Dolomites Mini-Trip – 6/12 – 6/19

After a restful few days hanging with Taryn’s dad in Zurich it was time to move on. We had spent a bunch of time over the weekend figuring out where to go. Our only other fixed plan of the trip, a run of the Via Valais trail, was starting in 8 days out of the town of Sion. This run is a hut-to-hut run so it was absolutely essential that we start the run on schedule, not only because we only had reservations for a single night at each hut, but also because we were scheduled to be joined by one of Taryn’s friends part way into the run.

The obvious move would have been to continue our bike tour of Switzerland and loop back around the Swiss Alps, comfortably making it to Sion the day or two before our run. But both Taryn and I, for reasons we couldn’t 100% explain, felt a strong desire to get out of Switzerland. The high prices and difficulty wild camping in Switzerland definitely didn’t help, but I think there was a deeper cultural mismatch. Every aspect of Swiss culture we interacted with felt oppressively structured and serious for two bums on bikes that were improvising literally every decision. So we made the audacious decision to strike out for the Dolomites.

Biking more than 200 miles one-way just to escape Switzerland only to have to find our way back in a week certainty didn’t make the most logical sense, but some napkin math confirmed that if we found a train back to Sion we would be able to get at least a day or two to explore the Dolomites so we decided to commit.

Feeling acutely aware of the time limitations (and unsure of how we were going to afford another night in Zurich) we decided to start the ride Sunday evening after saying goodbye to Taryn’s dad. At 6:30pm we grabbed our stuff stashed at the Airbnb and started the journey westward.

The riding along the northern shore of Lake Zurich was beautiful, but worryingly more populated than the nicely wooded southern shore we had ridden in on. We rode through semi-urban neighborhood after semi-urban neighborhood, each filled with beautiful homes surely owned by people who did not want two vagabonds sleeping on their lawns.

At around 8pm we came across a beautiful little park overlooking the lake, filled with couples and families enjoying the summer evening. Taryn had been looking for a place to dial into the memorial service of Moriah and an impromptu stop at a park while on a bikepacking trip seemed as good a way to honor her memory as any. We found a more secluded corner of the park and huddled over Taryn’s phone to watch.

The sun setting over the lake brought us back to the reality that we still didn’t have any real plan on where to sleep for the night. Looking around we discussed the possibility of just staying in the park. It felt outrageously exposed with all the people still around, but a thick row of hedges separated us from the main road and people were beginning to pack up and leave as the sky started to darken. We decided to stay and risk it.

There were a few stragglers who hung around after sunset so we waited awkwardly for the park to empty before unpacking our sleeping gear. Finally at around 10pm the last person left and we felt good to settle in for the night.

We had only been asleep for an hour or so when we awoke to rain drops. We contemplated setting up the tent but we hadn’t actually tested the tent (a mid style tent) with the short carbon running poles we had brought as makeshift poles. Back in Salt Lake we had waved away any concerns about the pole length as an implementation detail we could work out in the field, theoretically by propping the poles on top of some clothes or shoes. But now, near midnight in the pouring rain, the optimism seemed a bit, well, optimistic.

Instead of messing with the tent we headed to a nearby hedge and crawled underneath the low, thick branches. At first the bushes seemed to provide enough shelter to keep us dry, but with a few more minutes of rain large drops started to splash onto our heads. We climbed back out, grabbed the tent, and tried to drape it over some branches. Regretting every decision we had made we crawled under the lopsided shelter and tried to get some sleep. Water dripped off every side of the tarp and we squeezed in towards the middle, branches in our faces, doing our best to avoid the most active streams.

The final insult for the night came shortly after when I felt a cold slimy something move across my neck. Turning on our lights we saw that the rain had brought out a whole hoard of giant slugs that were slowly making their way onto our gear and bodies. The remainder of the night was spent getting slowly drenched while wiping slugs off our necks, hands and faces. Not my most comfortable night.

It was a great relief when the sun finally started to rise around 5:30am. We emerged from our lair stiff and damp, with eyes puffy from lack of sleep. We forced ourselves into wet bike clothes and were on our bikes by 6am.

The first hour of biking was rough as our bodies warmed back up for the day. Luckily we found a nice cafe at the end of Lake Zurich and some warm pastries and coffee lifted our spirits.

