Climbing the Stelvio by bike

If there is a climb that every cyclist must have done once then it's the Stelvio. The Stelvio is 'the special one' (no, it does not resemble José Mourinho). Everyone who has seen the hairpin bends leading to the top has never forgotten this sight again. Enormously impressive. For some it's a dream, for the others a nightmare. But everybody is very happy once they reach the top. Usually after a long fight, because it doesn't matter how you ride it, fast or slow, you will be in pain! But isn't that a bit of what we are looking for as cyclists?

Stelvio
The hairpin turns of the Stelvio

The climb begins easy, and usually very hot in the village of Prato. Little steep, but even then the first few miles do not dive below 5 percent, and the heat does not make it easier. Up to the avalanche gallery,and then the gradient goes up. By then, you still have another 13 miles (20km) to climb.

We are now in the woods, depending on the season, the forest provides shelter from the sun, or just holds that huge heat, it's just another point of view. The hairpin curves follow each other here at a rapid pace. They have to, because there are 48 (!) of them in this monster of a climb. Driving through some beautiful mountain villages, you can find fountains where you can refill your water bottles.

Stelvio
Climbing the Stelvio

In the woods you already win a lot of altitude, but the hardest part still has to come, because those are the latest famous hairpin curves. These last miles to the top are steep, and also mentally very hard. With only 4 miles to go, at the Hotel Sotto Stelvio, you can see the summit. But the these last miles are hard, because you have to do it with a lot less oxygen due to the altitude.

The fantastic view of the Ortler mountain range can bring some relief. If you do not feel like looking at these mountains you will definitely feel the cold that comes from the glaciers. On warm summer days, it's cool, but on colder days, it can be just too cold for a tired body. Regularly it even snows on this mountain road in the summer months. Those who still feel good will enjoy climbing in these last turns. For all others it will be a hell until ...

Stelvio
The hairpin turns of the Stelvio

... you get on the pass. Here is the hustle and bustle of bikers, cyclists, shops, family members of cyclists and other tourists. You are no longer alone. There is even a stage where you can shoot some pictures after your heroical climb. One thing may be clear, you're never alone on Stelvio.

Stelvio
The Stelvio pass

Stelvio
The Stelvio height profile