Sunday, August 28, 2011

Passo Duran North & South

Passo Duran connects Val Zoldo, Forcella Staulanza, Passo di Giau, etc with Agordo and its nearby passes.  I decided to ride it both ways, rather than concoct a lengthy loop to avoid reclimbing it.

I parked at Forno di Zoldo to get a little warmup before Dont (we had a cold front pass through last night and it's suddenly quite nipply).  I recommend warming up, because the road after Dont immediately climbs at 15% for a half kilometer.  I stood in the pedals for this, and it wasn't bad with fresh legs and lungs.  The road winds through some lovely small towns as it ascends above the spruce forest of Torrente Moiazza gorge.  After the last of these towns (1250m), you start a 4km series of steepish tornanti to the pass at 1605m.  This stretch averages 9-10%.

The pass is gorgeous, with big rocky summits towering on both sides.  There is a rifugio and steep meadows with cows.  I donned my windjacket and headed down toward Agordo.  This road widens a bit so you can build up some speed, then passes through a series of little villages as it winds down to Agordo.

Agordo is a tourism center, maybe a little too touristy this time of year.  I did find a pedalata to watch, which is fun because families on all sorts of bikes participate.

I never did thaw out from the descent, even in the full sun down in Agordo, so decided I needed to recommence climbing to generate some heat.  I headed up and soon found myself behind an older fellow (60s-70s), who was mashing maybe a 39-23 gear up the 9-10% grade.  I spun my feeble 34-29 and stayed far enough back not to disturb him.  I stopped to remove my jacket and next I saw him far ahead on a long straight stretch.  Later he had stopped on a short 13% ramp and I wobbled by.  Near the pass I stopped to shoot some pictures and he caught back up again, still pushing that fat gear.  We chatted a bit- he was from Genova, which I hear is very hilly.  I noticed his bike was a Shock Blaze and mentioned they were made near here at Colle Umberto, TV.  He had bought it in Genova and didn't know where it was from.  Anyway, he was just getting started, planning to ascend Forcella Staulanza next, then cruise back to Caprile and Agordo.  I only pray that I'm in such good shape in 10-20 years.

Rode the steep twisty downhill to Dont, then down to Forno di Zoldo, and drove home.  I'll be back- too pretty to stay away!

Lago di Vajont nebbia at 6 AM on the drive to Longarone 

Monte Moiazza (2868m) above Passo Duran

Pale di San Martino (2812 m) from below Duran

Dolomite columns of Monte Agner (2872m) from below Passo Duran

Monte San Sebastiano (2420m) left, Monte Tamer (2547m) right

Close up of the cathedral facade of San Sebastiano

Climb from Dont left, climb from Agordo right

Dont to Passo Duran

Agordo to Passo Duran

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