Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Podbela Napoleon Bridge

This is my third attempt on this ride.  The weather was perfect when I left at 0530 and before long I reached San Daniele.  This starts a long stretch of saliscendi along the foothill towns.  At Faedis begins the long ascent to Bocchetta San Antonio.   Then you descend to the Slovenian border at Robidische, where the plummet to Torrente Natisone starts.  Along the deserted road a stone bridge suddenly appeared and I hopped off to explore.  It's a lovely area and very shady even on this sunny day.

The ascent back to San Antnio was tough but I survived.  Then the long looping switchbacks to Faedis, featured in the Giro d'Italia 6 weeks ago.  Ride home was long but not unpleasant.  Good day for a long ride   

World War I memorial at Ragogna

View south from San Antonio

View north of Julian Alps

Napoleon Bridge over Fiume Natisone

Another angle

Climb from Faedis to San Antonio

Climb from Napoleon Bridge to San Antonio

Friday, June 24, 2016

Passo Mauria

I've been wanting to ride the Monte Rest-Passo Mauria-Passo San Osvaldo loop but never got around to it.  Today was my chance.  After Monte Rest you descend and then climb through Ampezzo to Cima Corsa.  Next pass through the long tunnel to Forni di Sotto and climb to Forni di Sopra.  Here you start the climb up past Sorgente di Tagliamento fino a Passo Mauria.  Descend to Lorenzago and then Lozzo di Cadore.  The traffic was lighter than expected here, maybe still too early in the season.  

At Pieve I climbed up through town to avoid the busy tunnels below.  Descending to Sottocastello I joined the via ciclabile and headed south.  They have really fixed up this bike route, pretty impressive.  Down the Cavalera to Perarolo and south on the deserted old route of SS51.   This is shady and less hilly which I was very glad of because I was close to bonking.   Luckily I reached a bar in Ospitale where I bought 3 more liters of cold water.  I thought it might be too much but no, I drank it all on the way home.

The bike route again follows a new route down to Longarone, where they've added a stretch through the gorge of the  Piave.  This would be a great place for a walk/ride with the family.  Soon you reach the final challenge up the switchbacks to Vajont dam and the baking-hot rocky cliffs below Casso.  San Osvaldo was very easy by comparison.  Mostly-downhill Torrente Celina felt like a cool-down ride and  soon I was home.  My neighbor Silvano had arrived from Venezia and baked me a fresh ciambella.  A perfect ending.  

Torrente Chiarzo at Lago di Tramonti

Lago di Tramonti

Torrente Tagliamento from Monte Rest

Cascate above Torrent Tagliamento 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Monte Pizzoc

Finally a break in the rain so I headed for Monte Pizzoc.  Cold air felt great during the ascent but at 1400 meters clouds rolled in and it got nippy.  Still a great ride.   Such a beautiful place.

Hole in the clouds revealing Piancansiglio

The climb from Sarone

Monday, June 13, 2016

Piancavallo-Mezzomonte Paved

Clear sunny morning so I took off for Piancavallo.  I decided I'd continue on to Casera Campo and then turn around at end of pavement.  When I got to the spot however the pavement didn't end.  It kept right on going up the formerly deep-gravel-and-rocks road, past Casera Valle Friz and all the way to the paved road coming up from Mezzomonte.  This is great news because now you can climb up from Polcenigo on a road bike then descend via Piancavallo Road.  Previously the rough descent back to Mezzomonte sucked unless you were on a MTB.   The gravel road toward Il Cansiglio remains, which is probably a good thing if it keeps the car traffic down.

Casera Campo

Casera Valle Friz 

The newly paved road between Campo and Friz

The gap where the hiking trail to Il Cansiglio passes

Heading up toward Col Palse

The turnoff for Mezzomonte

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Last commute to school

Last commute to school this year.  We'll see if I go back in September.  Just won't be the same without Maestra Raffaella, who's retiring.  To mark the occasion I rode home the back way like I used to do.  Slower but more peaceful.

