Our annual 2017 Italy FinKraft Cycling Camp:
While no two FinKraft Italy Camps are alike, the general outline of each follows a similar formula. Each year our travels take us to the northern regions of Italy—close to the Dolimites—where we will be riding on legendary routes that the Giro d’Italia and other classic road races such as the Giro di Lombardy have traversed. Given that the camp takes place in May—the same time as the Giro d’Italia—we make it a goal each year to watch and ride at least one stage of that year’s route. In years past, this has included iconic climbs such as the Stelvio,Passo di Gavia and Mortirolo. Additional events in years past have included trips to the DeRosa and Bianchi bike factories.
To enjoy and be able to complete this camp, I would recommend all riders to be a Cat 3-4 level at a minimum, with a good fitness base and bike handling skills , it is not required to be a racer though . Recommended gearing would be a compact crank-set or at least a 27-28 cassette. Total riding time will be at least 32 -35 hours with some extremely challenging climbs and narrow roads. Please do not let these facts scare you though. It is not a race and you will have the ride of your life and a trip that you will never forget.
Those who have been to our FinKraft Cycling Camps know that there are few places that rival the uniqueness of Italy. With beautiful scenery, magnificent roads, incredible food, and a well-established bicycle culture Italy is an ideal location to host a cycling camp. Here at FinKraft we hope you can join us for this unique experience that we promise you will never forget. Our annual Finkraft Italy Cycling Camp is always dedicate to my dear friend Paolo Zenoni.
-Spouses and non-riders are welcome, but unfortunately there will not be any organized program for non-riders. Room and board will be included for an additional cost of $1,000.00 per non-rider.
-Price will include transportation to and from the Milan airport, hotel with breakfast, dinner and complementary snacks, sports drinks for our rides and many other daily logistics. All you have to worry about is eat, sleep and ride – enjoy the experience .
-Also included is a special Italy FinKraft cycling kit. High end rental bikes are usually available for this camp at about 100-120 euro for the 9 days we are there. You would need to provide sizing and measurements prior to departure, but his option makes travel a lot easier.
NOTE: Air fare , lunches on the road each day ( about 10 euro/day) , a few dinners while in the mountains and alcoholic beverages are NOT INCLUDED. We do not ride or spend any time in touristy areas , so very few places to buy souvenirs which means not a whole lot spending money needed
Friday (May 19th): Depart USA.
Saturday: Arrive at the Malpensa ( MXP ONLY) airport in Milan the next morning between 8.00-10.00 am. Bus transfer to the hotel, note only one pick up trip .The location of our base hotel Cascina Belvedi is right in the hearth of the perfect cycling mecca where many pros choose to live and train, we could stay here the whole week and it would be a beautiful different route to ride every day. When we get to the hotel we will have lunch and a short nap or just relax a little. At around 1.00-2.00 pm either pick up bikes from Salvi Bikestore or assemble our own if rentals are not available or not your choice followed by a short and easy ride in the valley short ride leaving 3.30-4.00 pm 20-25 miles, just to shake the legs out after travel
Dinner at Cascina Belvedi , I have been waiting for this for a whole year now -;) Go to bed at a normal time to get on Italy time schedule.
Sunday: On May 21st stage 15 finishes right in Bergamo to honor Felice Gimondi. It is the 100th anniversary of the Giro this year and we will watch it on the climb after they pass our bike store Salvi in Zongo. A couple of miles away from our base hotel Cascina Belvedi. This Giro Day and this route is for sure one of my most favorite rides/routes right out of the Hotel. This was Paolo’s training grounds as well and where he grew up and lived. This year we will start off with Valcava ( a beast of a climb. We do not always get to do this one, but this year you are lucky) and then head over to Passo Bura, where we will make our traditional stop at our friend Tulia’s coffee shop for some cake. Then via Talleggio valley ( where they make a famous cheese ) to San Giovanni Bianco, just North of the San Pellegrino the water company you all know . We are now in Brembo Valley. Little more climbing to Dossena and then via Serina along the ridge with a very beautiful view of the valley. We will end up in Selvino where we will watch the Giro come by late this afternoon .