Ten miles or so of pleasant biking took us to the western point of Lake Walen. Switzerland’s bike infrastructure continued to impress as we road through specific bike-path tunnels carved into the hillside alongside the main road tunnel. At this point we were also back on a national bike route which made for easy navigation. We also saw some signs for a national roller skate route! I wonder how often that gets done.

The moody morning weather transitioned to full blown rain soon after we got around Lake Walen. We were quickly soaked and shivering. This little taste of riding in the heavy rain made me appreciate the perfect weather we had been treated to up to this point. The combination of bad weather and sleep deprivation definitely took its toll on our spirits.

Luckily one part of the day felt like it was going our way. Taryn had remembered that a nordic ski friend of hers had a family apartment in Davos. She had been able to get in touch with the friend and the friend gave us the go ahead to stay, even though no one would be there. The idea of a warm cozy apartment all to ourselves provided all the motivation we needed to push for a big day of riding.

After about 50 miles of riding it was time to leave the main valley and start the climb up towards Davos. The rain somehow managed to strengthen and we found ourselves riding along a muddy dirt road through sheets of water.

As we got higher up the valley the rain began to let up but the climbs got steeper and steeper.

The lack of sleep really started to become apparent as we entered the afternoon. The bike route we had been following took us off the main road and along some very hilly farm roads where we had to dismount multiple times to push our bikes up loose gravely sections. The final crux of the day came right at the end, in the form of a ~2,000 ft climb from Klosters to Davos that just about finished us off.

We arrived at the the friend’s condo and collapsed on the couch. The rest of the day was spent drying out, napping, and accidentally introducing gluten into (and subsequently deep cleaning) the kitchen (a family member had celiac). It felt like such a gift to have a warm, dry place to recover. The combination of the horrendous night sleep in the park and a big day of riding in the rain made for the hardest day of the trip yet.

Luckily we were able to sleep in and by the time we left the apartment in the morning (at 10am!) I was feeling pretty much recovered.

The day started with a bit of bonus mileage because I forgot to close one of the apartment windows and didn’t remember until 2.5 miles into the climb up Flüela Pass. Thirty minutes later and we were back on the road climbing up into the mountains.

The climb up to Flüela Pass was absolutely stunning. The road was shockingly devoid of traffic and the vast, wide-open country had us reminiscing about all the mountain passes we had gone over in those magical first few days from Nice to Lyon.

From the top of Flüela Pass we enjoyed a lovely steep descent down into Engadin valley. We stopped for a lovely lunch break in a field of wildflowers off the side of the road that was wonderfully tranquil until we were almost run over by a large truck blindly backing down our pull-off to try to make a U-turn. Fun stuff!

Having survived lunch we continued down the main valley a bit before breaking off for the climb up to Fuorn Pass, our gateway to Italy. The weather was quite hot so we stopped for a nice swim in the river across from the Il Fuorn Hotel.

From our river stop it was only another 5 miles and 1,000 feet to Fuorn Pass. Emotions were mixed as we made our way up the last big climb of the bike portion of our Europe trip. Taryn, struggling from the heat and feeling a bit burnt out from the last few days, could not wait to be off her bike and done with the long days of riding. As someone horribly prone to nostalgia and with a terrible memory for suffering I found myself feeling a bit sad it was all coming to an end.

Whatever deep thoughts I was thinking were interrupted by some weird clicking and skipping of my chain as I spun up one of the last remaining steep sections. With the end of the climb within sight and not thinking too much of it, I did my best to shift and pedal gently, already dreaming about the dreamy descent ahead.

Then, suddenly, I felt a clunk and my chain seized up. I hopped off my bike, assuming I had just dropped my chain or something. I was horrified to see my derailleur pointing up at the sky rather than at the pavement. Investigating further I realized that my derailleur hanger had sheared off, leaving the derailleur essentially unattached from the bike.

Less than half a mile from the pass I pushed my bike up to the pull-off at the top where I stopped to fully asses the damage. Some nice bikers, noticing me leaned over an upside-down bike, came over to see if they could help. To my dismay they informed me that derailleur hangers are often custom to the bike, and without a replacement there was not much they could do. The reality of my predicament set in. When I first saw the damage I had assumed I just needed to make it to any old bike shop and, other than some delay and a hit to the wallet, things would be as good as new. I now realized I was stuck in a rural part of almost-Italy, with a non-functional bike carrying all of my possessions, and would remain that way until I found a bike shop that carried a hanger specific to a niche bike brand out of Utah.

