Thursday, November 25, 2010

Col Alto da Pedemonte 2

I've ridden this once or twice before in Summer, but never this late in the year.  But no rain or snow in the forecast, so why not?

After a brief warm up on the pianura, I headed up the road to Piancavallo.  It was cool out and partly cloudy, but the heat of exertion kept me toasty.  On all stretches above 10% I had to stand, as my back and glutes were still wore out from Il Cansiglio.  I was having trouble breathing, as before, but I just gasped and panted and anything else I could do to keep going- never had to stop to catch my breath.

At 1000 meters I took a few pictures while I still had sunlight, as black clouds were gathering on the mountain.  Then at Caldastia, I turned off the main road and onto the narrow mountain lane for Col Alto.  At first it is less steep, so you can catch up on your oxygen debt.  Then it too starts grappling at 12-14%.  The sun was gone, and with the altitude, temps were below 0℃.  Then the road had patches of snow and ice, so I had to remain seated to maintain traction.  That was challenging.  The high point at 1379 meters marks the end of beautiful faggio forest and the beginning of a fir tree-covered neighborhood of  ski vacation homes.  I descended gingerly on the snowy road to Piancavallo.  The ski slopes were covered with snow, but I guess not deep enough for skiers yet.

Now the big descent starts, and right on cue it started snowing.  I rode as fast as possible on the straights to evade the snow, but had to brake hard before every hairpin.  My hands were frozen from the windchill, but managed to brake adequately.  Around 800 meters the snow changed to rain, but I still was hurrying to escape.  Things got better around 300 meters and soon I reached the bottom.  I completed the 200 meter climb to home in a semi-frozen state, only really warming up on the steep section between Marsure and Giais.
Later we had a little Thanksgiving Dinner- good warm food!

Looking back down the tornanti, with Aviano and Fiume Cellina in background

Centro Riferimento Oncologico, reminding me I have an MRI appointment next week

This is the only glimpse of snowy Monte Cavallo I could catch among the storm clouds

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