After Caneva I turned toward Sarmede, but to my surprise at Villa di Villa they were getting ready for a bike race. There was still a bit of time before the start so they kindly let me continue on the race course. At Sarmede I wanted to try a climb I've descended a couple of times but never ascended- the backroad to Montaner. It soon got very steep- 18%-19%. It sure didn't seem that steep when I've descended it previously. I made it up the first ramp, and then a little way up the next, but I couldn't get enough air so I stopped to pant for awhile. I rode by a house where the family was waiting for the racers and the man announced "Il signore numero uno!" Don't know if you've ever cracked up laughing while hyperventilating, but I managed it.
Finally this torture ended at the west end of Mantaner, and I joined the rolling cliffside road, an easy chance to rest until Osigo and the start of the climb to Il Cansiglio. I've only ascended this route once a couple of years ago. It's a main road from Vittorio Veneto, very well engineered and maintained, but also quite busy on Pasquetta, the Italian version of Easter Monday. It got quite cold toward the top at La Crosetta, and I hadn't brought a balaclava or shoe covers. As I began the descent toward Sarone, the frigid wind on my forehead gave me an ice cream headache. Luckily my head soon went numb and I survived. Nice climb home through Budoia and Marsure, though I never warmed up.
Here's more info on the bike race- I saw one team car I recognized, Katusha, but there were many from less-known teams.
Giro del Belvedere
|Some of the steep spots on Sarmede-Montaner climb|