Dobbiaco (Day 1)

If all goes as planned with my flights, I should arrive in Venice by 8:30. Assuming my bike arrives intact, I would hope to get to my car rental and be on the road by 10:00. Google maps estimates the drive at only about 2:30. The question of course is how much energy I’ll have left at that point, but even with a quick nap, I hope I can make it out for a quick ride that day and visit the Komponierhäuschen.

There are two decent climbs on that route. They both go up the ridge of hills on the northern side of Toblach, where there appears to be a bunch of mountain resorts and the like, but very few through roads that would go up to the border with Austria. The first—I’m calling it the Ratsberg, though one never knows if there’s a preferred local name—is the longer of the two.

This hill is going to hurt with jet-lag. It would be roughly comparable to the easy (western) side of Lincoln Gap, which is far from an easy climb. But with easy gears, I should manage it. It’s also an out-and-back (up-and-down?) climb, so I suppose I can cut it if I’m really not feeling up to the task.

The next climb goes up from the neighboring town of Niederdorf (Villabassa). (You’ll notice by the way, that all of these towns have both German and Italian names. The Italian names were applied during the Mussolini era for nationalistic reasons. From what I can tell, they’re used interchangeably and German is spoken almost as much as Italian in these parts.) The road name on Google maps, however is Montecosta, so that’s the name I used for the climb. According to the brentacol ratings, this one might actually be harder.

The 36% gradient (which would have a pretty significant effect on the ultimate rating) is almost certainly bogus. But even so, the hill tracks the Eastern (hard) side of Hurricane Mountain pretty closely, and that is a truly nasty climb.

And finally, here’s the short climb up to the composing hut.


3 thoughts on “Dobbiaco (Day 1)

  1. Moved comment from the “about” page to here, which I think it makes more sense (from William Drabkin):

    “I’m not sure how many Europe-based people are following this, or even whether the country from which I am writing this message (England / UK) is in Europe, but I find it odd to see planned rides in Austria and the Dolomites described in terms of feet (altitude) and miles (distance). Would it not be more appropriate to use the metric system to describe routes in this part of the world?”

    My response: you’re probably right, and I have not been very systematic here. I’ve tried to mostly describe the rides in terms of kilometers, but I often default to describing altitude in terms of feet. That is mostly because while I can think in kilometers for distance, I have to make mental calculations to know what an altitude in meters means in feet.

    The other issue is with the RideWithGPS embedded maps. The maps display whatever your account/cookies are set to for RideWithGPS, but I’m not sure what it shows if you haven’t ever used the site–I’m guessing miles/feet.

  2. It was just a thought. But, if it helps (others, too): 100 feet are very slightly more than 30 metres, so 1000 feet are about 300 metres.
    Thus, for instance, an ascent of 7600 feet is approximately equal to (7 x 300) + (6 x 30) = 2100 + 180 = about 2280 metres of climbing.
    The sort of thing to work out in your head while you’re climbing, to take your mind off the difficult task at hand.

  3. Right. The bigger issue for me is that I tend to think in terms of other hills I know. So if a new climb is 2200 feet, I think: “roughly the same as Ascutney.” Or 4500: Mount Washington. So I can do the calculations, I just happen to remember previous climbs based on their elevations in feet, not meters. But after a week in Europe, maybe that will change.

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