Ponte nelle Alpi - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

September 24, 2018

Ponte nelle Alpi

I think we have only a short distance to cover today.  Our destination, Ponte nelle Alpi, is only 20 miles away, up the Piave.  The weather is beautiful this morning, so a longer ride is obviously called for.  We spend some time reviewing and discussing some options and settle on starting the day with a twenty five mile loop through the hills to the west and returning to Vittorio Veneto before proceeding to Ponte.

That settled, we head downstairs and find something Rachael’s waited a month to see - a large breakfast buffet spread across the middle of the dining room.  For the last several weeks she has been reading the Classen’s journal with envy, wondering why she can’t have a ten jammer start to the day too.  At last!

Now this is what we’ve been talking about.
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Bruce LellmanI'm with Rachael, I love a large breakfast buffet.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanYup. Rachael looked around to make sure no one was looking and then went into her happy dance.
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2 months ago

We chose well.  The loop west and back is a gorgeous ride along both sides of a low ridge, through prosecco vinyards.  Everything is so green!  It’s great cycling country, and a great cycling day - sunny, but almost cool enough to add a layer when we start out.  It feels like we’ve dropped fifteen or twenty degrees in the last few days.  We have a few challenging stretches, including a final climb that must be over 12%, but without the oppressive heat and humidity it’s not overwhelming.

Heading west from Vittorio Veneto, we start the day with a twenty mile loop beneath the front line of the pre-Alps.
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These aren’t just any grapes we’re biking past today - this is the Prosecco Route.
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I’ve got a fairly decent wide angle in my camera, but with a wall so close behind me this was the only way I could get the whole tower in.
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This was a delightful stretch of road - a slow series of tight hairpins as we rose above the valley and through the vineyards.
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We’re biking west along the south slope of a ridge, and will eventually shoot through a gap and bike east along the north side.
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On our way back east we followed this quiet single track farming lane for several miles as it gradually angled toward the top of the ridge.
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I love this little vineyard plastered against the hill, flanked by outcrops. It’s hard to see here, but there’s a steep road switching its way up through the vines to the estate. I doubt that they’re bike commuters.
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A lone pine
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In San Pietro do Filetto?
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What an incredible green collage!
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Looking southeast across the Veneto to the Adriatic.
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Looking down into the Valmarino, the valley that leads to Vittorio Veneto off to the right. I’m not sure what the high ridge behind it is, one of the first significant formations of the pre-Alps.
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This is a photo of San Boldo Pass, downloaded from the web. It crosses the ridge shown above, just out of the frame to the left. This amazing road was built in only three months in 1917 by the Austro-Hungarian army, using prisoners, the sick and the elderly as a round the clock construction crew. Rachael and I were lucky enough to descend it twenty years ago on our way to Venice. We would have climbed it today except at our climbing speeds we were concerned about safety in the tunnels. It’s precarious enough downhill too - I took a spill in the pitch black end of one of its tight macaroni shaped tunnels.
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Back in Vittorio Veneto, we stop in a bar for sandwiches and then move on.  For the rest of the day’s ride we mostly follow the Venice-Munich bike route as it follows the short Lapsina Valley upriver through a string of artificial lakes.  The characteristic of the ride varies between quiet, flat spells beside a lake and gradual climbs and descents over their intervening ridges.  The marked bike route goes back and forth too, between following the highway (SS51) and then breaking away onto minor roads and paths when an alternative is available.  From our experience, if we were to do it again we would just stay on the highway the whole way - traffic wasn’t bad at all, and the alternate options were generally rougher surfaced and slower going.

Toward the end of the day we finally top out at the Lowe elevation Fadalto Pass and have our first really fine views into the mountains.  Spectacular in all directions.  We’ll be here for the next ten days, and today’s views fill us with excitement of vistas to come.

In the evening we take a short walk through town before returning to our hotel for a wonderful dinner.  It’s almost shocking walking around in the evening, with the air cool enough that Rachael needs her sweater and I my wool shirt for the first time on the trip.  I think our evenings of dining outdoors are over for the season.

Lake Restello, one of a series of artificial lakes in the short Lapisina Valley that empties into the Pieve at Ponte Nelle Alpi.
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Striking a classic pose on Lake Restello
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Hydroelectric plant, Lake Restello
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Huge accomplishment - we bag the first summit of the tour.
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Looking across Santa Croce Lake to the Bellunise Dolomites
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The view north across the village of Santa Croce and Santa Croce Lake. I think the distant peaks are the top of Tre Cime di Laredo,
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The mountains west of Santa Croce. I think the Piave runs in the gap behind the nearest range.
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The range north of Lake Santa Croce
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Ride stats today: 46 miles, 4,000’

Today's ride: 46 miles (74 km)
Total: 839 miles (1,350 km)

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