Taryn and I took a moment to look out to the east. What was supposed to feel like a triumphant final descent down into Italy now felt scary and uncertain.

But luckily it was at least downhill. We coasted down to the town of Müstair where we managed to locate a bike shop. Looking at the fragments of my derailleur the bike shop confirmed that my bike had a custom hanger that would not be trivial to replace. Like an archaeologist the mechanic carefully laid all the pieces together and pulled out a giant book of parts to see if she could find a close-enough match. She eventually identified a few potential candidates but informed me that it would be at least three or four days before any part they ordered could get there. With our run scheduled to start in 6 days and no obvious way to get us and our bikes from Müstair back to Sion we realized the only realistic plan was to keep moving forward and try to make it Bolzano where we could catch a train back to Switzerland. We thanked the bike shop for all the help and then headed back out onto the road.

With some Googling we managed to identify a bus that could take us into the slightly larger town of Schluderns. From there we hoped to be able to take trains to Merano and eventually Bolzano.

By now it was almost 6pm and the journey ahead seemed daunting. But luckily there was really nothing else to do but keep moving forward towards Bolzano, so we figured we could just focus on the step ahead of us and take it one step at a time.

By some miracle it was basically all down hill to the bus stop and we managed to make it there with a few minutes to spare before one of the last buses for the day was scheduled to come. By an even greater miracle (and we didn’t fully realize this at the time) the bus had a bike rack mounted on the back of it. The bus driver spoke absolutely no English but we somehow managed to get our stuff loaded up and our fares paid and then we were on our way to Schluderns. On the bus we crossed the border into Italy. Not exactly the glorious arrival we had envisioned.

We arrived in Schluderns just in time to catch a train toward Merano. Our first taste of Italian countryside was beautiful but the general stress of the situation made it difficult to fully enjoy the views.

Eventually the train came to a stop and the conductor managed to communicate to us that it was the final stop. Looking out the windows we were confused to see a small little platform surrounded by low houses and forest. Definitely not Merano. We got off the train and checked our maps and saw that we were in Tel, a small town about 10 miles outside of Merano.

By now it was 8:30pm and we had no idea when (or even if) the next train would come. Figuring we could kill two birds with one stone hung out on the platform experimenting with different ways to try to tension the chain so I could at least ride my bike as a single-speed. We tried removing and adding chain links, eventually moving on to concocting increasingly absurd and impractical chain-tensioners.

Eventually we accepted the fact that my bike wasn’t rideable and it didn’t seem like another train would be coming by that evening. It some ways the complete mess of our situation was almost liberating. There were no big decisions to be made, and no real way we could make things worse. This unlikely freedom had us almost giddy, giggling as we discussed what to do next.

The platform didn’t seem like a great place to sleep and the road eastwards towards Merano seemed downhill so we decided to keep pushing on. We ended up finding a beautiful bike trail that wound down through vineyards into the valley that held Merano.

Part way down a series of switchbacks outside of Plars di Sopra we rounded a corner and saw a perfect little picnic area. Water bubbled gently from a fountain carved into a log, and a couple picnic tables sat nestled under vine-covered gazebos. We hadn’t yet eaten dinner and it was now 9pm so we decided to stop and eat some food.

It grew progressively darker and darker as we sat there, enjoying a dinner of granola in water, the thrill of our complete surrender to the moment better than any seasoning we could have packed. A couple of late evening riders passed by, but soon it was completely quiet.

Charmed by the little park, and unsure if we would be able to find anything better, we decided to camp there for the night. We setup on one of the picnic tables under the gazebo, feeling cozy and protected, and soon drifted off for some much-needed sleep.

The next morning we continued the coast down into the city of Merano. We ran out of descent on the city outskirts and I ended up strider biking it the last little bit.

We had a couple of hours in Merano until the train to Bolzano was scheduled to leave so we did a little bit of exploring. Merano turned out to be a beautiful little city and it was great to get some time to enjoy it. It was not without a few hiccups, but we had finally made it to Italy! We savored an inexpensive cappuccino and pistachio-cream filled croissants and admired some light chaos as rush hour started, a welcome change from the sterility of Switzerland.

We arrived at the Bolzano train station around 10:30am. After leaving the station we immediately headed to the nearest open bike shop, Bikeshop Engl. This ended up being one of the best decisions we made all trip (more on this in a bit). A bike mechanic said he would take a look at my bike and give me a call some time after lunch with his assessment. I was relieved he seemed so kind and helpful, but it still felt hard to leave my bike at some random bike shop after so many adventures together.

