Stage 1: Bellagio: Madonna di Ghisallo, Muro di Sormano
From Varenna we took the boat to Bellagio, there we started with the famous climb the Madonna di Ghisallo from the Tour di Lombardia. At the top of the Madonna we visited the chapel for cyclist full of old jerseys and bikes from legendary cyclist. After that we headed for Sormano, and some of us took the way left up to the Muro di Sormano.
For 2 kilometers the Muro is on average 15,2% but also has some parts of 27%. For Wout, Eelco and William it was the heaviest climb we ever did! On top of the Sormano there is a very nice restaurant were we had some soppa di verdure. Than it started to hail and rain heavily. Decending to Nesso was cold and slippery, and we had to cycle ourselves warm back to Bellagio. Just 51 km but legendary!
This time we explored the west-side of the Como lake. The ferry brought us to Menaggio and after a short climb we had a first 20 km flat to the Lugano lake. From Claino con Osterio our climbs started, first gentle but Stok had found in impressive/impossible route up the the Alpe di Ponna. The climb as we approached it is impressively steep!!! After a well deserved pasta in Intelvi we climbed to the balcony of Italy: the Monte di Sghignola, a quiet and beautiful climb. On the top you get a great few to Switzerland on Lugano and some 4000 meter tops.
For most of us it was enough climbing but The Champ and Stok went on to the Riffugio di Boffalora, a very small road though a forest. Sometimes the climb offered beautiful views on lake Como. Champ and Stok agreed that they would stop when it would start to rain but instead it started to hail and snow, and Stok saw the climbs of the Riffugio so he didn't stop until he reached it and was completely wet. But going down to lake Como the rain started pouring and for the second day in a row The Champ and Stok felt like they cracked through the ice (as they did this year in february). Thank God the ferry had a very nice heater where they could keep themselves warm.
Eventhough the snow, hail and the beautiful climbs made their day legendary.
Stage 3: Splugenpass/ Passo di Splugen
Eelco (brown) had suggested the Splugenpass and day three turned out to be a wonderful day for cycling, and even though the complete pass was closed, we chose to follow brown on his quest to cycle this snowy pass. And what an amazing cycling day it turned out to be!
Ofcourse end of April is a bit early to cycle this beautiful pass but we started with some 18 decrees celsius in Chiavenna. And every 100 meter higher the temperature would drop 1 decree. The whole pass has over 1700 altitude meters, and after some 1200 meters the snow started to appear till at the end we were cycling along an ice lake. We got to the last village before the top (Montespluga) where the snow on the road made it impossible to pass, and again a great warm pasta dish was our deserved price.
Going downhill we could really appreciate the beautiful turns and tunnels of this fabulous pass.
Stage 4: Varenna: Valico de Moncodeno
Last day. From Varenna we started with the unknown climb the Valico de Moncodeno (1217 hm) and on the top it is so beautiful that we could not resist to start fotoshooting. Not only the Moncodeno is worth the climb but also the Passo Agueglio offers great views to lake Como. After some cake and coffee in Taceno we did the first part of the Alpe Giumello till Narro.
Decending the roads to Bellegio is not so easy for the road is not super, but again the views and turns give you a lot of joy...
We truly can recommend spending some days to cycle around lake Como. Perhaps don't go to early like we did. I guess May is ideal, and of course September (the period of the Tour de Lombardia)