Weather looked good, so we headed off for a long loop of three passes. This ride is about 60 miles and climbs nearly 9000 feet. The passes are not famous, but they sure are beautiful. They carry very little traffic, so we’re in for a nice day on the road.
We head down valley from Cortina and take a sharp right on the road to Passo Cibiana. Passo Cibiana is a narrow road which goes through a small town near the bottom (see below) and is quite steep.
Here we see Dave climbing past one of the many signs warning us of the steep grades. Dave’s outfit matches the color scheme of the signs.
Passo Cibiana is about a 3000-foot climb. As we near the top, we get a look at a ridge of craggy peaks to the left of us.
We finally get to the top of this brute. We relax at the cheese tasting booth. Ernesto is on the left. Jessica and Rudy are on the right.
Fueled up, we head down the hill. The descent is a zoom. Sorry no pictures. I was having too much fun! The switchbacks keep zooming by. There is one nice town there but I didn’t even realize it was worth stopping until the town was long gone.
The next pass is Forcella Staulanza. It’s about 2500 feet of climbing. Fortunately the grades are easy, except for a 10% stinger at the bottom. After this, the grades are quite gentle with some long flat bits along the way.
Near the top of the Staulanza is a nice view of the Civretta, a Dolomite peak jutting high above the surrounding landscape.
After descending the Staulanza, we hit the base of the Giau. This is the hard side of the Giau. I found the “easy” side to be hard. This is harder.
Passo Giau starts out following a river. Most passes zig-zag alongside the river or cross it with bridges. This road is simply parallel to the river. The grade is mostly 10%, sometimes more.
Eventually, relief comes in the form of a set of switchbacks.
The south side of Passo Giau has 29 switchbacks. Climbing 3000 feet, it’s pretty comparable to L’Alpe d’Huez. 29 switchbacks vs. 21. 3000 feet vs. 3500 feet. It’s more difficult because the grades are more consistently steep. L’Alpe d’Huez has a pretty long mid-pass rest section where the grades are 3-6%. Passo Giau has no relief.
About halfway up are a few tunnels. One of them perfectly frames the view of a peak which is to the left of the pass.
This year the Giro d’Italia races up Passo Giau. As a result, the road is painted with the names of racers and countless other slogans and graphics. Yep, there is that same peak.
As we approach the top, we see the pass goes way to the right of that peak. Still, the view is beautiful.
We enjoy the view at the top and head down quickly to town. You can see the view from the top here. This time, we were in a rush to get back to town as we were really hungry!
In town, we went to a restaurant that specializes in prosciutto. They have many legs of prosciutto and cut it to order. Prosciutto and fresh mozzarella makes a great sandwich, especially when washed down with cold beer!
Left to right are Dave, Lisa, Rudy, and Jessica.
You probably want to know the ride stats. Including the trip into town, we rode 60 miles and climbed 8600 feet.
We did the same ride last year. You can read that account and see the pictures here.