With a couple hours to kill Taryn and I decided to head back to the train station to ask some questions about return logistics to Switzerland because we were having trouble figuring out the information on the web. This ended up being another very fortuitous decision.

When it was our turn to talk with the ticket desk we explained that we needed to get to Sion on the 19th with two bikes. We had assumed that with Europe’s impressive train infrastructure it would be trivial to just hop on a train when we were ready to leave the Dolomites. The station employee quickly dissuaded us of that notion. “Two tickets to Sion on the 19th with bikes?”, she confirmed while squinting at her screen, “I’m not sure we have that available”. She proceed to explain that not all trains accepted bikes and that those that did sold separate tickets for the bikes and those could often sell out.

The following 5 minutes were a roller-coaster of emotions. She first found two tickets with bike add-ons, but they were for separate days. Right as we were about to buy those tickets and commit to being separated with only one working bike between us she found two of the last bike-compatible tickets on a train for the 19th. We jumped to buy them but the credit card reader kept timing out and canceling our purchase. I ended up running to find an ATM to get out the necessary cash while Taryn held our spot at the ticket desk. A few minutes later I came running back with the cash and the station employee was able to complete the purchase and print out our tickets.

We walked out of the station clutching our newly purchased tickets, feeling like we had just won the lottery. We had only decided to stop by the train station on a whim because it was so close to the bike shop. If we hadn’t we would have shown up the morning of the 19th and found ourselves completely unable to make it to our scheduled run. Taryn and I often marvel at the fact that our adventures always seem to “just work out”. We’ve debated whether there is some skill involved with this, and there might be, but this time was undeniably 100% luck.

We still hadn’t heard back from the bike shop so we took the time to explore Bolzano. Bolzano turned out to be another cute city. The downtown was small enough to be walk-able and there was this amazing market running the length of one of the streets. We picked up some tasty snacks and soaked in the vibrant energy for a bit before finding some delicious pizza for lunch. With our return tickets sorted out and my bike at least being looked at, it felt like we finally had space to process that just 72 hours ago we were in Zurich and we had made it to the Dolomites!

Shortly after lunch I got a call from the bike mechanic saying it wouldn’t be a perfect fix, and he would need a few days, but he was confident he would be able to get my bike back to being rideable. I gave Taryn the thumbs up and we were both grinning ear to ear.

If the mechanic had only promised to fix my bike, dayenu. But then, I proceeded to asked him if he knew any place we could store another bike (since it didn’t make sense to try to drag Taryn’s bike into the Dolomites when I didn’t have one) and he offered to let us store Taryn’s bike behind their shop on their back patio. Dayenu. Finally, when I asked about their hours to try to figure out potential logistics with our train schedule, he said he would lock my bike outside on the patio with a shop lock and gave me the code so we could come pick it up whenever worked best for us. I seriously can’t say enough good things about Bikeshop Engl, it was hands down the best experience I’ve ever had at a bike shop.

We rushed back to the shop, thanked them profusely, reorganized all of our gear, and headed back to the train station to catch an evening train towards the Dolomites.

A quick note about the Dolomites, it’s not the easiest place to get around without a car. Coming from the US, my image of a national park was an area with a visitor center, abundant car-free infrastructure, and a ton of activities to do all from one spot. Instead the Dolomites is spread out over a massive area, with an average rural bus service serving most locations. With only two full days to explore it probably would have made sense to just pick on spot and commit to it, but Taryn and I were feeling unreasonably ambitious so we decided to try to spend the first day in Val Gardena, and then the second day around Corvara.

We took a train from Bolzano to Waidbruck and then from there got onto a bus that took us up Val Gardena. As we rode up the valley we peered out the window. We were originally planning on wild camping, but as we got further and further up the valley it became clear that the valley was not going to lend itself to that form of camping. The valley walls were relentlessly steep and the woods looked thick and uninviting. To make matters worse, a heavy rain started as we got higher in the mountains. The memory of slugs crawling across our necks was too fresh and we decided we had to find some other option.

Google maps showed a campground a bit before Ortisei so we hopped off at the Ortisei bus stop. It was pouring rain when we stepped off so we ran to a nearby cafe and tried to wait out the storm over some food. After dinner it was still raining on and off but with sunset only a few hours away we felt some urgency to figure out our sleeping arrangements. We made our way down canyon, nervously pointing out heinous looking sleeping spots in the woods should out campground option fail.

