Shifting up and down the cassette in search of an ideal gear — it’s a clear sign that your legs are not having a good day. But the bike responds incredibly, and carries with it a hard-won momentum like a gyroscope as each incline straightens..
The climbs are filled with endless “tornanti,” Italian for “switchbacks.” Each is numbered, but in typical Italian fashion, they count up rather than down, therefore useless, but beautiful.
There are cars and motorbikes everywhere, but give you space to suffer as a hero. With noise in your ears, you play mind games and you are leading Giro d’Italia, all of a sudden. The pain in your legs is erased as you push harder. You shift from 34×29 to 34×26 — pathetic.
Descending. Countless bends. A new rhythm to be discovered. You hardly meet a straight line longer than a few hundred meters. Each turn is signalled in advance, in time to imagine a perfect trajectory.
The mountains shaped by millennia are the ultimate jury. They demand confidence, only confidence, punishing every blunder or your lack of focus. Show a glimpse of fear, and the descents will turn into a nightmare. In the Dolomites, fortune favors the bold.
Here the roads have their own texture — rough. It’s not without reason, but it will sap your precious energy. Endless vibrations. Death by a thousand cuts. The steel frame just glides across and erases every imperfection created by time.
The Dolomites are a brutal experience. With absurd scenery and ridiculous terrain, it’s almost surreal. They leave a mark. Forever.
I want to go back.
Martin Smejkal — Instagram — Strava