Preparing like a Pro for the Maratona dles Dolomites with VeloViewer

The Maratona dles Dolomites has been on my bucket list since I first heard of it a number of years ago and I’m remarkably excited that 2019 will be the year that I get to do it (hopefully the first of many). Many of those reading this will know of someone who has ridden the Maratona and have heard stories of the joys and challenges of the route. You can also go back to 21st May 2016, when stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia tackled the majority of the route with an extra 77km tagged on the start for good measure.

Back at that race in 2016, I/VeloViewer was collaborating with Team Sky, extending the route analysis page available to standard VeloViewer users, to provide a dedicated race recon tool fit for a world-leading professional cycling team. This allowed the sports directors, coaches and riders to scrutinise race routes to plan race tactics, pacing strategies and hopefully remove the chance of any nasty surprises. The stats, maps, 3d/2d profiles, Google StreetView and reliable elevation and gradient numbers offer a one-stop-shop for all their needs. Since 2016 the package has grown to include a dedicated tablet app for use in the team car. This provides information including distance to climbs, sprints, hazards, feed zones and other key information, meaning that sports directors don’t need maps and notes. It is currently being used by 12 men’s WorldTour teams and 5 top-level UCI women’s teams as well as numerous national teams.

Despite the route for the Maratona dles Dolomites being so well known I have never ridden any of it, so what better tool for my own Maratona preparation than VeloViewer! I have been spending hours using the same tools as the WorldTour teams to dissect the route and familiarise myself with the climbs as much as I dare. Pacing strategies might not be a key concern for me as I intend to enjoy the views as much as the riding but the colours of the profile clearly highlight the Passo Giau as something to be mentally as well as physically prepared for!

What quickly becomes evident when dropping the StreetView man on the toughest climbs of the course is that the views are going to go a long way to pull you back out of your pain cave, and if they look that good on StreetView I can safely assume they will be a magnitude better in real life.

The professional teams using VeloViewer have the added ability to add custom waymarkers along the race routes which can then be viewed in the tablet app as well as on the rider’s GPS units so the next step was to add all this in for the Maratona. Having added waymarkers for the climb starts and summits (VeloViewer then auto-populates the waymarker text with climb length and average gradient), road junctions as well as the feed and mechanics stations I can now export a TCX file for my GPS device to see all of that information on my handlebars on the day. Seeing the distance to the next feed station or summit can be invaluable and a great motivation when you’re desperately in need of your next slice of cake.

The TCX file for the full Maratona is available here which includes all of these waymarkers.

Climb stats, maps and profiles

When all the climbs are overlaid on each (another version with the start elevations aligned) other it becomes painfully clear where the main challenges will lie. The initial 3 climbs will instantly test your ability to ride at altitude with the Passo Sella providing some tough gradients however they are a mere prelude of what is to come later on in the day. Not only does the Passo Giau have one of the highest summit elevations, it also starts from one of the lowest parts of the whole route. Averaging 9.3% it really doesn’t provide any opportunity for a rest and at the back of your mind you’ll also know that the longest climb of the day (Passo Falzarego at 12.4km) still awaits.

Note that the adding of waymarkers to routes and the export of TCX files is only available in VeloViewer to the professional teams signed up to my race recon package.

Photo by Gruber Images.

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