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Passo Stelvio

One of the greatest mountain passes in the world. The Stelvio is like no other. Read all the technical statistics about the Stelvio you want, but nothing prepares you for the emotional reality of the place. The entire pass is surreal, a Holywood film set of an imagined mountain pass, but for real. The closer to the top, the more surreal it becomes.

There are plenty of hotshot racers and weekend warriors buzzing like little angry wasps up and down the Stelvio, looking for substance or satisfaction and finding none.

Modern boys and girls on bicycles quietly concentrate, stick to their tasks, and maintain their cadence, rhythm, and belief. Climbing this mountain doesn’t mean anything unless you do it with your own efforts and power.

There are forty-eight bends, all different, not one the same. Steep cambers between hard stone and rigid battlement walls. Overweight German motorcyclists on Harley Davidsons struggle to manoeuvre 360-degree bends and stay upright - but fail. Meanwhile, old hipsters freeze to death in open-top Porsches, trying to look cool while real men and women ride bicycles.

Welcome, the people of the new world order.