Tuesday 22nd August. Some new climbs for us in the Dolomites – Passo Duran and Passo Staulanza.
Our ride started from the village of Cencenighe, in the valley below Passo San Pellegrino. Our route is a circuit of Monte Civetta, ‘Owl Mountain’ – one of the Dolomite giants at 3220m.
Passo Duran is 12.2 km, elevation 1601m, average gradient 8.1%, max 14%; Passo Staulanza is 12.3km, elevation 1773m, average gradient 6.7%, max 11%.
Setting off from our chalet in Moena, we drove over the San Pellegrino pass with our bikes in the back of the Landrover Discovery. It was a fairly flat start as we left Cencenighe, heading to Agordo where we had a quick stop for lunch before starting the first climb.
We rode most of the first climb together, the gradient was a constant 8 to 9% only easing off in a couple of places. A kilometre or two from the summit the road steepened and we rode this stretch at our own pace. Paul was waiting at the top after having taken some photos, there was one of me approaching the top of the Duran. The views were so spectacular, although it was feeling cool at the top so it was jackets on for the descent to Dont.
Arriving at a village called Dont (not don’t!) we started the climb to Forcella Staulanza. It seemed a long 12km although there was a bit of a flat section at Pecol. The climb is fairly straight up until this point, a few hundred metres further on the hairpins start and continue to the top of the pass. Towards the top I could hear the sound of cow bells and bleating goats!
At the top of the Staulanza, 1773m, Monte Pelmo was towering above us, partly obscured by cloud. This is one of the Dolomites iconic peaks and at 3168m is one of the highest.
Now onto the descent of the Staulanza, the views of Monte Pelmo were quite spectacular.
Stopping to look back at the mountains from the picturesque village Pescul and then on to Selva di Cadore, a village we know well from other rides. Feeling hungry now we stopped for strudel and espresso.
It was all downhill now, riding through some dark tunnels which were quite scary – always remember to move sunglasses down your nose a bit. Gripping tightly to the handlebars I tried to keep Paul in sight. At the town of Caprile it was 11km to Cencenighe, there were a few spots of rain so we speeded up, me trying to keep on Paul’s wheel. Back at the car it was bikes loaded and climbing back up the San Pellegrino. I’m so glad I’m not riding back as we did it the other day and it was so hard, 20% gradient in some parts with lots of steep hairpins, so much climbing.
It was a great ride and I’ll remember the climbs of the Duran and Staulanza with such spectacular scenery of ‘Owl Mountain’ and ‘Monte Pelmo’.
Strava stats: distance 72km; climbing 1,820m