Wheat field near San Foca

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Lago di Verzegnis

Today I rode up Strada di Bottecchia to Lago di Cavazzo and then continued northwest to the start of Sella Chianzutan climb  About half way up I turned on a road marked Lago di Verzegnis.  It's a beautiful turquoise lake surrounded by forested mountains.  After crossing a bridge the road forks and  I chose the one marked 12%.  This turned out to be the average gradient, not max.

Eventually I reached the junction with the main climb. After the sella I headed down to Val d'Arzino with spots of light rain.  At Anduins I turned west and traversed to Clauzetto.  On the descent I hit a pot hole and flatted.  The Zonda front rim was easy to change tubes: not sure about the rear because the sides are taller.  Had a brief rain shower at Grizzo.  Very tired when I got home.
The bridge across the lake.,

Lake view to east

Not Mt Etna;  Cuel di Spirual

Even more volcano-looking

Hmm, think I'll go left

Village above the lake

The deadly climb out of Lago di Verzegnis 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Castello San Salvatore

Today is an Italian holiday so no trucks on the roads: perfect for routes normally too busy to ride safely.  I took off down SS13 (La Pontebbana) toward Conegliano, but deviated to ride some back roads below Bodega di Sant'Urbano.  Predictably I lost my way a few times but it was still fun.  At Conegliano I turned south toward Susegana.  Just below town there's a sign for Castello San Salvatore so I headed up the hill.  The castle is immersed in prosecco vineyards and beautiful trees.  The entrance was closed but possibly the owners allow visitors a few days per year.  I'll look in to it.  

I decided to stay on the main road for the return trip.  Lots of giant black thunderheads looming toward the mountains.  Finally at Sacile it rained moderately and continued until Castello d'Aviano.  I dried out a little on the remainder of the ride.  Great place to visit.

The castle

Prosecco vineyards

Lovely gate tower

The castle tower

The front gate

Prosecco vineyards to the west

Some of the beautiful trees on the castle grounds

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Madonna della Neve

I tried this climb a few years ago but the grass was so high I couldn't find the trail at the top.  This time it hasn't grown as tall yet so it was no problem.  The weather forecast said morning rain but luckily it held off till mid-afternoon.  There are great views from up here.  Looked like there might be a mountain bike trail to descend on so I'll research that.

Monte Ragogna across the Tagliamento

Castelnovo del Friuli rolling hills 

Monte Pala looming above

Chiesetta Madonna della Neve

The ramp from Vito d'Asio to
Madonna della Neve

The total climb 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Monte Frascone

Another favorite climb to Pian delle Femene on Monte Frascone.  Afterwards I descended a few hundred meters and took the concrete/dirt road connecting to Pian dei Grassi road.  From here I climbed a couple of hundred meters to an overlook where I decided to descend and head home.  Gruppo and wheels worked great on this first big climb.  The 11 speed shifters are very comfortable descending on the hoods.

View west from Piane delle Femene

View north from Piane delle Femene

Cottage on dirt road between Monte Frascone road
and Pian dei Grassi road

Alpini memorial by Chiesa di Sant'Andrea in Vittorio Veneto

Monte Frascone climb from Revine Lago

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


This is a favorite local climb to Lago Ca' Selva northwest of Meduno.  After the village of Chievolis you ascend steeply at first, then through a series of saliscendi until you reach the dam.  There is a gravel road on the far side of the dam which isn't great on a road bike but passable.  After a bit it becomes paved again, then ascends steeply to a hard right turn.  This is the beginning of the 0,5 km ramp to Panuch with gradients between 15% and 20%.  At the top is Panuch trailhead, where I rested awhile and headed back.  If you're in the area try  it out.

Snowy Monte Raut from Panuch

Cliffs above the gorge at the dam

Lake is happily full of snowmelt again

Torrente Silesia Gorge

Gorge from a different angle

From the dam to Panuch