Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Monte Cor

Vittorio Veneto and Lago Santa Croce lie in a glacial gorge between mountains stretching from Monte Pizzoc to Monte Cavallo in the east, and from Monte Faverghera to Monte Cesen in the west.  Towering above this gorge is Col Visentin (1763m).  There’s a road to the top but it’s only paved as far as Pian dei Grassi at 1200 meters.  Today, instead, I continued on a narrow paved road from Pian dei Grassi to Monte Cor, 1320 meters.
It had rained last night, and temperatures are now more seasonable for April.  I cruised down to Fiaschetti, but from there to Vittorio Veneto I battled a stiff headwind.  Above Vittorio Veneto I turned left toward Valdobbiadene, and after climbing to Longhere (200m), turned right at the sign pointing to Fais.  The climb begins immediately with a +10% ramp.  After a brief respite, it gets tougher with a climb between a group of houses, which the Garmin clocked at 17%.  After this, things settle down briefly, but then you begin a series of 10-12% switchbacks up to around 600 meters.  Not bad at all.
At Borgo Olivi you enter some beautiful hillside meadows, complete with clanking cow bells.  After this village you actually descend slightly passing through Menegon, and then the narrow mountain lane you’ve been riding suddenly transforms into a wide well-paved road.  This is a wonderful road, climbing to 1200 meters at Pian dei Grassi.  It makes long steadily-climbing traverses across the grassy bald face of the mountain, rarely below 10-14%.  The views of Monte Pizzoc, the pianura, the hills of San Lorenzo and Vittoro Veneto are breathtaking.
The road takes a slight downgrade above 900 meters, then regains the elevation and then some.  Finally at 1200 meters the wide paved road ends, the dirt road to Col Visentin heads north, and a narrow paved road labelled Monte Cor heads up slope to the west.  The landscape is mostly tufts of dry grass, an occasional tree, stone outcroppings.  There are a few stone farm buildings and casere here and there.  The pavement ends at 1320 meters, but the dirt road continues as far as I could see.

I bundled up and hurried down the mountain to avoid freezing.   I blazed through Vittorio Veneto and Anzano trying to warm up.  Luckily the wind from the morning hadn't switched direction, and now was a tailwind.  It pushed me all the way home and I arrived not even fatigued.  This is a great climb and I'll try it again soon. 





The meadows at Borgo Olivi
Landscape above Menegon; Col Visentin upper right
Across the gorge to Monte Pizzoc and snowy peaks to the north 
Pian delle Femene to the west from Monte Cor road

The view north from end of pavement, 1320 meters

Map of the climb


Gradient from Longhere to Monte Cor

1147 meter climb in 13km = 8.9% average grade

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