Thursday, July 12, 2012

Monte Dolada, La Carota-San Martino sterrata

Monte Dolada is a sort of benchmark for me.  The first time I tried it a couple years ago I couldn't do it- had to stop, rest and hyperventilate several times.  Then last year I did a little better but remember struggling badly.   Today wasn't easy but I never felt overwhelmed, just kept gasping  and grappling away till the top.  

I arrived at Vittorio Veneto early (0630) and started the warm up to Sella di Fadalto.  Quite windy and cool- some windsurfers with parasail kites were hydrofoiling across Lago Morto- they must have been freezing.  Then around the west side of Lago di Santa Croce, past La Secca, take the right turn toward Tignes.  From here steeply upward to Pieve d'Alpago, and higher still to Plois (850m).   Now you head up a narrow farm road through the meadows with a half km of 15% average gradient.  Finally it levels out briefly at La Carota rifugio (1025m) and you can catch your breath while rolling toward the next challenge, a series of long steep switchbacks, the steepest being 1.5 km averaging 13.8%, with no chance to catch your breath.  The agony ends at 1494m, a parking lot for Rifugio Dolomieu.

I rolled back down, bunny hopping drainage channels every 20 meters it seemed.  When I reached the level spot near La Carota on a whim I headed down the backroad toward San Martino.  I had attempted this from the opposite end last year but flatted on the rocks and with no 2nd spare, gave up.  The ride from this end was considerably easier, with even a paved stretch at each end, and also briefly in the middle where it ascends a short wall.  It is also generally downhill in this direction (except for the wall).  It crosses a little bridge over the gorge of Torrente Tesa, which separates Pieve d'Alpago to the west from Chies d'Alpago in the east, then eventually becomes a paved farm road which descends to San Martino (866m).

Fun curvy descent through Lamosano and Cornei to Puos d'Alpago.  Great ride, though I wouldn't advise doing the road from La Carota to San Martino with 23mm slicks- something wider and knobbier would be better.

Early morning Lago di Santa Croce with Monte Dolada in background  

Closer shot of lago and Monte Dolada

Campanile of Pieve d'Alpago, with lago and Col Visentin in background

Lago from Rifugio Dolomieu.  See fungus on tree branches to right-
looks like Spanish Moss in Alabama, but with smaller tufts

Bowl shaped conch of Alpago, looking east

Close up of Alpago villages, meadows, forests 

Monte Teverone (2436m)

Monte Dolada's rocky cliffs, upper left

Cliffs of Montagna del Vescovo

Monte Teverone from near San Martino

Lago and Col Visentin from near San Martino

Rode clockwise

Monte Dolada climb on left, La Carota-San Martino sterrata center 

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