To Dobbiaco/Toblach - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

September 27, 2018

To Dobbiaco/Toblach

So we have a really easy day today.  We’re stayin the next three nights in Dobbiaco (or Toblach, its Austrian name), which is only fourteen miles away, all downhill.  That hardly seems like enough to earn our dinner, so we decide to make a side trip to Tre Cime di Lavaredo on the way.  It doesn’t add that much distance, but the climb up there will count for something.

First though, we’re  still in Misurina.  I’m awake, it’s a few minutes before sunrise, and breakfast isn’t for another hour.  I might as well go outside and have a look while I’m waiting for my morning coffee.  I go outside with the camera, leaving Rachael to doze a bit longer, and am stopped cold by the sight of a full moon dropping beneath the mountains.

The view from our bedroom, just before sunrise
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Probably the best full moon picture I’ve ever taken. I don’t go chasing them, so it was pure luck that it was still up when I stepped outside. It dropped below the mountain five minutes later.
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Jen GrumbyJaw-dropping!!
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2 months ago
Jacquie GaudetI wanted to triple-heart this one!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetMe too. I couldn’t believe it when I stepped out the door and looked up.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyMine definitely dropped. It was really amazing watching it set beneath that sunlit peak.
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2 months ago
The quiet end of the lake was alive with waterfall dabbling, splashing and honking as the day began. These coots and duck are swimming through the reflection of the illuminated mountain rising above the West Bank.
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The south end of the lake, about a half hour past sunrise. I’ve been out long enough though - I’m cold, and head back to the hotel to see if coffee is out yet.
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It’s another cold morning, so after breakfast we wait around in our room while the day thaws out a bit.  Finally, we leave the room at 11 and head for Tre Cime, leaving most of our luggage at the hotel to pick up when we flern about return.

It’s four miles from Misurina to Auronzo Refuge, at the end of the pavement and  high up at the base of the mountains.  In a way it’s like yesterday’s climb to Misurina, with about two thousand feet to climb that are all jammed into the last two miles.  The ride starts with about a one mile very steep climb that ends after about a mile and maxes at about fifteen percent.  From there we have an easy mile that frustratingly even loses elevation.  We enjoy a bit of a breather, and pass a long line of cars waiting to pay their fee at the park entrance.

After that, it’s two miles of unrelenting pain as we climb another punishing 1,500’.  We’re both pretty pleased with ourselves when we reach the top - especially Rachael, who stops only once for water and is successful in starting up again on the steep incline.  Along the way, she overtakes two ebikers who had passed her back in the flats but are suffering on the climb.

Tiny Lake Antonio lies in a small basin about five hundred feet above Misurina. This basin gives the only respite from the unrelenting climb to the top.
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Enjoying the only easy mile on the climb to Tre Cime.
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Going up.
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Just your basic twelve percent grade
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Nearing the top. You can see the row of parked cars at the far left, and Auronzo Refuge peeking out a bit up and to their right. The refuge is the starting point for the hike
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This must be the top.
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You didn’t think we just biked up here for the fun of it, did you?  For the next four miles we walk along one of the most esteemed hiking routes in the Dolomites.  It’s an incredible walk, on a spectacular day.  I’ll create a separate post for this, but here’s one photo just to show that we were really there.

Best. Hike. Ever.
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We make it back to our bikes at four, and drop off the mountain on our way to Dobbiaco, now seventeen miles away and nearly four thousand feet below.  The first four miles back to the hotel are a rush, racing down the switchbacks and taking evasive actions to avoid the buses and cars returning from the mountain.  It’s not a scary ride, but it does keep your attention.

Soon enough we arrive back at our Misurina hotel, pick up our panniers, and continue dropping to Dobbiaco.  We’ve almost waited too long - sunset is still an hour and a half away, but most of the remaining miles are in the shadows of the peaks.  It’s none too light and quickly growing colder, but nostalgia helps keep me warm - this is our third time on this road, and I recognize many landmarks as they whiz by - once on our bike ride from Vienna to Venice by way of Budapest in 1994, and once skiing from Dobbiaco to Cortina in 2010.  By the time we arrive in Dobbiaco we’ve both stopped to layer up even further, and I’m freely a bit hypothermic.

We arrive at our lodging, Hotel Rosengarten, at six; just an hour until dinner.  We know this hotel, and have been looking forward to returning - it was our base for four nights from our ski trip eight years ago, and we have very fond memories of it.  There’s just enough time to head up to our room, take warm showers, and head back downstairs for the first course.

Way cooler on the way down
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The buses add a bit of stress, but I can’t complain. Better one of them than twenty or thirty cars.
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We’ve nearly waited too long. It’s only about five o’clock, two hours before sunset, and it’s already feeling dark and cold.
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We’re in a hurry, but some things you just have to stop for.
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A last look back at Tre Cime di Lavaredo. I wonder if we’ll ever be back this way?
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For the last five miles we finally left the road for the unpaved bike path. The traffic was starting to feel unsafe in the failing light, and I’m cold enough that I’m fighting a bit to stay in control.
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Xxx

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Ride stats today: 22 miles, 1,900’

Today's ride: 22 miles (35 km)
Total: 914 miles (1,471 km)

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Bruce LellmanYou've been getting astoundingly beautiful photos and it's not simply because you are in an astoundingly beautiful place.
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2 months ago