We we dismayed when we arrived at the address and didn’t see a single tent anywhere. There was, however, a cute looking hotel at the end of the driveway so we headed inside to see if we could find someone to talk to. The owner of the hotel, a gruff but kind old man, informed us that the property wasn’t open to camping at the moment but there was vacancy at the hotel. Struggling to lose our bum-mindset, we balked at the price, but when the owner saw us contemplating heading back out into the rain he offered us a discount and we gladly took him up on it, deeply relieved not to be spending the night out in the rain.

The hotel ended being perfect. It had been a very long day since we had woken up outside of Merano and it felt heavenly to be able to decompress. Our room even had a cute little balcony where we were able to watch the pouring rain, cozy and dry, before heading to bed.

The hotel also had a ridiculously yummy all-you-can-eat buffet in the morning and I’m pretty sure we came out ahead on our room costs with all the food I was able to get down.

Feeling very full and very content with our decision to splurge for the hotel, we packed up our stuff and headed out for our first day adventuring in the Dolomites. We took the the bus up valley and got off at Santa Cristina and wandered our way towards the mountains until we arrived at the base of a ski lift with a promising looking trail underneath it heading upwards.

The running was everything we had hopped for and more. We made our way up into the lush mountains, awestruck by the massive limestone spires above us.

Following our noses we headed up a side valley which brought us to a beautiful overlook above a deep gorge. We followed a steep section of trail, climbing up some old metal spikes driven into the rock, and then started a glorious 2,000 foot descent down into the gorge. We stopped and ate our lunch (some stolen pastries from the breakfast buffet) at the stunning Rifugio Puez. From there it was a nice long cruise back to town. A very very good first day in the Dolomites.

Done with the day’s activity it was now time to figure out how to get to Corvara. The two towns are only a quick 30 minute drive up and over Gardena Pass. But for some crazy reason the bus system doesn’t run over the pass, meaning to get from one to the other we had to take four hours of busses all the way around the mountains. Looking back I’m not sure exactly why we were so committed on getting to Corvara, but we were so we had a relaxing afternoon sitting on various busses.

When we got to Corvara we managed to locate an actual campground and we set up camp as the sun began to set. It felt extremely satisfying to finally set up the tent that we had been lugging around since getting to Europe. Nothing like some terrible nights wild-camping to make one appreciate the comfort of regular campsite.

The next morning we got up and walked into town to see if we could track down bikes to rent. Taryn’s knee had started hurting her at the end of the run the previous day and it felt blasphemous to have biked almost all the way to the Dolomites not to get any biking in. We managed to find a shop in town that had some road bikes in stock and after some bike fitting we were geared up and ready to go by 10am.

Our general plan for the day was to ride the Sellaronda, a popular bike loop that leaves Corvara and circumnavigates the stunning Sella Group. We decided to head counter-clockwise which meant starting with the climb up Passo Gardena. Riding out of town we soon hit the start of the climb. We looked at each other in disbelief. After hundreds of miles on loaded down gravel bikes it felt like driving an F1 car. We zipped up the road, gleefully passing biker after biker.

From the top of Passo Gardena the road stayed alpine and we enjoyed a wonderful descent for a few miles before climbing back up Passo Sella. The weather could not have been more perfect for a big ride. Bluebird and windless, and just the right temperature to ride without a jacket. The vibrant green grass and thousand foot rock faces provided a surreal backdrop to the ride.

After descending 1500 feet off Passo Sella we reached the turn where the standard Sellaronda cuts back east to loop back around. Our legs were still feeling amazing so we decided to skip the turn and take a longer route around that would take us over Passo Fedaia and right by Marmolada, the tallest peak in the Dolomites. The riding continued to be exceptional and we enjoyed a long 3000 foot descent after cresting Passo Fedaia.

All that vert had to be regained of course and almost immediately after hitting the valley floor we started climbing again. The perfect morning temperatures had by now given way to midday heat and the winding south facing road took its toll on us. Our water supplies dwindled and the mountainous views became a little less charming. We managed to keep a decent pace, however, and after 3500 feet of climbing we made it to the top of Passo Falzarego. To our immense relief there was a little cafe/gift shop at the top of the pass. We gulped down some water and treated ourselves to some ice cream and pie.

