Saturday, September 4, 2010

Passo Mauria- Sella Razzo- Passo di Pura

Woke at 0400 and left at 0600.  I parked at Cima Corso (830m) a few km after Ampezzo.  It was quite chilly so I wore my windtex jacket.  The first section  is rolling, up/down through a 2 km tunnel and Forni di Sopra, then a steady climb up the Tagliamento valley to Passo Mauria (1298m).

From there it's a fast curvy descent with pretty good pavement and banked tornanti so you can really fly.  You plummet through the forest to Pelos di Cadore (760m).  I'd like to climb this section someday.

The road connecting Pelos with Laggio di Cadore (940m) is surprisingly steep.  After Laggio the long climb to Sella Razzo starts.  It gradually steepens at first and then stays that way.  A fellow on a mountain bike passed me and said hi.  Then he stopped to fill  a water bottle at a fontana, and I passed him.  He caught back up and we chatted a bit.  That made the climb easier.  But he  eventually rode away to get his workout.  I think I rode faster than I would otherwise trying to catch him, which was good exercise and helped me finish quicker, but also burnt a lot of energy.  Towards the end there are a series of tornanti built directly on the cliff face.  After reaching Sella Ciampigotto (1790m), I saw the guy chatting up a waitress at the little biker bar up there.  They both waved to me.

The altopiano continues through beautiful scenery with horses, cows with bells, etc.  After Sella Razzo the road oddly continues to climb till 1803 meters at an unmarked highpoint.  Then there's another long series of tornanti drilled into the cliff face, descending to 1500m.  Afterward, you pass through forest and pastures down to Sauris at 1400m.  More lovely pasture down to Sauris di Sotto (1200m) and still more tornanti to Lago do Sauris (1000m).

I crossed the dam and entered the tunnel- low and behold they've installed lights since I rode it a few months ago.  This is good news, though I needlessly carried a half-pound bike light with me up 2300 meters of climbing.  Good resistance training.

Now commenced the last climb, up to Passo di Pura at 1428 meters.  It's a beautiful road, lovely tornanti through a dense forest of very large beech and larch trees. It is so dense you can only see the blue green water of the lake for the first switchback or so.

At the top are flowered meadows and some more cows with bells.  The big black clouds I'd been dodging all day finally caught up with me here, but only sprinkled a bit of sleet- not bad.

This descent is poorly paved- lots of loose stones on the long series of tornanti.  I slowed way down on the turns at the ends of the tornanti, but went fast when I could in the middle.  Shortly before the bottom a rock popped my rear tube.  My lovely new wheel held up well, but has a small ding where the rock struck- not a problem.  The tire too has a mark but seems fine.  I changed the tube and continued the descent, then rode a couple of km back up to Cima Corso.

This 90 km loop included 2 new climbs for me (though I've descended them before).  Also one new descent.  I tried to stand often to prevent back strain, but my lower back is sore from the 2350 meter climb.  The heated seat on the drive home helped, as did a hot bath with epsom salt.   Hopefully the weather will break sometime this week and I can make another giro.

Update:  after a couple of days I looked at my bike and noticed the front tire was flat now too.  I found the leak by putting the tube in a pan of water, then traced that spot back to the tire.  There's a hole clean through the sidewall- you can see daylight through there.  I'm going to try to boot it.  It's a Michelin Pro Race 3 I bought last December.  I need to find something with tougher sidewalls still light enough to climb with.
Alpine house below Sella Ciampigotto
Horses at Sella Razzo
Nuzzling horses

The peaks above Sella Razzo

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