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Italy - Dolomites 2011

Col de Perer

After a couple of days of riding without gear, we were ready to add our light loads and head out for the Dolomites. Dominique and Cristine had all their gear in Topeak seatpost mounted bags, affectionately nicknamed "fatsos". We each had extra cycling shorts, a jersey, arm and leg warmers, jacket, gloves, street clothes, shoes and toiletries. But we kept it pretty light. John and I have toured in the mountains with too much weight before and it's definitely more fun with a lighter load. After years of doing this, we seem to have found a formula that works, so we have exactly what we need, nothing excess, nothing missing.

John and I had stayed up too late mapping out the first day's route. We wanted to aim toward the Passo Manghen, the climb we missed on the Gran Fondo Campagnolo many years ago. This meant heading up the Brenta River and over the Col de Perer toward Stringno. We used a combination of when we had internet access and garmin mapping software on the mac when we did not. Each had advantages and disadvantages. Ridewithgps gives a nice route profile, so we could tell how much climbing we would have, but the google maps it uses for Europe seem to have lots of trails masquerading as roads and it could be hard at times to pick out the actual roads versus hiking trails. We still had paper maps and knew there was only one road across, but google maps seemingly showed dozens. Also we wouldn't always have internet access, so having the garmin software on the mac was important. Also its maps tended not to have trails. Prior to the trip, we had not had good luck using this software. Sometimes the downloaded routes wouldn't work. Fortunately I discovered the issue. Sometimes via points would be labeled with Chinese characters. When this happened, the route wouldn't load properly. Simply changing those names of via points made everything work! This made life much easier.

As we were heading up the Brenta River, we noticed this house with the very nice rain chain. We had to get a shot, so we can get our contractor to build us a gutter extension like this for our own rain chain.

One of the things that made figuring out the route the night before was trying to remember how to get to Arsie without getting on major roads and how to best cross the river. There is a path around Monte Grappa, that was sign-posted years ago. Sadly many of those sign posts are now missing and we couldn't find any information on line about the route. We did spot a sign going across the swinging footbridge below Cismon del Grappa, and we remembered taking this bridge on our first trip years ago so we decided to risk following the sign there.

We had also remembered that the route goes up a tiny closed road. When we tried to map it, the route profile showed a sheer cliff, so we just weren't confident we had picked the right road, or if we had selected a hiking trail. Fortunately it was just a map anomaly, and no ropes were required to winch us up a sheer cliff face.


We stopped in Arsie for coffee and to buy supplies for lunch, which we enjoyed near the top of the Col de Perer at a lovely picnic spot.

John and Domi headed off to the tourist office and booked a hotel on top of a monster climb. No more letting them go to the tourist office unaccompanied.


Monte Grappa