The reason for going up to Pawigl/Pavicolo (1152m) in the evening before was not simply for sleeping up in the mountain, but for visiting the end of the asphalt road (and contrary to the mountain biker I met on the way up, I thought it was too late in the evening for that, partly because I wanted to have something to eat while the kitchen was still open), but also because I was not sure whether I would continue beyond the asphalt end of the road and I was not totally certain where it was.
The road is very nice above where I stayed as it was mostly through the woods up to the Pawigler Wirt. I continued straight up (and not checking out the side road in Pawigl) and the asphalt ended just where I had though at 1486m (a side road that is paved there goes to a house and descends and maybe climbs a little, but this is really the end of asphalt). The road from Pawigl is not allowed for unauthorized vehicles, but cycling is fine. The gravel looked better than I had thought it to be so I continued to see if it stayed the same or not.
I had seen only a photo or two from a turn-off to a restaurant near the end of the climb and it had looked rather stony there, but the gravel road was mostly fine all the way and I had no particular problem to climb up with my road bike. Just near the end was a bit steep place, but otherwise fairly evenly steep and also there were good views, partly because of fallen trees again. I could enjoy the views more on the way down though. In the photo above I am just below the highly placed church (1792m) at Vigiljoch (to which I had to walk up). And beside here is the Vigiljoch (1744m) pass sign.
Views from the top church up the Vinschgau/Val Venosta. One could possibly go up (and down) on the Vinschgau side too via Aschbach/Rio Lagundo (1368m, asphalt end), but I heard from one person who got lost there and the road was less likely a good one, also the climb would not be as long and demanding as from Lana (313m), even if one could climb from Forst/Foresta (358m) or Algund/Lagundo (320m). It looked like the road down there was worse, but did not quite check for certain.
This is the view over the Merano/Meran area.
This is the view down where I came up (to the right, but later to the left).
I went a bit in the direction of lift station going up from Lana, but not much point, so turned around. There is another road going up to the station from Pawigl that I was not totally sure it was not asphalted, but likely not (therefore I did not try it first).
From an open area at Vigiljoch just above the pass one had perhaps the best of the views (down south).
The views were better than I had noticed on the way up along the gravel road and I can much recommend this road in fine weather even to road cyclists. Very few gravel roads in the Dolomites are otherwise worthwhile (just outside the Dolomites here, but they are in sight).
Sometimes you are happy some trees have fallen … but less damage here fortunately.
Steep mountainsides here. Looking here in the direction of Hofmahdjoch/Passo Castrin.
The nicest section between the Pawigler Wirt and the Pawigl/Pavicolo village.
I had decided to try and for once stay on the west side down toward Bolzano which has some smaller less busy roads than the road (via Terlano) on the other side. I had to look a lot on my map as I had really tried to take the road choice very closest to the mountainside all the way and at one point that meant I had to deal with a gravel road shortly that was closed to traffic (I had thought it was all asphalted), but one could have taken other roads. Anyway, when I came out of the last mentioned road I took this photo at Unterrein/Riva di Sotto where it looked kind of lonely and exotic even if I was close to very busy areas.
It was now very warm also, but I stopped for coca-cola and yoghurt earlier in Nals/Nalles (from where there are some nice roads to climb too, like Mendelpass/Passo Palade, that I only climbed from Lana).
This time I started at a good place for climbing the Passo della Mendola/Mendelpass (1366m) properly (as I have always been coming there from the other side before). The starting point was just after Unterrein/Riva di Sotto (246m). I stopped for filling up water in St. Michael/San Michele (that one short-cuts up through here).
It is a long climb and now it was very warm so had to take it somewhat easy, but it is not a steep climb. There were many other cyclists out on the road and managed to overtake a few, but only slowly. Here stopping for a photo at the nicest place along the climb.
When I finally arrived at the pass I knew full well I was supposed to continue straight up to Torre Belvedere del Pénegal (1726m), but was hoping to find a reason for stopping, but did not and found the road to take even though I shortly wondered as it looked like it only went to the back of a house there at first and all seemed to ignore the road coming up. Here I am up at the top. Had thought many times of going here, but often the weather have been a problem.
I wondered about the road when I started on the climb as it did not look very good, but it was also not steep as I had thought it should be. After a while a car passed me by and I realised this is the right road after all. close to half-way up the road does start to get steep and then only steeper until the end. It is a really tough climb when combined with climbing the Mendola/Mendelpass! I really had to fight to get up there with up to around 20% at the end.
There were a couple of people up here so was lucky to have someone again take a photo of me. Soon thereafter another cyclists came up and then another one, so some others also went here. I talked briefly with one of the cyclists that were from Innsbruck, Austria.
Here looking down over the Lago di Caldaro/Kalterer See. Took many photos, but it was really nice here today.
Again the Bolzano/Bozen area. I had a long way down the other side to Valle di Non/Nonstal and hoped to find some nice ice cream place to stop by, but did not find much so just continued down to Taio where I bought a coca-cola, but found no good place there either after looking around. I had planned to visit also here the Rifugio Predaia (1409m) and the so-called Passo Predaia (1252m) (that was in the Giro d’Italia too, but despite the pass sign it is hard to claim it is a real pass). Anyway, I was getting late and needed to cut out some more things from my plan and this had to go.
I went down to Mezzolombardo (224m) and searched for a bike shop before it got too late as I had noticed I needed new SPD-SL cleats for my shoes – the left cleat came loose regularly now and I had been stupid not buying new in Merano as they seemed ok still then. They did not have anything in the shops there for Shimano, but got directions to a shop in Lavis, which I eventually found and they helped me put on the new cleats, but only had yellow ones (I prefer the red ones which doesn’t move, which in my experience have been better for the knees if one place them exactly right).
I continued down to Trento (188m), but really needed something before going up the mountains in the evening, but again saw no good place near the bridge and start up to Monte Bondone. Went back over the bridge and ordered a beer at a bar next to the bridge which was a busy place with live music, but it was good enough for me now. Nice evening, but was not going to stay the night in Trento for sure, so had to move on shortly again. It was after 19 when I left Trento on the ay up to Monte Bondone and I surely had no other cyclists on this otherwise very popular road with cyclists. Nice views here early on the climb!
One is not allowed to continue up the valley with tunnels not going to Monte Bondone with a bicycle for no apparent reason, which I did not care about another time, but this time I was obedient and took the road up to Monte Bondone where one could depart down from at a small pass called Passo Camponcino (811m), but it is a long demanding detour to reach the Baselga-Terlago-Vezzano area. Still I did not feel too hurried as I merely needed to find some place for the night on the other side there. Photo here on the way down from the pass.
There were some places in Sopramonte, but they did not look very inviting so continued to Cadine (by mistake as I missed the turn-off for Baselga), but found nothing there. Then I continued on the main road (still not allowed for a while for some really stupid reason – one wonders why the authorities in the Trento area hates cyclists when their economy is partly reliant on them … ) to Vigolo-Baselga where there were a somewhat big hotel, but not expensive and stopped there for the night. The food was not the best, but the asked me if I wanted to bring the bike to the room, which was ok.