From: Len Colamarino
Re: Rides at the Italian Cycling Center
--Enego-Foza. This ride covers approximately 56 miles, and includes about 4305 feet of elevation gain. There is a climb of about 14 to 15 miles, with 21 numbered switchbacks (tornanti in Italian). The descent is challenging, to say the least. The ride also has some long stretches of relatively flat terrain along the west bank of the Brenta river. The scenery is spectacular and diverse.
--The almond cookie ride. This ride covers about 46 miles, with some 3322 feet of elevation gain. There is one especially long stretch of steady climbing--probably 10 miles or so--but the grade is gentle enough so that the ride can remain social. The long, winding ascent takes you up and around the rim of the Asiago plateau. An exhilarating 10 mile descent follows. At the end of the climb we stop at a cafe with extraordinary almond cookies. The terrain and unique ambience of the area make a lasting impression.
--Follina. This ride is approximately 51 miles and has about 3300 feet of elevation gain. It takes you across the Piave river valley, then on rolling roads which wind their way through terraced hillsides covered with vineyards, in the heart of the Prosecco wine country. The ride includes a stop for lunch in a charming, out-of-the-way restaurant . The price is minimal, and the usual fare includes a plate of exceptional orecchieti with a light pomodoro sauce, complemented by fresh, still (as opposed to sparkling) Prosecco drawn directly from the barrel.
--Passo Rolle. This ride consists of a climb in the Dolomites, followed by a descent on the same route you took up. We drive to a well-chosen point of departure, from where you start climbing very gradually before embarking on a steady, switchbacked climb of about 13 miles. You end up at an elevation of around 6,625 feet, in a spectacular mountain pass. Lunch is taken at a restaurant at the summit. Then you get to enjoy a terrific descent. Total distance is approximately 40 miles, with an entire elevation gain of 4700 feet.
The preceding four rides really need to be experienced for your trip to the Italian Cycling Center to be complete. Additionally, there are two other classic rides to try to fit in. The Montello ride covers about 55 miles of scenic terrain. including a long stretch on a bike path along a charming canal. Elevation gain on that ride is a little under 2000 feet. The Lake Ride is a ride of comparable length and elevation gain-- unfortunately, I don't have exact figures for that ride. It includes a nice climb of a mile or so and some very attractive country.
In addition, there are several variations of a ride in the Dolomites which includes the famous Croce d'Aune climb. The ride features a visit to a monument to Tullio Campagnolo. The variation of the ride which I have taken involves driving to a selected starting point, and ascending about 3100 feet in the course of covering some 32 miles. Again, most of the vertical gain comes in one long climb.
Then there is Monte Grappa. There are three ways up that I have explored:
There is a whole book of rides. If you want some harder ones than those which I have described, there are ones to accomodate you. There are also easier rides designed for touring and for recovery days. If at all possible you should try to fit in at least two of those rides which take you to the factories. One takes you to the Scapin factory. Another takes you to the Giessegi clothing factory and Scapin store. As I recall, both rides are in the range of 40 to 45 miles with vertical gain between 1100 and 1500 feet. Spinning those flat routes in a relaxed manner provides a good break between some of the harder rides, and the stops along the way at the cycling and cultural attractions keeps them interesting.