Friday, July 26, 2013

Monte Grappa da Cavaso del Tomba

This is my 3rd ride up Monte Grappa (1732m), each time with a different route.  Today I started from Cavaso del Tomba, a few miles west of Pederobba.  This is the hardest route so far:  after a km or so of easy climbing it goes bizerk, scaling 3.5 km from 360 to 810 meters altitude, averaging 12.9%.  I stopped to put on a headsweat after the first 100 meters of this because sweat was suddenly raining into my eyes.  After that I kept rolling, though barely on the 17% ramps.  At 800 meters you resume easy climbing for a couple km, though my legs were so rubbery I could barely even ascend that.

Now I headed west a bit below the Monte Tomba ridge, soon joining the road coming up from Pederobba and then the road from Alano di Piave.  Here starts the toughest part of the dorsal road's Monte Grappa climb, 5 km averaging 11% up to Bocca di Forca at 1395m.  It very gradually gets steeper, then passes through a brief shady section to cool you off.   As soon as you exit the shade the road steepens, soon becoming a stack of switchbacks clinging to the cliff face.  Once you wobble past La Vedetta (1445m) things get better.  There's a pretty side valley, Val delle Mure, where you descend rolling hills to 1301m and then climb back out through some old WW 1 tunnels to a fantastic view of sheer cliffs above rugged valleys cascading down to the plain.  The remaining ascent crosses grassy meadows with more cycling roads ascending from all directions until the end of the road at 1732m, in the clouds.  You can walk from here up to the top of the ossuary war memorial, which I did last year.

Today instead I ate a piece of my neighbor Silvano's wonderful ciambella cake, then headed back down the way I'd come.  Fun ride.  My next ascent of Monte Grappa must be Strada degli Alpini from Possagno- I think I'll savor the anticipation of that until next year.

Pretty church at Pieve, Cavaso del Tomba

8-10% pendenza accentuate.   The highway dept guys must
love watching cyclists' expressions as they struggle up 17%
Famous goat atop Salto della Capra climb from Paderno

Monte Grappa seen from 1400 meters near La Vedetta 

Pink wildflowers atop Monte Grappa

Close up, with bees

Shady relief on the climb to Bocca di Forca 

Ah, fresh, cool air along a false flat

Break time over: now begin the stacks of tornanti

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