For the first time in 25 years, when the Schengen Agreement came into effect, we are not able to cross borders freely anymore inside Europe.
While of course this is related to a crisis no one could have predicted, the situation is quite absurd regarding some people calling for a general shut-down of national and EU borders.
We have grown so used to roam freely throughout a whole continent, the thought alone of this freedom being taken away is a nightmare.
Deep in the 2020 Corona crisis two ultra distance athletes, that's Bruno Ferraro (from Bassano del Grappa, Italy) and myself Max Riese (from Salzburg, Austria) digitally fantasised about riding together again soon, after all of our races got cancelled. What if there was a way to meet up again legally, even in those times? With the restriction of movement in Italy it had to be a touching point between the Italian state of Veneto and Austria. While no tarmac road connects the two, there is a historically important piece of trail, that does. The Tilliacher Joch (Forcella Dignas) is a gravel trail where Italian and Austrian soldiers opposed each other in WW1.
We each created a video about our journeys...
Getting up at 3am was hard. However the sunrise and the fog at the beautiful Pillersee really made up for the struggle. It felt so good to finally get out again.
Excited and pumped I cycled towards Saalbach. It finally warmed up, I was blessed with perfect weather. After a short break for food at Hacklbergalm I started the first …
The sunrise at St. Pöltener Hut was beautiful. After a short hike down some snowfields a beautiful gravel road winded its way down to the valley. The view of the famous Großvenediger summit was simply breathtaking.
Further down the path I passed a lot of waterfalls coming down the side of the valley on the way to Lienz.
The bike …
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Leaving Bassano del Grappa with the sun rising made the depart of this adventure even more epic. I immediately approached Monte Grappa where I found other road cyclists but as soon as I took the off-road track no one else crossed my path for the next couple of hours.
At the top of the climb Rifugio Bassano it was surprisingly …
Starting the day in Selva di Cadore and having Passo Giau "for breakfast" was really challenging. I couldn't miss the iconic pass but then I went back for a couple of kilometres in order to follow a really steep but incredible off-road track that lead me to Rifugio Averau and then Rifugio Scoiattoli, among the stunning Cinque Torri. Being at …