Over a distance of 74 km and an elevation gain of nearly 2900 metres, this route is beyond the autonomy of most of the ebikes around these days. Which says a lot about the physical effort required for the Ronda Grande of the “Garda Trentino Bike Marathon”. But apart from the physical commitment, a number of stretches also require good steering technique.
The surface changes frequently: from paved road to cement, forest trails with a firm dirt track, rough tracks, single track… Basically, a bit of everything.
Given the considerable distance and the nature of the route, and even though there is signposting and the description is quite accurate, it is still advisable to download the GPS track and follow it on your device.
BIKER’S CODE OF RESPONSIBILITY
ALWAYS WEAR YOUR HELMET !
Suggestions taken from NORBA and IMBA codes of conduct.
The information on this chart is subject to inevitable variations, so this means that none of the indications are absolute. It is not entirely possible to avoid giving inexact or imprecise information, given how quickly environmental and weather conditions can change. For this reason we decline any responsibility for changes which the user may encounter. In any case, the hiker is advised to check the conditions of the places, environment and weather before setting out.
The departure point is at the carpark of the Palazzo dei Congressi, in Riva del Garda. Head north and you soon come to a roundabout where you follow directions for Arco. Pass the bus station and keep on straight through two more roundabouts. On this road which is always fairly busy, you can keep to the cycle path which runs along the right hand side of the road. At the next roundabout, about 3 km from your starting point, turn left, following directions for Tenno. At the end of the straight stretch, you come to another roundabout where you take the second exit, this time following directions for Varignano. Stay on this road for about 550 m, then turn left, where you will find the first signpost for route 772 which, for now, coincides with routes 771 and 773.
You finally leave the traffic behind and riding along the streets which run through the town you soon come to the church of Varignano. From here on, the route to follow is clearly marked so you can concentrate on getting over the first steep uphill stretch in the direction of Volta di No. Try to conserve your strength as much as possible as this is just the first of a long series. The steepest part is on cement, then there is a short stretch on dirt road, then back onto a paved road. When you come to the junction with the main road for Tenno, keep right and then immediately turn left onto the lovely “Pil” road. The gradient here is a little less steep and recent maintenance work has improved the going on the stetches of dirt road. As you climb you can admire the stunning views of Riva and the Alto Garda. At the end of this uphill stretch you come to a paved secondary road where you follow directions to the right. The route is well-marked and you continue to climb until you find yourself on the main road again on a bend in Tenno. Follow it downhill and at the second bend turn off to the right onto a dirt road. When you come to the church of Ville al Monte you continue along the main road, keeping to the left, until in a short distance you come to the junction. Turn right here and follow the paved road in the direction of the Rifugio San Pietro mountain hut and Monte Calino.
When you get to the car park near the Rifugio, you find yourself back on a dirt track. Keep on straight. It is not far to the top of the hill and the first downhill stretch. After an initial run on an easy forest trail, turn onto a mule track which gradually gets steeper and steeper as the going gets very rough. Follow clear signs until you come to Prà della Vespana, where you keep to the left. You soon come to a building where you turn onto a trail through the woods and then continue on down forestry roads. This takes you past Malga Lomasona where you keep on straight again, now in the bottom of the valley, until you come to the paved road once more.
You then come to a junction where you keep to the right, cycling along one of the few flat stretches. Leave the paved road again with a sharp right turn and head back into the woods. There is now a short uphill stretch and at the next junction you keep on straight and head downhill once more. Before you come to the paved road for Lundo, follow signposting and take a sharp right. The road begins to climb again for about 7 km, with an initial gradient of nearly 15% but then a steady 10% on an easy forest trail which is cemented in parts. Along the uphill stretch in the Malga di Vigo area, be sure to keep to the left, following the same direction for routes 773 and 746. You come to the top of the hill in Cadregoni and there leave the forest trail and keep left. The next downhill stretch is quite long and technical, where steering is crucial and you come to just one fork where you keep to the right. When you come to the forest trail, keep right. Continue on for about 1 km, keeping to the main trail until you come to the next signposts. Keep right at the next two forks and the road begins to run uphill again, still on a forest trail. Now follow the main road in the direction of Monte Casale and, after about 3.5 km, head in the direction of Malga Valbona. You have to climb a bit, then follow signposts to leave the main road, keeping to the right. Here you have another technical section in the woods which takes you as far as the meadows of Malga Valbona. Keep left here and you start to climb again on a well-signposted track as far as the summit of Monte Brento, a popular spot with base jumpers.
There are some uphill stretches on this part of the route which, apart from being hard, are also rather technical. You have come to the highest point on the route and now you begin to ride downhill on a trail which reaches gradients of up to 30% with quite loose going. Once you are past the more technical stretch, follow signposting, or better still, the gps track, on a series of tracks, forest trails, and mule tracks, until you find yourself in the vicinity of Malga di Vigo once more.
Before you get to the Malga which you already passed on the way up, follow direction and keep left. You come to the forest road again at Gorghi, keep left and you are riding uphill again in the direction of Prai da Gom. Here there is a short stretch on the flat, then you follow directions and begin another short downhill run which takes to below the mountain hut Rifugio San Giovanni. You get to the mountain hut yet after another steep uphill ride. If you are not competing in a race, you can take a well-deserved rest here. Continue on your way and as you crest the brow of the hill, keep to the right on the paved road and head downhill again. Take care not to miss the signpost and, after a few hundred metres, turn onto the forest trail on your left. After a downhill stretch through the woods with a few rather steep sections, there are still a few more short uphill runs, though from now on, the trail is mostly downhill.
Once you are back on the paved road, follow it as far as Mandrea where you keep to the left and turn onto an old mule track. Follow directions back onto the road which takes you to Varignano. The remainder of the race route retraces the outward run and is all on paved road back to your point of departure. At the last roundabout you met on the way out, take the first exit this time. When you come to the next roundabout, take the second exit and head on straight to the town of Pasina. When you come to a pedestrian crossing on the Varone stream you will find signposting for the bike trail once again. When you get as far as the large paper mill you are nearly back to where you started from. The race track would turn right here onto Viale Cattoni and the left onto Via Vannetti and on towards the finish in the park beyond Viale Rovereto. If you don’t have anyone waiting for you at the finish line, it might be a better idea to stay on the cycle path, cross Viale Rovereto and continue on straight to the beach nearby.
If you stick with the starting point and finishing line of the competition route, the first stretch is along the main road between Riva and Arco. If you would rather avoid this on the way to Varignano you can take route 749 (starting from Riva or Torbole) or route 745 (starting from Arco) instead. As mentioned already, the climb on this route is extremely demanding and the descent is very challenging in terms of gradient and track conditions.
The towns in Garda Trentino - Riva del Garda, Torbole sul Garda, Nago and Arco – are connected by a number of urban and intercity bus lines which will take you to the starting point of the tour. For up-to-the-minute information on timetables and routes: www.gardatrentino.it
Info about bike transport on public means: www.gardatrentino.it
Getting to northern lake Garda / Garda Trentino: www.gardatrentino.it
Riding your bike requires specific clothing and equipment, even for relatively short and easy trips. It is always better to be prepared… e.g. for bad weather or a drop your energy levels. The unexpected things also make up a part of the fun!
Remember to throughly evaluate the type of route you plan to do, the locations you plan to cross and the current season. Has it been raining? Attention: The paths may be slippery and require more caution.
What do I need to bring on my bike tour?
It is always advised to let someone know where you plan to go and how long you expect to be.
Emergency telephone number 112