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U.S. versus Italy for mountain rides?



 
 
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  #1  
Old October 31st 05, 09:46 PM
Ken Roberts
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Default U.S. versus Italy for mountain rides?

I put some photos of my September trip with Sharon to northeastern Italy in
Veneto and Sudtirol up on the web. Then I saw photos from California and
Colorado, and that got me thinking:

Are there some paved roads in the United States with mountain views as
spectacular (or more?) as the Dolomites in Italy?

It would be nice to know, in case the USdollar drops further against the
Euro, or aviation fuel prices make going to Italy or France too expensive.

So like what's a paved mountain loop in the U.S. that's in the same league
with say this ride over the Giau, Fedaia, Sella, Gardena, and Valparola
passes:
http://roberts-1.com/t/b05/it/k/c

I'd be happy to see someone substitute a more spectacular Dolomites route or
better set of Dolomites cycling photos than those. In addition to the
obvious fact that I'm not an expert photographer, and I've only been riding
there once so far, most people would say September is not the best time for
the Dolomites. I'd guess that June is more spectacular, with more snow on
more of the mountains. But that route is what impressed me the most.

Ken


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  #2  
Old November 1st 05, 12:27 AM
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Default U.S. versus Italy for mountain rides?

Ken Roberts writes:

I put some photos of my September trip with Sharon to northeastern
Italy in Veneto and Sudtirol up on the web. Then I saw photos from
California and Colorado, and that got me thinking:


Are there some paved roads in the United States with mountain views
as spectacular (or more?) as the Dolomites in Italy?


I suppose that depends on the viewer and what is exciting. The
vertical to horizontal scale in the Alps as a whole is several times
that of most mountainous regions of the USA with individual exceptions
such as the grand canyon. Even that has a greater horizontal scale
than huge canyons in the alps. In the rockies one points to the
nearby mountain tops raising one's are 10 to 15 feet above the
horizontal, in the Alps seeing the nearby mountain top requires
stepping out from under the eves of the house.

It would be nice to know, in case the US dollar drops further against
the Euro, or aviation fuel prices make going to Italy or France too
expensive.


So like what's a paved mountain loop in the U.S. that's in the same
league with say this ride over the Giau, Fedaia, Sella, Gardena, and
Valparola passes:


http://roberts-1.com/t/b05/it/k/c


I'd be happy to see someone substitute a more spectacular Dolomites
route or better set of Dolomites cycling photos than those. In
addition to the obvious fact that I'm not an expert photographer,
and I've only been riding there once so far, most people would say
September is not the best time for the Dolomites. I'd guess that
June is more spectacular, with more snow on more of the mountains.
But that route is what impressed me the most.


I think the entire route from Nice to Slovenia offers roads and
landscapes that are not found elsewhere.

Your picture show some of the highlights in more than oriental
splendor. Some tales of the past:

http://www.trentobike.org/Countries/...r_of_the_Alps/

You can follow the weather on the Stelvio day and night in the winter
on this site:

http://webcam.popso.it/stelvio.php?PASSOEST

and the beauties of the central alps:

http://www.topin.ch/scripts/big_img.php?bild=ZER.JPG

Ride bike!

Jobst Brandt
  #3  
Old November 1st 05, 02:47 AM
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Default U.S. versus Italy for mountain rides?

I haven't done nearly as much cycling in Europe as Jobst, but I have
cycled the Dolomites, the French Pyrenees and a litte bit of the Alps.
In North America, I've cycled the Canadian Rockies, Selkirk Mountains,
Cape Breton Is., U.S. Rockies, Blue Ridge Mountains, Southern Arizona,
Cascades Range, and the Sierra-Nevada. I have recent reports for a lot
of these regions in my travelogue: http://www.steephill.tv with the
remaining reports to be posted this winter.

In my opinion, there are a lot of great bike rides in North America,
but they aren't quite as good as Europe. However, on a beautiful sunny
day I could have an amazing ride at any of the North American spots I
listed.

Steve
http://www.steephill.tv bike travelogue

  #4  
Old November 3rd 05, 10:43 AM
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Default U.S. versus Italy for mountain rides?

Let me add to my answer.

"Are there some paved roads in the United States with mountain
views as
spectacular (or more?) as the Dolomites in Italy?"

The Stelvio (Dolomites of course) from both sides is the best road and
view combination I've ever cycled and I don't know whether it can be
matched. The "Stella Ring" is very special as well.

