Our next destination was the town of Steinegg. A bit more culture here. Suedtirol is part of Italy but the vast majority of its population speaks German. Germans are pragmatists and when the Italian government asked that each town have a German and Italian name, the inhabitants of Steinegg had to think hard about this particular request as no-one in the town spoke Italian at the time.
That is why every town in South Tyrol has a German and Italian name. Hence Bruneck/Brunico or Bozen/Bolzano. And Steinegg/Collapietra (which is a name the people of Steinegg basically made up on the spot). To complicate matters, there are some places with three placenames; Italian, Ladin and Suedtirol German. A large number of South Tyroleans, particularly those in the hospitality industry speak German, Italian and English with many also throwing in another language, putting many of us North Americans to shame.
It turns out that many of the Bikehotel Suedtirol owners are good friends. Alex Resch of Goldene Krone does an annual bike trip with Kurt Resch (no relation) who owns Hotel Steineggerhoff, our next location to visit. Alex wanted to visit with Kurt so we got another lift from Brixen to Hotel Steineggerhof 43km away. A train to Bolzano and cab will take you to the hotel if you don`t have a car.
At the hotel we met Daniel Schaefer, a professional biker who is retained by Bikehotels Suedtirol as an ambassador who was to ride with us for the next four days; Dan is a super stylish rider and provided many nice photo poseur shots! Also joining us for our rides were Kurt Resch and Manfred Stromberg, another professional rider who was vacationing with his girlfriend Franziska Schmid.
When researching the trip beforehand we had wondered how such a small town (about 500 people) could support or attract enough guests for a medium sized (40 rooms) hotel. It turns out that not only is the hotel's hospitality excellent (this was true of all the Bike Hotels) but its natural surroundings are fantastic; Steinegg is located pretty much in the middle of the Rosengarten and Latemar sub-ranges of the Dolomites. Not only is the location wonderful, Kurt is a masterful marketer, collaborating with many professional movie and photo bike crews. You will have seen the work of Colin Stewart, Tom Malecha, EVOC and Liteville athletes among others with this region of the Dolomites in the background. ________________________________________________________________________________________________
Tuesday came bright and sunny. Taxis and shuttle vehicles drove us 10kms to start our ride through the lower trails of Latemar
Little cultural interlude. A breed of horse native to Sud Tirol is the Haflinger. Bred for the mountains in the 19th century it is a sturdy horse of a distinct chestnut colour. Its variety now is due to cross breeding.
Starting at Nova Levante our ride started with the Latemarumrundung then continued with the Murmeltiertrail alpine trail in the Latemar-Rosengarten resort area . The first bit of the ride involved a gentle climb towards Carezza Pass and then continuing on to Moena.
During a heated doubletrack descent to Moena things went horribly wrong for Lee. According to him "bullshit Southern California 29er tires" did not give good traction on some slippery fast sections and suddenly our photographer/videographer was out with a dislocated shoulder. After sending him home in a cab we continued down the trail and then on a bike path to the Latemar Gondola.
The remainder of the ride followed Wanderweg 22 (nice name guys) which was stupendously scenic. Trail 22 ended up back descending to Bewallerhof. We then followed singletrack, doubletrack and roads back to Nova Levante. ________________________________________________________________________________________________
Remaining photos are by Manfred Stromberg, Kurt Resch or Sharon Bader
Lee is not impressed.
We continued riding.
The Latemar gondola gives you 1100m of vertical.
Found some cool cairns on the side of the trail where the trail zipped by.
We spent some of our gondola-assisted vertical on trail 22 which is a Wanderweg but is legal to bike. Remember that hikers have right of way.
We stopped at Kurt`s mother in law`s house. The house (not Kurt's mum) is about 400 years old. She generously fed us pasta.
In another cultural interlude and more local knowledge you are very unlikely to get from a guidebook here is another vignette. We continued on and came to Lago Di Carezza – A stone mermaid sits on the bank of this Lake. She used to be real until she disappeared after a sorcerer tried to capture her by creating a rainbow over the lake to lure her to him. She saw him and disappeared. He then crushed the rainbow into the lake creating the vivid colours. Really – read about it here!
We then stopped by this bench which was built by the family of a man after he died who like to walk here. They left a little schnapps stash for him if he comes back.
We continue on the path with the Dolomites ever present. The path traverses downhill back to the hotel
We had planned to also ride the next day but it poured rain so it gave us an uncharacteristic day off to enjoy the hotel and its comforts, and for Lee's arm to turn an impressive shade of purple, blue and red (no pictures as this is a family site). Looking at the map, at the many videos and pictures of the area and having the bike guide resources of Kurt Resch you could easily spend a week riding in this area.
A bit of background on the hotel. Previously it was a big old house until Kurt Resch converted into a hotel and created an excuse for himself to invite people to this area so he can spend his time biking and hiking! Hmmmm... smart guy. It is also a BikeHotel SudTirol. You can find more information on their bike programs here. ________________________________________________________________________________________________
Food of the Hotel Steineggerhof.
View from our balcony. Lee chilled here eating pastries and painkillers while he waited for us to get back from our ride.
(Click on the links to bring the maps up full-page. You can download GPS also if you want to replicate the loops) ________________________________________________________________________________________________
Tues Ride – Dolomites – Rosengarten/Latemar
Length: 50 km Duration: 8 hours, 39 minutes, 46 seconds Vertical up: 1936.5 m (836 m Climbing) Vertical down: 2407.6 m Average Speed: 5.8 km/h