Mezzomonte is a favorite local climb, a good 2-hour ride after work in summer or weekend mornings. It's steep enough to be challenging but not so long that you end up knackered. Today as usual I stood for the first steep half-kilometer above Coltura and then remained seated for the remaining series of switchbacks up to Mezzomonte (475m). It's a dead end so I turned around to begin the ride home. A lady joked that I should stop, I'd already won the prize money. They must find us odd riding up this steep road to their village then immediately returning.
I stopped by the walled cemetery on the edge of town to see if I could get a photo, and noticed the turn for the cemetery didn't stop there, it kept going. Intrigued I followed the narrow paved road, which quickly turned steep and began switchbacking. There are galvanized steel drainage troughs every 50 meters or so, very slippery (I was inattentive and almost fell over in one). I had no idea where I was headed but the road just kept going up and up- it was clear it was headed for the top of the ridge, which connects Piancavallo and Il Cansiglio. Above 800 meters there were increasingly snowy patches where small trees shaded the roadway, but with a little care they were easy to traverse. Finally at a tornante at 890 meters the snow looked like 23mm slicks wouldn't be adequate- I'd need some wider knobbier tires. So I turned around and gingerly returned to the cemetery, then descended rapidly down the switchbacks.
On the way home I was climbing the hill toward Budoia when I heard a strange wheezing behind me, similar to the sound the stray cat in our cortile makes. It got louder and I realized someone was drafting on me and possibly in respiratory distress. I pulled out of the way and slowed and a fellow in GC Meschio garb passed on my right. I was very impressed by his bike, a Bottecchia Ottavio carbon frame, handmade by Sarto near Venezia. Beautiful frame!
Here's a hiking site describing the road I "discovered"- I may try walking it soon with the dogs- they'd love it! http://www.magichedolomiti.it/ilpalo/mezzo/mezzo1.htm
|I gave up here at 890 meters|
|Looking down at the switchbacks on the road down to Coltura|