Thursday, July 17, 2014

Marmarole MTB

The Marmarole are a group of mountains west of the Piave River with less tourists in summer than  some other areas of the Dolomiti.  A favorite climb here is the road from Lozzo di Cadore to Pian dei Buoi.  The road winds 11.5 km up the shady mountainside above Lozzo at an  8.5% average gradient.  This was a military road constructed after 1900 to haul materials and cannon up to Col Vidal fortress.  The incline had to be gentle enough for teams of mules to haul extremely heavy loads.  The one imperfection last time I climbed it 3 years ago were the frequent drainage channels you had to jump or slow down for on descending.  Now they have repaved most of the upper half of the climb and the channels are gone.

At the top the road turns to dirt, but is roadbike-able (I climbed it with the Merckx in 2011).  This time I used the MTB because I wanted to try the dirt descent to Val da Rin and Auronzo.  The map I printed off the web was kinda sketchy but a very nice Italian MTBer stopped and took a good map out and showed me the best way.  The descent was very steep loose rock but at least was dry at first.  Then I stopped to chat with another MTBer pushing his bike up from the bottom (there are descriptions online of riding up this, but I don't see how it's humanly possible).  He said the trail below was brutto because it was full of mud and water from all the rain.  He was right, it sucked, but it didn't seem too bad after last week at Val Visdende.   

Eventually I reached Val da Rin, forded across and headed down the paved road to SR48 west of Auronzo.  Easy ride from here on main roads down to Lozzo di Cadore.   Will come back and try to explore Col Vidal fortress next time.  

Rolling Pian dei Buoi pastures

Monte Ciareido, left

Dolomiti peaks on horizon

View to northwest

Val Poorse

Cimon di Froppa above Val da Rin meadow

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