July 31, 2018

Dolomites 2018 #1 - Canazei, Sellaronda Ultratrail, Sella Pass

Canazei was a great choice for our first stop of the trip. Its a small (but not too small) town near Sella Pass, with tons of hiking and via ferrata options nearby. Passo Sella and the Val Gardena area is probably the most beautiful area in the Dolomites, and I'd be willing to argue about that for hours (mainly so I could just talk about it for hours).

Back in January we realized the Sellaronda Ultratrail was happening the day after we arrived. The course looked beautiful - a perfect circumnavigation around the Sella Massif, over four mountain passes and through four amazing little towns. So we signed up thinking it would motivate us (as the skiing was bad at that time). Then the skiing got good and we kinda forgot about it for several months. Around the beginning of June we got more serious about training and stung together six pretty good weeks to get ready for Sellaronda (not an easy course: 38 miles with 12,000 feet of climbing). It all came together nicely - a thunderstorm pushed the start back from 5am to 5:30am and then we had a wonderful day for the race. I finished in 12th place and Andrea took 3rd in what she says was her first and last ultra race! We both did a good job with the 12,000 feet of uphill and got demolished on the 12,000 feet of corresponding downhill.

The day after the race we needed to take it easy, but wanted to go back to Passo Sella and take in the views at a slower pace. We drive up and wandered around very slowly for a couple hours, stopping to sit and eat every 5 minutes. In the afternoon we rented bikes for a few hours and cruised around the valley bike paths, then sat out in the town square while the world cup final was broadcast (the locals were not rooting for France!).

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