I start riding north along the old road leading to the Brenner pass. As I turn right, away from the traffic, I immediately start ascending gently on an unpaved footpath flanked by an old "muretto a secco" (dry stone wall), a stonewall made of rocks piled up with nothing to glue them together. I now have to cross a trafficked bypass, which joins the Brennero road to the Venice road. This bypass has averted a lot of traffic away from the town, but it also cut a deep scar through the hills east of Trento. There used to be a network of footpaths and tiny roads like this here. The bypass has cut all of them but one.
I cross the road, choosing a favorable moment, and resume ascending. I pass on a paved road for a steep ascent to Martignano, a suburb of Trento. At some points it must go up to 20%, but it's soon over. I turn left along the "Strada del Vino", the Wine Road that goes through the vineyards scattered on the sunny hills east of Trento. Turning further left on a gravel road, I move away from the noise of the Adige Valley.
A fast downhill section becomes steeper and trickier when I meet deep, stone-ridden sand. It's worthwhile to slow down, or stop altogether, to take a look at the simple but really nice landscape around here, that will be missed at speed. Vineyards with the colors of autumn, little streams, small valleys that let you feel you are away from the world. And the town is just over there, behind a rocky hill.
There are no real technical difficulties. Still a few short ramps, and some downhill parts on slightly disconnected road-bed, give you a chance for maintaining your basic skills. This is good training ground, and you can always try to make it faster.
Through small villages and various narrow roads, paved and unpaved, I get to Lavis, where the River Avisio finds its way to the Valley of River Adige. I have to carry my bike on a steep flight of stairs, a breathtaking view of Avisio cutting through the rocky terrain just below me. Once in winter I found the stairs thoroughly iced, and I had to sit and slip down to negotiate this section.
I go through Lavis, a nice little town, and ascend slightly to get to Pressano, a small village in a beautiful vineyard setting. A fast descent brings me back to the Brenner Road. Now I turn left to reach the other side of the valley. I get to Zambana Vecchia, now nearly a ghost town, since a landslide from the mountains above has forced most of the inhabitants to more secure terrain. I take a gravel road that runs level on a tiny strip between the river Adige and the rocky side of the mountain. This side of the valley is not as gentle as the other. Speeding on this road, zig-zagging to dodge the mud puddles, is really fun. Some biggish rocks in the middle of the road, though, make me look with suspicion at the mountain side. I time myself on this gravel road, trying to shave some seconds off my previous record. All in all, I've been able to shave about 20 minutes off the 2 hours 30 the Margoni give as standard trail time.
In a while, I'm back to the town. Good exercise, and time well spent in a relaxing environment, still so close to the busy town. I'll hit this trail again and again. It's close to town, it's not too short and not too long, and very pleasant.