Veneto Trail + Asiago Loop (ENG)

The hormetic journey

The Veneto Trail is a non-competitive bikepacking event conceived by the great Andrea Securo, also creator of routes such as the Veneto Divide or the Asiago Loop. Starting from the beautiful Cittadella, the route challenges you over 450 km and 10000 m+, always surrounded by the breathtaking landscapes of the Pre-Alps and Dolomites.

Over the years, one becomes more and more exigent, or maybe just weirder. Proof of this is that I find it harder and harder to find events that appeal to me. Still, the VenetoTrail had been on my wish list for several years. For me, its main appeal was its non-competitive philosophy, a fairly uncommon format, something that I think is quite necessary nowadays, as it encourages the participation of a wide range of different cycling profiles.

Although there are more and more bikepacking events all over the world, something really positive, it’s true that most of them are focused on a competitive philosophy, with restrictive rules, cut-off times, or expensive entries because of the logistical complexity. All of this, more or less indirectly, excludes other rider profiles less interested in numbers or classifications.

In recent years we have seen an effort by brands, organisers and different collectives to achieve an increasingly inclusive cycling, and the VenetoTrail is an example of this, which makes me take my hat off to them. While it’s true that even in this event there is still a long way to go in terms of female participation, it was a real pleasure to enjoy such a wide range of cycling profiles. 


Exposing the body to certain stressors in the right measure makes us stronger and more adaptable. It has been part of our evolution. That is what the concept of hormesis is all about.

Keeping that in mind, for some time I’ve been feeling that I needed to force myself out of a comfort zone that was trapping me with more and more gravitational power. To travel for the first time with my bike by plane, to an event one step above my perceived technical level, and where I would only speak Italian and English for a few days. Just what I was looking for.

About flying there… a tricky issue, I know. As I mentioned in my «Parallel» article about the footprint of our trips, the guilt of flying was something I couldn’t avoid, but I also believed that it shouldn’t be a limiting factor when a ride has been on your mind for years and you’ve never been on a plane with your bike before. I also wanted to use the trip for a longer stay, riding the Asiago Loop in the same area at the end of the VenetoTrail. All these doubts were a really interesting part of this experience.

In terms of technical difficulty, four years ago, when I first heard about the VenetoTrail in the middle of the Torino-Nice Rally, I was warned that the technical level of the route was a couple of points higher than in Torino-Nice, being considered more of a pure mountain bike route.

That N+1 technical level scared and motivated me in equal parts, just as I was scared and motivated by the TNR when I discovered it as an «ultra-specific» roadie in search of new challenges. Exposing myself to something I feared was a good way to break a glass ceiling (or two). Things were working in my hormetic way.

And what about the language? With 22 countries represented, I knew that these days would be a disconnection from Spanish and a complete immersion in both English and Italian. A perfect way to progress in those two languages in a mini-erasmus on pedals, I love that aspect of this kind of event. By the way, according to Andrea, I was the first Spaniard in the seven editions of the Veneto, something that also makes me think.


Without a doubt, the fact of going solo made the mentioned processes much more interesting, but also, as several of my fellow riders commented, it made the overall experience much more intense, and the best way to open yourself up to meet a lot of interesting people.

The daily dynamics were adapted without any haste to whatever came up during the route. A beautiful shelter appeared on a rainy afternoon? we stayed there… We discovered a campsite next to a beautiful lake on a hot day? we stayed too… Did Matt propose an extra loop halfway through the route to stretch for an extra day? There we went…

There was no pressure, no schedule, no cut-off time to achieve. I’ve ridden a few bikepacking events before, but I finally had the feeling that I’d ridden this one the way I’d always wanted to ride all the others.


As I said, I wanted to enjoy the trip for a longer stay and get to know the area a little better. The Asiago Loop was the perfect complement to digest the mental explosion that the Veneto Trail meant for me.

It consists of a circular route of just under 200 km and almost 5000m+ on the Asiago Plateau, in the Vincentian Pre-Alps. You can access the route from different points, in my case, I cycled from Cittadella through Bassano del Grappa, from where I «only» had to climb one thousand metres of elevation to start the loop. 

The route has all the same flavour of the area as the Veneto Trail, impeccably cooked and seasoned by its creator, Andrea Securo. Tough terrain, loose at times, and whith more than one hike-a-bike section, especially with a loaded bike and tired legs.

However, despite being so close to the Dolomites, this area is not as exploited, and is quite remote, so you have to be careful to plan for food and water along the way. Sounds like home to me.

CONfort Zone

Now, with some time elapsed since my return and thinking about what I experienced, I consider it the perfect trip. A country that I love, an unbeatable route, breathtaking landscapes, delicious food in every village, wonderful people, my bike and my tent. -«Do you really think that you were out of your comfort zone?»

Asking myself this question now means that the experiment worked to perfection: my comfort zone had blown up. Today I am the person I wanted to be before that trip.

You can find the full gallery of the Veneto Trail and the Asiago Loop here: