Posted by: jcardillo | 23 July, 2009

Vineyards and Mountain Passes

Heading to the Passo Rolle with a view of Cimon della Pala

Heading to the Passo Rolle with a view of Cimon della Pala

After the GF Pinarello on Sunday, Monday we headed into the beginnings of the Dolomites and the Passo Rolle. As you are headed up the Rolle, to your right you have a view of Cimon della Pala (which I incorrectly identified on Twitter as Tre Cime Lavaredo). The climb itself is not so hard, with gentle gradients all the way up and fantastic views that keep opening up of the valley below.

After a quick coffee and strudel (the pass was Austrian when the road was built), we were treated to an awesome sweeping descent where we regularly exceeded 75kph. A slog through the headwind in the valley brought us to the bottom of the climb to Croce d’Aune where Tullio Campagnolo, in 1927, froze his fingers trying to change his rear wheel and invented the quick-release skewer. After a short steep bit at the bottom, the climb is easy in the middle, then kicks through the town of Aune where the houses ARE the curb. A quick stop at the top next to the Campagnolo memorial led to another fast sweeping descent where there is a fantastic view over the city of Feltre. Naturally, a ride so nice can only be concluded with beers at the bottom.

Tuesday brought an easy ride through the vineyards nearby Castelcucco, which resembles very much riding through Napa and Sonoma valleys, though on better roads and with drivers who recognize your right to the road!

Living in this area, you can’t help but climb and our next ride was to Foza, climbing up from the River Brenta over 21 hairpins (slightly longer, but less steep than Alpe d’Huez). At the top, a quick stop for a Coke and then left up to Enego 2000 (nothing up there is anywhere near 2000m, making us wonder about the name), a small ski resort filled with grazing cattle in the summer. This alpine-like meadow looks very much like a Heidi/Sound of Music setting and is something worth the 5k climb to see. The first Sonoma county-like pavement brought us down to Enego, at which point the pavement smoothed out and we dropped down another 21 hairpins (different road) to the Brenta.

The day of the TdF’s final TT brought us a day off, which we used to go to Bassano del Grappa. We made a quick visit to Cavalera, “our” bike shop plus custom frame manufacturer, for little odds and ends and then cooled off (it was 95F+ today) with a tasty lunch in town after walking through the weekly market. A short walk across town brought us to the Ponte degli Alpini, which was originally designed by Palladio in 1569 and rebuilt to honor troops from WWI who fought above the town in the Dolomites, known as the Alpinistes. We then shot quickly across to Marostica, where every even-numbered year, a chess game is played with people as the chess pieces, a tradition dating back to 1923. With no chess on the cards for us, we were forced to sit down in the AC for gelato and espresso before returning to watch the end of Le Tour.

All in all, a nice and necessary day off. We’ll be doing a couple of rides the next few days before racing on Sunday!!!

Ciao for now, everybody!

(A quick note: I forgot to bring the cable to connect my camera to the computer, so updates to the flickr account and images in these posts will have to wait until my return to SFO in August. Sorry)



  1. Sounds like a beautiful place. I would love to visit Italy some day.

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