) and have done the Stelvio and Gavia on my own bike with 34 chainring and 29 cassette (as per my earlier post, a 25 cassette did not seem suitable and I'm glad I changed it for the 29). I'm not the greatest climber in the world, and I was on an aluminium Bianchi, so not the lightest bike either, but both climbs were very manageable in just a shade over 2 hours for me - not easy by any means but not as difficult as I imagined. It's a few years ago now but I remember Ventoux being harder and more relentless albeit it's actually shorter than both. They are both amazing climbs - Stelvio is dramatic but Gavia is "prettier", I think. Unless you wanted to do it as part of a bigger group then I don't think there is any need for organised guides as both are well signposted from Bormio and easy to navigate - be warned though, there is little warm up, you are basically straight into the climbing from Bormio town centre. Best avoid both these climbs on the weekend as it seemed like a procession of cars and motorbikes passing through Bormio going to both roads on Saturday and Sunday. If you have time then Lake Cancano is about an hour's ride from Bormio and just beautiful with all the hairpins you could wish for. Enjoy 8)

    Additional info : Bormio is lovely, very picturesque and clean. The spa is worth a visit (Bagni Vecchi) just a few kms outside Bormio on the Stelvio pass - very relaxing and I even had a leg massage which was superb. Plenty of restaurants and bars. One minor complaint was that there seemed to be a lot of flies around - don't know why but it seemed impossible to sit anywhere without having half a dozen flies landing on you.
    Ribble Gran Fondo
    Bianchi Impulso
    BMC Teammachine

    “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. “ ~H.G. Wells
    Edit - "Unless it's a BMX"
  • meursaultmeursault Posts: 1,476
    Also just returned from Bormio.

    Had a great weekend in a truly iconic location. I found the climb from Bormio harder than Ventoux. I would go as far as one Passo di Stelvio equals two Ventoux ascents! Maybe I was fitter/lighter last year, but I think I did roughly the same amount of training. From what I read and local information, they say the average gradient is about 6% It could well be, due to some short (too short) false flats etc. but in reality most of the climb is 9-11% and the end is pretty steep too. I have a heart rate monitor and wanted to keep in the three zone to conserve some energy, so I knew I would make the summit, but I was slow and way down the Strava pages. We rode on the Saturday and there are so many motorbikes it almost ruins the day. Riding non weekend if you can is good advice. Same as Ventoux, I realise the mountain is for everybody, but the noise and way they race is inconsiderate. Most car drivers patient and courteous. It's busy at the top but plenty of choice for food and drink and more beautiful views. Excellent descent, but the bikes we hired Trek Domanes, were not that good. Didn't feel stable to really push the speed, we were not impressed with them. be careful of the damp patches in the tunnels too. Overall excellent trip, and created the sort of memories money can't buy, highly recommended.
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

    Voltaire
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