Feeling fully rejuvenated we made the small remaining climb to Passo Valparola. From there it was all downhill towards Corvara. The roads were basically traffic free, the pavement was perfect, and we were overflowing with gratitude as we whizzed back down towards town.

Getting back to the town of Corvara proper required a small final climb. The high of the day had successfully numbed most of the fatigue in my legs, but it came rushing back as we peddled up towards the bike shop. As we got close, however, we realized we were only 600 vertical feet from having biked 10k vert for the day. A nice round number for Strava would be the perfect cherry on top of a perfect day so we decided to continue up past the shop. The legs weren’t happy to be doing another uphill but the vert ticked up quickly and soon we were spinning it to head back to town. Finishing with a descent back to the shop made for a satisfying end to the best day of biking I have ever had.

We returned our bikes and headed to a nearby bar to re-hydrate on some Aperol spritzes.

After a great night’s sleep we woke up to the sad reality that it was time to leave the Dolomites and start the long trek back to Switzerland. We had a few hours to kill before our bus back to Bolzano, however, so we decided to squeeze in one final run up the local ski hill outside Corvara.

A couple of hours and a few bus and train transfers later and we found ourselves walking out of the Bolzano train station again, the last few days feeling like a magical dream. We immediately headed to the bike shop where we found both bikes waiting for us. To my utter delight I saw my derailleur and a perfectly tensioned chain attached to my bike.

We loaded our bags onto the bikes and just like that we were back in business. The mechanic hadn’t been able to 100% fix my derailleur so shifting was a bit sensitive and I didn’t have access to all of my gears, but it was a bike, and it pedaled, and I couldn’t have been happier.

Bikepacking has this curious tension. When the bike is working properly it provided the most freedom in the world. You can get pretty much anywhere with all your stuff, efficiently and for free. If the bike breaks, however, you are suddenly much worse off than if you had no bike at all. You have this large clunky object that requires at least one hand to be pushed, can’t easily be brought on buses or trains, and can’t be left unattended outside of stores. I don’t know what it’s like to travel with a child, but short of not needing to feed a broken bike, I imagine the experience is similar.

With two working bikes we were able to locate and ride to a perfect campground about 3 miles outside of town. This campground was not only affordable and convenient, but also had a pool! Taryn and I managed to burn most of the rest of the afternoon practicing our underwater handstands and somersaults. We then headed back into Bolzano for a final celebratory dinner (and a bottle or two of wine). We used the last of the summer light to soak up the city and then wobbled our way back to the campground so we could sleep before our early morning train to Sion.

We woke up and nice and early so I would have time to jog my bike to the train station if I experienced any mechanical issues. The mechanic’s repair held strong, however, and we had a stress-free morning catching our train. We did end up pretty confused about train’s bike ticketing program when we boarded the train and found room for neither us nor our bikes and instead spent the journey sitting on the floor between two train cars, doing our best to keep our bikes from tipping into the walkway.

We arrived in Milan for an hour layover before our next train to Sion. In keeping with the theme for this crazy, spontaneous week of adventures, we decided to use that hour to bike into Milan and grab some lunch. What better way to celebrate having a mostly-working bike than to get out of walking-distance from the train station during a tight layover.

Milan was absolutely bustling and we soon realized it was Milan fashion week (first the Monaco Grand Prix and then Milan Fashion Week? It’s hard living the life of the rich and famous). The rugged cobble streets and chaotic traffic kept us on our toes but we soon were in the heart of the city. We pretty quickly realized that the remaining 40 minutes before our next train didn’t leave too much time for a sit down lunch, but we managed to find a chain pizza store. By the time our pizza was ready we were definitely getting concerned about time so we wolfed down a couple of slices and then strapped the rest of the box to Taryn’s bike rack and sped back to the station. My bike stayed in one piece and we arrived back at the station with minutes to spare before it was time to board our final train to Sion.

This mini trip to the Dolomites represented everything I love about Taryn and my at-times chaotic energy. It would have been so logical to just use the week to ride from Zurich to Sion but instead we decided we simply had to get to the Dolomites – and magic unfolded. We were flexible when we needed to be flexible, determined when we needed to be determined, and even a tiny bit responsible when we needed to be responsible. We took what could have been a negative experience and through pure positivity and childlike optimism willed our dreams into existence. Those moments of pure bliss running and biking and simply existing in the mountains of Italy is a lesson I won’t soon forget.





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