Sunday, July 25, 2010

Passo Cason di Lanza da Paularo

Tough climb into the backcountry near the Austrian border- beautifully forested but strenuous workout.

Warmed up riding from Cedarchis, following Torrente Chiarsò up the wooded valley to Paularo (640 meters). Here the steepness begins. The narrow mountain road winds up the mountainside to Plan di Zermula (1100 meters), hugging cliffs above the white water below, with a 2.5 km stretch of 10%.

Then the road descends to a bridge over Rio Lanza at 970 meters. Immediately after, you hit the first of 3 stretches of +14%, each half a kilometer long, with several 16-17% ramps. I stood on the pedals for most of these 5 km. Luckily it was nice and cool out, so I didn't vapor-lock.

The pass (1552 meters) was rather crowded with cars and people eating at the rifugio, so I didn't stay up there long. I went back the way I came, holding the brakes all the way down to avoid building up speed. Not a safe road for high speed descents.

Later I will try the other half of the ride, from Pontebba up to Cason di Lanza. Some reports say it is unrideable on a roadbike, others say you can- I'll check it and see.

View toward Paularo and dolomite mountains 10 AM

Rio Lanza rapids down in the gorge

From bridge over Rio Lanza

Looking from the pass toward Austria

Mountains south of the pass

Southwest toward Veneto

Waterfalling from high above

Waterfalling down into the bottomless gorge

4 mountain bikers winding up the tornanti

The grade from Paularo to Passo Cason di Lanza

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