Fonzaso — the location of the Castelli HQ. When searching for this destination on the map, one would not expect to find the home of a leading cycling apparel company or a fantastic area for bike riding. But on second glance it becomes obvious that the southern foothills of the Dolomites offer some of the best cycling playgrounds in the world. Being coming from someone who’s been by Salzkammergut and Salzburg a true cycling paradise that’s a significant statement.
Contrary to the widespread belief that we are riding bikes every day (some even believe all day), we enjoy our beautiful surroundings during our lunchtime rides or a post-work spin in the evening.
It is not unusual that we test prototypes or new concepts during those rides. The Croce d’Aune loop is also the perfect opportunity to get some fresh air at lunch or test myself after a hectic day in the office. When riding the loop clockwise, there is not much time for an easy warm-up before the ascent kicks off. After leaving Fonzaso toward Fiera di Primiero and turning left (to avoid the main road’s tunnel), the shortcut up to the top of Croce d’Aune with a moderate gradient helps me quickly find my own rhythm. The road up to Faller is in good condition and offers numerous views down to the valley. I usually avoid the direct way up to the top, which has bad road conditions, and continue descending toward Servo.
Back on the road that leads up from Sorriva, the striking church tower of Aune can be seen soon and is an unmistakable sign that the road will steepen. On a good day it’s the perfect section for an attack or test to the legs. After moving to Italy I quickly found out that a 12-25 cassette and sporadic training a bad combination. I still remember my first ride up Croce d’Aune back in 2012, the day after the Castelli 24H race when I was persuaded to join a group in pouring rain. I wouldn’t have survived that ride without my Gabba jersey. Back then I didn’t have time to stop at the summit to check the Campagnolo monument, commemoration of the invention of the quick release by Tullio Campagnolo. Think of it at your next wheel change.
Depending on the weather, effort and time available, a restaurant at pass altitude provides an opportunity for refreshments, snacks or a quick coffee stop. The descent down to Pedavena is pure fun: the perfect road acts as an invitation for a high-speed adrenaline rush. Back down in the valley, as part of a lunch ride when I’m doing this loop I usually opt for the fastest possible way back to the office. If you can dedicate more time, a stop at one of the typical Italian bars is worth it.
This loop is just an example of the countless riding options we can choose from when escaping from daily life.
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