The warm-up climb from Vittorio Veneto to Lago Sante Croce was quite chilly- the gorge between Monte Pizzoc and Monte Faverghera is like a big funnel compressing all the winds from Cadore through a narrow gap- very breezy. The gorge is in the shadow of Monte Pizzoc as well, so no warming sun. But a few kilometers of climbing warmed things up. Most of the traffic uses the adjacent autostrada, so it's a peaceful little climb. Far above to the west I could see the antennas atop Monte Faverghera, my destination.
The lake was beautiful as always with reflections of surrounding mountains and clouds.
Just after La Secca north of the lake I turned left and headed upward. There are a couple of very short steep ramps- one hitting 20%. After that I stopped and stripped off all my arm and leg warmers and Windtex jacket. Found room for it all somehow in my jersey pockets. After a flat spot at Vich the road tilts upward again until joining the strada provinciale from Ponte nelle Alpi. Most climbing websites and guidebooks start the climb at Cadola in Ponte nelle Alpi, but I shaved a few km off the ride by going through Vich.
This is a wonderful road with good pavement, steadily upward but not too steep, bypassing the center of all the little villages. There are plenty of curves but also 2 very long straight stretches with a steady gradient. The landscape is a mix of pastureland and forest, with beautiful views of the bowl of Alpago and mountains above Belluno.
At Nevegal, a ski area, the road changes into a narrower climb through heavy forest. The pavement is still good, with lots of curves and tornanti. At 1400 meters the road ends at a casera. I almost turned around here, but noticed a "paved" path up toward the Giardino Botanico di Monte Faverghera, a 60,000 hectare reserve. The path up from the casera is chunks of rock embedded in concrete, with a 20% grade. I got a running start and cruised up this, trying to avoid the pointier rocks. When it turned into a dirt road I stopped and hiked up to a a high spot on the cliff above Lago Sante Croce, 1000 meters below. Watched an eagle hundreds of meters below circling around the cliff face.
After rolling down the rock path with brakes squeezed tight, I started the descent. I startled a deer eating on the verge, who scampered up slope into the forest. Then down down down, round one curve after another. On one long straight stretch I heard a loud clicking so stopped. The speedometer magnet had slipped down its double butted spoke onto the narrow middle, and rotated, striking the pickup sensor. While I was tightening it a guy climbing the opposite direction offered help "Ha un guasto?" Nice to know there are people willing to help if anything goes wrong out in the middle of nowhere.
Finally this descent ended at the lake shore. After a flat bit, and a short climb up Sella Fadalto, the fast easy descent down to Vittorio Veneto, with more swooping curves.
I drove home and my neighbor's firewood delivery had arrived, so helped with the stacking. Then we had caffe' and gelato. It was a wonderful day.
|Dolomiti above Belluno|
|Tre Cime di Lavaredo|
|Lago Santa Croce with cloud reflection|
|Tambre with Monte Cavallo in background|
|Monte Pizzoc above Fadalto|
|The rocks-in-concrete 20% path to 1435 meters|
|One way to keep outsiders away- name your village Pus|
|Cugnan with Monte Dolada in background|
|Map of the climb|