A stunning view

Ricky Buckenlei, (former)European Marketing Manager of Rapha, have travelled all around Europe scouting routes. It was therefore only natural that we asked her to share her favourite route in Northern Italy.

Text: Silje Strømmen
Photos: Sebastian Schels

Growing up in a very small village outside of Munich, Ricky Buckenlei grew up with cycling as a means of transportation. When she moved to Arizona US at the age of 17 she ended up buying a mountain bike. And that’s how it really got started.

“I cycled a lot and halfway through my sports management studies at the University of Bayreuth, after almost breaking my dad’s road bike, I bought my first own road bike, a red Principia,” Ricky says.

After graduating she ended up working with sports. In April 2014 she started what she herself describes as “an exciting journey” at Rapha Europe, where she works as the European Marketing Manager with a focus on the Scandinavian Markets, the Ambassador Team and Women’s campaigns. The job takes her traveling a lot, and she can for example often be spotted out in the woods outside of Oslo together with Marius Nilsen (read his essay on page 98) and Jonas Strømberg (read all about him in Bikevibe Oslo).

“What I love about cycling is that it gets me away from things and brings me to places, in exactly the right speed; My speed. Walking is not for me, it seems too slow and I grow impatient. In the car I miss too many things because I cannot be bothered to stop,” she says. “Cycling empowers me, makes me feel strong, trains my mind and body and allows me to move freely. I can go wherever my legs can pedal. I love bikes, which is another great reason to ride them”.

“Ideally I can spend a whole day on the bike and enjoy a journey through different regions: a bit of climbing and a lot of descending, delicious food stops and beautiful views. I climb for views and for the down, not necessarily for the climbing itself.

My favorite route in Northern Italy is in the Dolomites. Basically every route in the Dolomites is special as the views and the scenery are just stunning! This particular one includes beautiful passes and therefore amazing descents that make all the climbing worthwhile. The route starts and ends in Badia, and goes along Passo Valparola / Falzarego, Caprile, Serrai di Sottoguda, Passo Fedaia, Canazei, Passo Pordoi and Passo Campolongo. It is about 105km and includes 3.000m of climbing. The passes in the Dolomites are steep. There isn’t much flat so you got to love the incline.

Riding uphill through the Gorge Serrai di Sottoguda is stunning and a treat before the very long and hard climbs up to Passo Fedaia. I secretly named Passo Fedaia, Passo Cazzo (dick) because it was the only Italian bad word that came to my head after making it to the top.

On this route I would recommend stops are a must on every top of the pass for three reasons: the view, the view and the view! At this point you would also need to refill bottles and put on some clothes for a long and fast descent. For food, I recommend the top of Passo Fedaia where there are a few small restaurants with a stunning view of the Marmolada. My favourite is Rifugio Castiglioni Marmolada. Enjoy the hot minestrone soup, it is full of goodness!

Before I came to scout routes for our 2015 Rapha Women’s Prestige I had already had some of my best days of skiing in the Dolomites. Coming back I was immediately intrigued by the beauty of the climbs and the views. I loved seeing all the gullies and places where I skied down a few years ago with a dear friend, who unfortunately passed away meanwhile. Being there means a lot to me”.