Crater Lake, six hours from the Bay Area, is my favorite ride in North
America. Here are some of my favorite mountain views in North America
while riding a road bike from trip reports I've posted:

Crater Lake: http://tinyurl.com/benyw
Kings Canyon: http://tinyurl.com/9n8ct and http://tinyurl.com/8unso
Monitor Pass: http://tinyurl.com/c6ag5

Of course, one photograph is not enough to get the "complete picture"
so you should view some other photos in the trip reports which you can
do by clicking "return to gallery" for each of the above photos.

Steve
http://www.steephill.tv

  #5  
Old November 3rd 05, 11:05 AM
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Default U.S. versus Italy for mountain rides?

I didn't answer your question directly in my first reply. Let me try
again.

"Are there some paved roads in the United States with mountain
views as
spectacular (or more?) as the Dolomites in Italy?"

I mentioned, I have cycled the Dolomites including the Stelvio and the
"Sella Ring". Both the road and landscape up and over the Stelvio is
really spectacular and it's the best I've done. But, as the saying
goes, variety is the spice of life and North America has does have
variety. Just 6 hours from the Bay Area is Crater Lake which I think is
in a class by itself (by North America standards). The view looking
down the north side of Monitor pass is really nice. I also think the
descent down Kings Canyon is spectacular.

Here are some of my favorite North America mountain views from posted
trip reports:

Crater Lake: http://tinyurl.com/benyw
Kings Canyon: http://tinyurl.com/9n8ct and http://tinyurl.com/8unso
Monitor Pass: http://tinyurl.com/c6ag5

Of course, you really can't capture a great view in one photograph so
you should check out the trip reports if you want the "complete
picture".

Steve
http://www.steephill.tv

  #6  
Old November 4th 05, 06:11 PM
Ken Roberts
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Default U.S. versus Italy for mountain rides?

Thanks for your reports over years of riding through the mountains Italy,
Jobst, since they were a big reason why I decided to try riding in that
area -- to see why you kept going back there instead of other places I
liked.

Jobst Brandt wrote
The vertical to horizontal scale in the Alps as a whole
is several times that of most mountainous regions of the USA


Yes generally, though there are some mountain groups in the western USA
with dramatic steepness comparable to the Dolomites -- like the Mt Whitney
and Palisades groups on the eastside of the California Sierras, or the
Picketts and some other groups in the Washington Cascades. But they
typically don't have a public road that goes through their midst like in the
Dolomites.

Or in a mountain range in the USA you find one pass for bicycling, like
Washington Pass with the dramatic Liberty Bell group in the north
Cascades -- but not the sustained experience of going through such steep
mountains over several passes in a long satisfying route. Actually the USA
does have extended routes through multiple dramatic mountain passes: for
hikers.

the beauties of the central alps:
http://www.topin.ch/scripts/big_img.php?bild=ZER.JPG


Isn't that photo an example of what I'm talking about? Great great mountain
view, but I don't think there's a way to ride a bicycle to within four miles
of where it was shot from.

Some tales of the past:
http://www.trentobike.org/Countries/...r_of_the_Alps/


I enjoyed that page -- especially Jobst's first climb up Stelvio.

Grand Canyon. Even that has a greater horizontal scale
than huge canyons in the alps.


America does have a valley deeper than the Grand Canyon, one which even has
a wide well-paved road through it: Route 395 in California. In some parts
the mountains on both sides rise up 2500-3000 meters above the road -- and
it is rather pretty especially with lots of snow on the peaks in early
spring. But it only serves to confirm Jobst's point: The Owens River valley
is much wider than it is deep. The road doesn't get you really close up to
the steepness, so I haven't felt the urge to ride it.

Ken


  #7  
Old November 4th 05, 06:27 PM
Ken Roberts
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Default U.S. versus Italy for mountain rides?

Steve wrote
on a beautiful sunny day I could have an amazing ride
at any of the North American spots I listed.


Yes, I find that at some point my internal "spectacular scenery" meter just
hits it's maximum, and I'm feeling as good about the scenery as I possibly
can in my limited human capacity. And my meter hits that maximum in terrain
significantly less dramatic than the Dolomites. On lots of good days riding
in the mid-Hudson valley, I intellectually know that it's not the Alps or
the west coast of Corsica, but the shortfall just doesn't matter to me,
since I'm happy out riding in a place which is pretty enough for my meter.

