Thursday, August 23, 2012

Passo Cibiana (X2) - Zoppè di Cadore

These 3 climbs are close to home: just up Valcellina, across the Piave River at Longarone, and a short drive to Forno di Zoldo (812m).  I worried a bit when exiting the long tunnel near Barcis- it suddenly was raining.  It continued raining all the way over Passo Sant' Osvaldo and halfway up to Forno di Zoldo, but happily stopped just as I parked above Lago di Pontesei.  I warmed up for only a couple of kilometers before reaching the right turn for Cibiana.  The climb begins gradually at first almost like a continuation of the warm up, but at Villanova (890m) it tilts upward.  After a steep  kilometer of 11.7% average grade, you cross the lovely meadows at Cornigan (1240m) and climb steadily through fir forest to the pass at 1536m.  

The road was still damp from showers earlier in the morning so I descended quite slowly, particularly through the town of Cibiana di Cadore where people were out and about in the streets.  At the bottom of the gorge you cross Ponte sul Boite (774m) and climb fairly steeply to Venas di Cadore (852m).   Here you join the main road between Pieve di Cadore and Cortina.

I turned around and climbed back up to Passo Cibiana, with a 4km stretch above Cibiana di Cadore  averaging about 10%.  Then I descended to Fornesighe (965m) and turned off on the road for Zoppè di Cadore.  After a brief traverse to the beautiful hillside villages of Dozza and Bragarezza (930m) you begin the climb to Zoppè.

This was a very surprising road- wide, well-paved, wonderfully-engineered switchbacks.  For some reason I'd envisioned a rough, steep, narrow mountain lane.  The approach gives ample views of the pretty mountainside town of Zoppè, with the imposing dolomite peak Pelmo (3168m) towering above.  At 1470m you reach the top of the town with gorgeous views down the spruce forest-covered valley.  

I descended back through Forno di Zoldo, then down to the car by the lake.  I definitely want to return and get some photos, because my camera battery died before reaching Zoppè.  I'd also like to return to Passo Cibiana and explore a road leading up to Monte Rite (2160m), though I'm uncertain how high the road goes.  

Marmarole viewed on descent from Venas di Cadore to Ponte di Boite 

Antelao (3264m) from Cibiana di Cadore

Panorama to southwest from Cornigan

Close up of the mountains to south

Close up of Monte Civetta (3220m)

Monte Civetta from meadows of Cornigan 

The mountain backdrop to Cornigan's pastures

Lovely flowers Cornigan

Forno di Zoldo chiesa on hill above town

The ride
Climb from Forno di Zoldo to Passo Cibiana

Climb from Venas di Cadore to Passo Cibiana

Climb to Zoppè di Cadore

The "3 summits" (first 2 are opposite sides up the same climb) 

A view of the 10%-and-above gradients

4km stretch of 10% from Cibiana di Cadore to Passo Cibiana

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