Monday: Transfer stage towards the Dolomites and Valtalina Valley . We will now have a follow van with our luggage, spear wheels and occasional sticky bottles -;) One big climb via Passo San Marco to Morbegno – Sondrio and Teglio into Terrano. We will stay the night here and have dinner in town. The Giro will start here on Wednesday morning and by the way a very common start/ finish town for the Giro every year. About 80 miles, but also weather depending of course, a shorter less hilly route to this same point is also possible. ( less scenic ) This will be an all day ride with a few stops of course, but a very cool route.
Tuesday: Giro Stage Day. We will depart early and our goal is to make it up Stelvio from the Bormio side where the finish of stage 16 actually will be . A pretty nice climb and I am sure you have heard about this one . A perfect spot to watch near the top and once they pass we will move towards the Swiss side. Passo Umbriale where they will come back up. How cool will this be to see the race twice in one day . Plenty of good spots to watch here and to set up our FinKraft Tifosi. I will know the exact time schedule once we get closer to date. Today’s ride will only be about 50-60 miles, but one big uphill and of course one long crazy down hill . We will descend into Switzerland and spend Tuesday night on the Swiss side.
Wednesday:Passo dello Stelvio We will either be heading North/west towards Livigno – back to Bormio or North/east towards Prato , this all depends if Passo Gavia is open. The alternative route is to climb up Stevio from The Prato side. I am sure you have seen many pictures in magazines of this side , switch back after switch back – about 2 hours of climbing. Probably one of the most famous climbs in the world. Back down on the other side into Bormio again. . This is the most scenic way up of all of 3 of them on Stelvio. If everything goes as planned though we would go via Livigno to Bormio and up and over Passo Gavia, another big one and just as famous. From the Bormio side the climb is a little gentler, but still epic. Very steep going down so we need to be super careful and take our time. Ponte di Legno is the town at the bottom on the other side and we will ride about 10 miles from there to Edolo which will be our Wednesday night stay. Hilly day no matter what route we take and super scenic .Today’s mileage again about 70-80 miles and we will end up in Edolo this Wed night no matter what . Mortirolo might been thrown into the mix today too depending on the route and weather. A big day , so we will have some stories to tell tonight over dinner I am sure .
Thursday: Time to head back towards Bergamo and Cascina Belvedi. A little less known climb called Passo Vivione , but very beautiful and challenging as well . Next up Presolana and then onto Passo Zambla Alta , descending into the same roads were we were this passed Sunday watching the Giro stage finishing in Bergamo. One final climb ( 1.5K ) to our base hotel Cascina Belvedi. More Cassanchelli and Tiramisu tonight.
Friday: Bergamo. Depending on the weather again of course, but most likely a rest day /Coffee Shop ride. Relax and recovery Unfortunately our Giro d’Italia is almost over. We might do a short local ride to Zita Alta, the old walled city of Bergamo. It will be good day to spin your legs and keep moving, but nothing long today ( unless rain in the forecast for tomorrow -;)) ….. a Bike Factory visit in the afternoon could also be possible . It will be nice to break things up and chill for a day – we still have two more days to go. Dinner at Pizza Millennium!
Saturday: Weather depending of course, if all systems are go we will do our famous Madonna di Ghisallo ride which mounts to be about 100 miles.We will include of course Muro Sormano again ( also featured in the Il’ Lombardia race ) and a beautiful and scenic route around Lake Como to Bellagio. Plenty of photo opportunities here and lunch at the Madonna di Ghisallo by the cycling museum and church. Great ride and a few small hills along the way -;)
Sunday: If the weather is still on our side we will a ride around Lago di Iseo and on the way back climb Passo Ganda into Selvino once again descend back down to Zogno where the Salvi Bikestore is located. Time to return the bikes if we get rentals and back to the hotel. Tonight is also time to pack and eat our last dinner in Italy, hopefully some more Casoncelli and Tiramisu. If we leave on the early side we can get this final ride in no problem. Like I said before the 3 last days rides can be switched around to make the best out of weather and how we feel.
Monday (May 29th): Am bus transfer to the Malpensa ( MXP) Airport in Milan. Departure time from the hotel around 5.00-6.00am, so schedule your return flights to depart 8.00 am or later if possible. If you have different travel plans you are responsible for your own transportation to the airport.