Unusual outing on the Feltre peaks: this time the protagonist of the excursion is mountain biking.
Given the beautiful day at the end of summer, imagining that there are still many people on our splendid Dolomites, I opted for a well-known itinerary, the Dal refuge Piaz, but with a different ascent than usual.
I arrive at the parking lot of the Croce d'Aune pass above Pedavena and, as I imagined, it is now almost complete. A flood of people is ready to pour into Dal Piaz also because it is its last seasonal opening. I unload the bike, mount the front wheel, last checks and go to the top. My predictions were correct: practically all hikers opt for the path that “cuts” the driveway that leads to the refuge. So, I, nice and quiet, can enjoy the climb in total tranquility. Occasionally I am joined by other cyclists… equipped with comfortable and expensive electric mountain bikes: too easy!
The road, compared to the path, is much longer and adds about 10km overall to and fro. I force myself and keep repeating that afterwards I will be lightning downhill!
In some places I have to get off and continue carrying the bicycle by hand due to the presence of too unstable and outcropping rocks. However, I must say that when I walk I go practically at the same speed as in the saddle ... but with much less effort!
The known path allows me to orient myself and always understand where I am with respect to the final goal and this makes me climb with great tranquility. At an altitude of 1800m a dense and dense fog envelops me and allows me to see only in front of me for a maximum of 100m.
The refuge is close, I know, but I don't see it! And here it is, at first a shapeless shape, then a certainty: I reached the Dal Piaz by mountain bike!
Croce d’Aune, Veneto, Italy
Rifugio Dal Piaz
The refuge was completely attacked by people, so I stayed outside, refreshed myself well and waited for a glimmer of sunshine to enjoy at least a little bit of the view.
And now the fun begins: a nice descent, earned with the almost 1000mt of difference in altitude of the outward journey: off we go.
But the initial enthusiasm did not last long, because an amateur cyclist with his expensive electric bicycle was on my back. I was under pressure and I didn't know if he wanted to pass me or stay in the wake, so while I was checking where he was behind me ... I took a piece of rock well embedded in the ground and flew off the seat!
I didn't do anything luckily, immediately on my feet I checked the mountain bike, cursed the Sunday cyclist and started the descent again. The road leading to the refuge has spectacular views, you can see the sinuous shapes that the road makes, the hairpin bends and the cliffs secured with beautiful dry stone walls. The overhangs in some points are really impressive and cycling them makes the experience even more exciting.
You can't go headlong, you have to keep a constant pace always paying attention to the rocks of different sizes on the track, understand if they are stable or embedded in the ground in fractions of a second. For this reason, the descent was almost more tiring than the climb!
Valbelluna looks like a postcard as soon as you finish a hairpin bend at an altitude of 1500m and here a break is mandatory for a nice photo.
The path continues simple , serene, up to the undergrowth at an altitude of 1200m, the arrival is close ... or almost. Here, in fact, I feel the bike no longer responding well in the front, I check: I got a puncture!
An endless adventure, never banal and with unexpected surprises. In fact, the cause of the puncture is a very sharp nail, in my opinion dating back to the First World War (see photo). I don't get discouraged and change the inner tube with the one I had in reserve, but ... this too is punctured! Now yes I had enough of surprises and unknowns, so I left everything as it was and made the last kilometer with the bicycle by hand to the parking lot!
It was a long time since I had been hiking in bicycle in the mountains and I must say that I was really satisfied and happy (regardless of the misadventures described), but it doesn't have the same taste of an experience made on foot, with a calm and slow pace!
Hikers - Itineraries on paths or evident traces in various types of terrain (pastures, debris, stony ground ...). They are generally marked with paint or cairns (pyramid-shaped stacked stones that allow you to identify the route even from a distance). They can also take place in snowy but only slightly inclined environments. They require the equipment described in the part dedicated to hiking and sufficient orientation skills, walking training for a few hours.