Here are some of my favorite North America mountain views
from posted trip reports:
Crater Lake: http://tinyurl.com/benyw
Kings Canyon: http://tinyurl.com/9n8ct and http://tinyurl.com/8unso
Monitor Pass: http://tinyurl.com/c6ag5


Crater Lake does look great -- thanks for the excellent photos. It confirms
my idea that the mountains are most spectacular in the springtime with a
little snow on them to provide contrast against green and blue and brown,
and that I like riding alongside water.

Kings Canyon does looks dramatic (even better with a little snow, I bet) --
and I hadn't thought of it, maybe because it's an out-and-back ride that
doesn't fit into a larger loop route.

Hope I get an excuse to ride and skate in California someday.

Ken


  #8  
Old November 5th 05, 03:51 AM
steephill
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Default U.S. versus Italy for mountain rides?

"On lots of good days riding
in the mid-Hudson valley, I intellectually know that it's not the Alps
or
the west coast of Corsica, but the shortfall just doesn't matter to
me,
since I'm happy out riding in a place which is pretty enough for my
meter."

You're not far from Vermont and the Green Mountains. Lots of great
riding there. One of my favorite rides in the Northeast can't be more
than 100 miles from you. It's a 70 mi loop I started for Woodford State
Park (just east of Bennington). Here's a google map of the loop:
http://tinyurl.com/9ytld (it mostly follows the roads Google has
highlighted in yellow). It goes Woodford-Searsberg-Readsboro-(cross the
VT/MA border)-Monroe-Whitingham-Wilmington-Woodford. Beautiful (very
hilly) backroads in rural Vermont. Very nice!!

By the way, there was a typo in my 2nd post: "Stella Ring" should read
"Sella Ring". I guess I still had the Stelvio on my mind. Also, the
Crater Lake picture I pointed you to is a nice one but here's my
favorite: http://tinyurl.com/a33xp.

cheers,
Steve
http://www.steephill.tv bike travelogue

  #9  
Old November 5th 05, 05:04 AM
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Default U.S. versus Italy for mountain rides?

Steve Hill writes:

By the way, there was a typo in my 2nd post: "Stella Ring" should
read "Sella Ring". I guess I still had the Stelvio on my mind.
Also, the Crater Lake picture I pointed you to is a nice one but
here's my favorite:


http://tinyurl.com/a33xp.

That looks like it was take about the same time the other picture was
because the reflected clouds are the same. That's an amazingly calm
day. It reminds me of riding around Lago di Poschiavo on the south
side of the Bernina pass, arriving around noon in aptly named Miralago
on an unusually windstill day.

Judging from the name of the town, the scene must be common in early
morning, but then I seldom get there at that time. This time I took
the photo so that the Bernina Massif was reflected around the central
horizon in the frame. I was greatly pleased to have experienced
Miralago after all these years.

I can't show you the picture but this is the scene:

http://www.miralago.ch/index1.htm
http://mypage.bluewin.ch/dampfromant...ie/seite37.htm

Jobst Brandt
  #10  
Old November 5th 05, 09:44 AM
steephill
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Default U.S. versus Italy for mountain rides?

Jobst Brandt wrote
That looks like it was take about the same time the other picture was
because the reflected clouds are the same. That's an amazingly calm
day.


Yes, they were taken the same day. It was a calm day, but it can be
very windy at Crater Lake especially in the afternoon. As you know,
it's no coincidence that the most spectacular rides are accompanied by
great weather. It was an amazing day... the best ever on the bike, for
me, in North America.

I just happened to do a image search on google using the keywords:
"cloud reflections" (http://tinyurl.com/avt3x) and had to chuckle
looking at the results. The #1 photo is another photo from my Crater
Lake photo gallery on that day. Here is a link to the complete gallery
and more reflection shots if anybody is interested:
http://www.steephill.tv/galleries/2005/crater-lake/

This time I took the photo so that the Bernina Massif was reflected
around the central horizon in the frame. I was greatly pleased to
have experienced Miralago after all these years.... I can't show you
the picture but...


I'm sure it's a good one just like your others. I find reflection shots
intriguing because they are natural art. Here's a mountain reflection
shot I think is one of the best by an Alaskan photographer:
http://www.wanderingphotographer.com.../ak3/pic10.htm.

By the way, did you notice the reference to you in the Crater Lake
photo gallery? http://tinyurl.com/8u4xv

Steve

 




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