The idea of being based in the Dolomites for three full days was to do day rides out and back to and from Cortina. Maps were obtained with suggested road routes.
So the plan was, starting in Cortina (1,224m), climb up to Passo Falzarego (2,117m), Passo Valparola (2,192m), descend to La Villa (1,483m), Corvara (1,568m), up to Passo Campolongo (1,875m), Pieve di Livinallongo (1,475m), possibly Passo Giau (2,236m) or Passo Falzarego (2,127m) and back to Cortina.
A big ask for this chook but one I was willing to do as I knew I would do it, just a matter of pace.
Starting in Cortina it was not too bad. I had my short sleeved merino jersey, long sleeved Assos jacket, and Rapha winter short legged nicks for climbing. I carried my rain jacket, merino arm warmers, winter leggings, long fingered winter gloves in my front panier ( to be used if needed).
Cortina looked pretty ok.
Climbing started pretty well immediately. The views were great. These photos are after 200 metres climbing, and only a few km riding. (1425m).
As I approached the lookout area, half a dozen very flash Porsche’s had screamed past having their own little roaring race up the Pass.
Riding on I came across this little church.
The snow started at 1800 metres.
Just two km before the top of the climb it started to lightly drizzle. When you are climbing you are generating plenty of body heat so the lower temperatures not so much of an issue. I was hoping the rain would hold off long enough to get to the top as I did not want to stop and cool down.
Photo of my bike at the top and one looking to the right hand side. To the right of the Passo sign you can see a small church. That is where Geoff was to be found, huddled and cold.
The rain started to come down heavier, and it suddenly got colder. I put my bike inside the tiny church and you can see the inside temperature on my Garmin….and that is probably 10-15 min after I entered the church.
There was a bit of a debate..what to do….we both wanted to keep climbing, but knew that we needed to be sensible. The next Pass was only another 85 metres up, but the weather likely to be worse.
The descent to La Villa and Corvara would be cold, and it certainly looked like it was raining down that valley.
With great reluctance we knew we should descend back to Cortina. All clothes were now on.
I don’t ordinarily mind descents but I prefer dry descents as they are much safer and faster.
This descent was cold and wet. The road was pot holed, in places, to boot. The temperature dropped down to 4.2 on my Garmin.
Normally descending I just control my speed with brakes…pedal when I have to. today I was riding my brakes and trying to pedal a bit to generate body warmth.
The further I descended, the worst my shivering got to the point that I was not able to keep tight corners.
With 5 km to go I noted a little pub like establishment with a light on. We pulled off the road and knocked. A lady opened the door and ushered us in. I hugged her!
Despite being wet, she insisted we sit on their cushioned bench seats. An incredible hot chocolate was made. It was more like heated chocolate custard, it was so thick, sweet and rich. We followed that up with a coffee.
I could have sat there for ages…we were only 5km out of Cortina. The rain had eased and the temperature was now a balmy 5 degrees!
Here is the reluctant Sharron ready to finish off the descent.
A perfectly symmetrical graph today! As you can see the climbing of 907 metres done in 16 km. A nice climb I am hoping to do in slightly warmer weather.
I have expanded the map so you can see where I am in the Veneto area.
The forecast tomorrow is worse. Maximum of 9 degrees and rain. Wednesday looks a bit better. Will a ride be done tomorrow? Not sure….will wait and see if the meteorologists are right!