Cavalese – Passo di Rolle – Monte Grappa – Passo Duran –
Passo Staulanza –Passo Fedaia – Cavalese
DAY 5: Tuesday 4.9.2018
We are on the bikes at a quarter to nine. After breakfast we are ready for a trip south, today’s trip is about 350 kilometres, not very impressive but, as it turns out – long enough. The weather is brilliant and the spirit high as we ride to Predazzo. We refuel before we ride in direction of Passo Rolle on SS50. We have a nice climb up to Bellamonte and ride along the Lago de Paneveggio. We stop in the parking lot before we get to the very centre of Passo Rolle (1989 m.) and enjoy the view, including the view to the Cimon della Pala (3184 m.a.s.l.), also called the Matterhorn of the Dolomites. We make a short stop just as the descent towards San Martino di Castrozza starts and enjoy the view down the valley. We have an enjoyable ride as the road winds down the valley and through the centre of San Martino di Castrozza in several hairpin turns.
We stay on SS50 down to Fonzaso and continue towards Belluno. I watch for the signs to Monte Grappa. There it is, just after a roundabout. We turn right and start climbing on a narrow and winding road through dense forest. The road is narrow and we have a steady climb. If I hadn’t known where we were heading I would have wondered if were on the correct route. As we get up the hill, the forest becomes more gleaming and eventually we have a magnificent view of the mountains to the west, including Monte Ortigara, which is known for a battle between Italy and Austria / Hungary during World War.
It will be more war history to come, but first we must get to Monte Grappa. The road is still narrow, but as we approach the exit up to the monument at Monte Grappa (1775 m) it widens. We stop and take a light lunch at the restaurant by the parking lot. Over us are the Mausoleum and war memorial. 25,000 Italian and Austrian soldiers are buried here. They were killed in the three battles that stood here during World War I in 1917 and 1918. Knut called home to his son and told where he was and immediately got the mountains story – impressive – there are somebody who know the war history!
While we are here, the fog is coming. We enjoy the view as long as we can and head down the mountain. On the way down, we catch up with the nice weather again and stop at a small car park at approx. 760 meters altitude. Here we have a fantastic view of the plain which extends from the foot of Monte Grappa out to Venice. Earlier there was a globe here, today it is just the platform where it stood left. The place is loved by hang gliders and today there are also some of those enjoying the winds created by the warm air from the plain below. The temperature is just under 30 degrees and we enjoy the break in the sun.
It’s time to head home, Cavalese that is! We have several options but take the longest and original route that will take us over three more passes. We are heading towards Passo Duran, not among the highest, but the route gives us lots of entertaining driving. As soon as we are down form the Monte Grappa we keep to the left and ride east on the SP26 to SR348 which runs parallel to the Piave river. We ride north to the first opportunity to cross the river and continue on SP28 north on the eastern river bank. At Villapiana, we keep left to Busche and follow the SS50 further north-east. Just after Santa Giustina, we turn left to SP2 and continue with the Torrente Cordevole River on our right. SP2 eventually take to the left, but we keep straight to SP12 and on to Ponte Mas where we cross Torrente Cordevole once again and ride north on SR203.
The first exit to SP347 and Passo Duran comes abruptly and there is no sign to Duran, but to the village of Noach. The exit is just after a right turn and is 180 degrees turn. We ride through Noach and I wonder for a moment whether it is possible to get through here, but in La Valle Agordina, we are on track on SP347. We have a nice ride to Duran which lies at 1605 meters and is an easy match with good road standard. We stop and take a little refill of energy while enjoying the view. Although Duran itself is modest, the mountains around are stunning. Driving down the north side is as uncomplicated as it was to get up on the south side.
We ride down to Dont where we turn left onto SP251. We are now at approx. 1000 meters and going up to Passo Staulanza and will climb to 1773 meters altitude over the next 12 kilometres. It is quite steep and some of the turns are sharp and there are some tight turns. The road is wide, and the asphalt is even so we have a very nice ride. Staulanza does not offer a magnificent view but is a pleasure to ride. As we approach the top of the pass we have some rain. And as we continue north we get into a heavy rain and we must put on rain clothing and rainproof gloves.
The rain slows the ride, but we have a few kilometres left before we are at the hotel. We ride to Selva di Cadore where we take the SP20 to Caprile. Now we follow signs to Canazei and ride the SP41 in direction of Passo Fedaia (2057 m.a.s.l.). The rain stops, and we have dry road again. From Malga Ciapela you are never in any doubt that you are going up hill. The road is wide and easy to ride and the whole ride is topped with some dizzying turns just before we arrive at Lago di Fedaia at the top of the pass.
We stop at the car park at the dam at the western end of the lake. We now have the Marmolada mountains with the highest peak of the dolomites Punta Penia (3343 m.a.s.l.) towering in the south. A shepherd is gathering a sheep flock in the steep mountain side of the north gets our attention. It starts to rain again, and we start the day’s last leg to Cavalese. It is a steep downhill ride on the west side of Fedaia, and I must admit that I’m not particularly brave on wet Italian roads with asphalt quality that change from turn to turn depending on how repairs the road has.
Bror and Knut are starting to get low on petrol, and we are already late for dinner at the hotel, so Tom and I continue to the hotel and enter the hotel door five minutes in eight after a long day. We got dinner and after an extra beer it was good night from me. 😊
Todays distance: 346 km – 216 miles