Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pian dei Grassi

La settimana della pioggia has finally ended and everyone was out riding today.  Hundreds.  Favorites were a little girl on a tiny bike riding next to her father- she was wobbling a little but doing great.  What a joyous feeling as a child....  Another was an infant taking a nap on father's shoulder as he pedaled along the bike lane.  Cute.

I felt a little rusty and stiff at first but soldiered on.  I rode past a fellow at an intersection and he soon passed me and rode away on a 5% climb on Via Pedemontane.  I felt like I had no strength.  Later I passed him when he had stopped, then he caught up again and asked where I was going.  I told him above Vittorio Veneto, and he asked if I was taking the strada bassa o alta.  I laughed and said bassa.  No way I can ride up over Il Cansiglio (1118m) and then do the climb toward Col Visentin.  He said ciao and turned on the road for Il Cansiglio.

After Vittorio Veneto, I turned toward Valdobbiadene.  After a few hundred meters at Longhere (188m), I turned right, immediately hitting a short 10% ramp.  After a bit more climbing I hit the steep part- half a kilometer of 14-15%.  Good practice at breathing properly while standing on the pedals.  The grade mellows out a bit to 9-11% for several km.  After a couple of tiny settlements, Olivi and Menegon (640m), the  Ediciclo guide says the paved road ends.  But since the guidebook was written, the old dirt road has been widened and paved very nicely.

I didn't know how high the pavement continued.  The end of the road is Col Visentin (1763m)- was I going that far?  I decided to play it by ear and just keep climbing as best I could.  The grade was 9-13% but the nice road surface made up for it.  The new roadway is better than the lower portion of the climb, though it's more open to the sun, so at mid-day in summer it would be hot.  Luckily (?) a big cloudbank had rolled in so sun wasn't a problem.  I passed a place called Ca' Andrea, then continued on up to Pian dei Grassi, 1200 meters, where the pavement stopped.  The average grade for those last 5km is 10.6%   If you have a mountain bike, you can continue on to the 1763 meter summit.   There was a little paved road up to Casera Sonego, but I decided not to try it.  I can always come back and try later.

The descent is great- very smooth (for the top half).  Below Menegon the road is very rough and narrow, so I was holding my brakes the whole time.

The ride home was surprisingly easy.  Like last Tuesday's ride, it felt like I had a tailwind or was going downhill.  I think maybe the climb just makes the flats seem easier.

Note that Pian dei Grassi doesn't refer to grass but fat.  I'm guessing the fertile meadows produced fat sheep and goats?

Hay stacked around pole

Longhere sunlit by a hole in the clouds

Ca' Andrea with Monte Pizzoc in background.
Not sure why the Union Jack is flying next  to il tricolore

Vittorio Veneto

The gradient

Ride details

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