To Bolzano - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

October 2, 2018

To Bolzano

So, a big change of plans today.  We woke up thinking that we were going to bike up to Ortisei, spend two days there, and then use it as a base for biking the Sella Ronda - leave our bags in Ortisei, bike half the loop to Arabba on the first day, and then return to Ortisei to pick up our bags and then coast back down to the valley.

Such a fine plan.  The weather even cooperated, and we felt very lucky as we reviewed the plan over another nice breakfast at the Grauer Bar.  After yesterday’s cold and rain, the next three days all look great.  It will be quite cold up in the passes, but we can bundle up.  Seeing some new snow on the hills will make it really special.  Today it’s still cold though and we can see snow on the ridge above town.  We wait around until 11, checkout time, with Rachael passing time by keeping warm in bed, curled up with a good book; and I go out in town with the camera one last time.

It’s still cold out this morning after breakfast. Too cold to bike up into the mountains, but Rachael has a plan for how to kill some time.
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While Rachael stays snug as a bug in a rug, I take a last look around town.
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In the sunlight it’s easier to see why the tower of Saint Michael’s Church is also known as the White Tower.
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Back in the cloister again for a second look.
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Some victors and their vanquished.
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Don’t let this happen to you.
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In the Bressanone cloister
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Right venue, wrong day. Rachael took a few shots of me yesterday that I forgot to include. Close enough.
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See above
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Eleven comes, and we start out.  It’s a short 20 mile ride, so we aren’t really concerned about the time.  The first eight miles go quickly, as we follow the bike path down river to Point Gardena.  After this the route is all uphill - 2,000’ in twelve miles.  Not too bad.  We expect we’ll reach Ortisei by midafternoon sometime.

I’m alive to report though that it is definitely unsafe to bike up to Ortisei from the west.  I couldn’t say how it would be getting there from the east (from the Sella Ronda side), which was actually the original plan.  From the west though, at least on the road we chose, it feels like a death trap.  Two narrow lanes, blind curves, zero shoulder, short tunnels, cliffs that run up to the side of the road and leave no room to get off in a hurry, and fast cars, and big trucks.  

No way.  It doesn’t take us more than a quarter mile at most to decide that this isn’t happening.  We watch for a break in the traffic so we can cross to the other side, and quickly coast down to the river again, our tails still intact.

So, that’s it for the mountains for us for this tour.  No Sella Ronda.  No Stelvio.  Which is fine with both of us, really - after our incredible day at Tre Cime, we feel like we got what we came for.

Over lunch, we improvise a new plan.  It starts with continuing down this brilliant bike path to sunny, warm Bolzano, where we’ll spend two nights and decide where to go next.  It shouldn’t be hard to come up with some attractive options.

The snow made it pretty far down into the valley last night. We could be seeing snow by the road at Ortisei this afternoon.
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Heading south from Bressanone, on a lovely bike path. We’ll follow it for about ten miles before breaking away from the river and heading up mountain.
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We’re now following the Eisack south, after the Rienz merged into it at Bressanone.
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Team selfie, with bikes (a requirement for this month’s Cycle365 Challenge)
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Castle Gardena, built in the 1600’s, looks fierce enough but it was just a hunting castle and summer residence.
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This is as hard as it looks. Worse, actually - I had to go back down and help her push up the last, steepest part. We’re experimenting, trying to find a quieter way up to Ortisei than the awful road we were following. A failed endeavor, unfortunately. Time for a new plan.
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The new plan: bag the mountains, the cold, and the scary traffic. Let’s go back to the river and its delightful, safe, beautiful bike path.
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Keith ClassenGreat decision guys! The Claudia Augusta going south from Bolzano is great. We have made some change in our plans as well. We have decided to scrap the Alp Adria as we have done a couple sections on it now and we feel we are running out of time. So our plan now is to head for Verona where we will likely catch a train to Innsbruck then make our way to Zurich for our flight home. Is there a chance we could be in Verona at the same time? Have you guys been to Torbole/Arco at the north end of Lake Garda? We were there last year and loved it. South of Trento you hang a right off the Claudia Augusta with a great dedicated path to Torbole. If you did go the Hotel Forte Charme was great. Upon check out they presented us with a bottle of wine - how great is that! From there you can take a ferry down the lake with the option of several stops including Sirmione (very cool spot) at the south end of the lake. And from there its a short ride to Verona where if the timing is right we might just be there. Wouldn’t that be great. Had a great day in Trieste today! Your post on Trieste had us convinced we needed to spend a least a day here and glad we did.
Keith
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonI wondered how your time budget was doing, and also about whether you were pushing the season in Switzerland. Verona sounds like a great place to close up.

We might meet up in or near Verona, depending on how pokey you are about getting there. Our next three nights are committed: Trento, Peschiara di Garda, and Mantua. We’ll be in Mantua Saturday night. After that we’ll start working our way northwest to Lake Como, but we’re still considering options. Stopping at Verona on the way is a possibility. When are you thinking you’ll be there?

Also, which direction are you biking from Trieste? You might consider hopping a train to escape some of the sprawl to the west.
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2 months ago
Keith ClassenTo Scott AndersonWe are booked for Gorizia tomorrow nite then thinking Pordenone, Treviso, Verona. Not the most direct route. Probably 5 days to Verona I am thinking. Probably too slow for you guys. We will see how things go...trains are an option. We are enjoying the warmer weather here and other than catching our flight no great desire to head north.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Keith ClassenSo, not in Toblach, and now not in Verona either it sounds like. We’ll miss each other by a day or two. We’re getting closer though - maybe next year!

Enjoy Pordenone! We really liked it 20 years ago, on our way from Ljubljana to Venice. You might look at Vincenza also on your way west. Safe travels!
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2 months ago
Leaving Colma, after a pleasant outdoor lunch at a pizzeria. It’s so sunny, warm and pleasant down here in the valley! SO much nicer than up in those cold, scary mountains!
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Trostburg Castle sits up above Colma. I dont see anything about it being used for defensive purposes. Just another trophy estate by a one percenter of the day.
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Beautiful ride the whole way, now that we’ve come to our senses and rejoined the flatlanders.
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North of Bolzano the bike path passes through roughly ten tunnels (I lost count). Most are short like this one.
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But a few are significantly longer. This one was at least a quarter mile long.
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OK, OK. Enough with the tunnel photos already. Let’s move on to another theme, please.
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We’re overdue for another cat photo. This one seems unique. It might even be a cat.
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Jen GrumbyCat with party whistle?

Or half cat half ant eater?
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2 months ago
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Jen GrumbyGlad you left the scary traffic behind!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyUs too. An easy call. Mountains - who needs ‘em?
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2 months ago

Ride stats today: 31 miles, 800’

Today's ride: 31 miles (50 km)
Total: 1,094 miles (1,761 km)

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