For my second day in the Dolomites, the real riding begins. It will also be the first attempt to recreate a ride by Mahler. This one is from after the Loiblpass ride, in July, 1902. Here is the citation from de la Grange:
At the end of July Mahler took a break from work to visit Toblach in Southern Tyrol once more. From there we went, probably by bicycle, to Lake Misurina, at an altitude of 1,700 metres, and one of the loveliest places in the whole Dolomite range. He walked around the shore of the little lake looking up at the rugged peaks of the Cristallino, the Cadini, and the legendary Drei Zinnen. The beauty of the landscape moved him so much that he decided to return to it each summer, whenever he felt he needed a few days rest from composing.
My route starts by following the most direct route up to Lake Misurina, the one I imagine Mahler would have taken. That road looks to be rather busy, but not too steep. It starts with about 10k of false flats before kicking up a bit more for the final 8 or 9 km.
That is as far as Mahler went, but right at Lake Misurina, there is a turn-off for a rather famous climb from the Giro d’Italia. The climb goes up to the Rifugio Auronzo, but is known in the cycling world as the Tre Cime di Lavorado (the Drei Zinnen mentioned by de la Grange). In the Giro, however, the usual approach is from the south and Cortina d’Ampezzo, not Toblach. It was last used in 2013, when the stage was almost cancelled due to snow—meaning there’s a chance I won’t get up there. The summit is at 7600 feet!
After that ride, I pack up my car and leave for Sutrio.