Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sentiero Pagnoca MTB/Hike

I Parked at Villa di Villa and climbed up to Rugolo, then headed toward Montaner.  On the edge of town is a settlement called Val Borgo with an Orthodox church.  Turn right and begin climbing steeply.  After a few km I arrived at Casera di Fai and explored, lookingfor a short cut.  No luck.  I descended a bit and traversed west to the chiesetta on Sentiere Pagnoca.  Here you must dismount and push your bike up a rocky trail until joining another concrete road, very steep.  Eventually you  reach the end of the road.  This begins the hike up CAI 1061, named Pagnoca after a partigiano fighter in WW II.  Lots of bike carrying uphill.  It’s a good workout, much more variety of muscle strain than usual bike riding.  Eventually it opens up in sunny beech forest,  which I thought was near Cima della Cima.  After descending a dirt road a I joined a well-paved road but  wasn’t sure where.  After ascending a bit I recognized the intersecting road from Col Oliver:  I was on Strada dei Patriarchi.  I descended to Villa di Villa, very tired.

Casera di Fae

Chiesetta on Sentiero Pagnoca

Faggio in autumn with deep blue sky

Steep climb

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Cadolten da Sonego MTB

My second attempt on Cadalton from Sonego, the more difficult approach.  Last time was a couple of years ago and I remember having to stop to rest several times.  Today I rode it without setting a foot down,  so that’s progress.

At the top Cataldon had a few cm of snow which I walked through.  Then at the Casa Forestale the road was plowed the rest of the way.  After La Crosetta I continued to Strada dei Patriarchi, beautiful and deserted on this sunny autumn day.  What a wonderful workout through gorgeous scenery!

Cadolten beech trees in the snow

The upper end of Strada dei Patriarchi

Cordignano castello

Total climb

The hardest hour:  5.6 km averaging 14%

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Ciavalir, Val de Lama MTB Hike

Today a MTB ride, a steep rough hike, up into the clouds, snow above 1500 meters.  I started with a ride to Dardago, then turned left toward Al Ciastelat restaurant.  This becomes a dirt road climbing steeply to  Mezzomonte.  A couple of hunters were out with their beautiful  bird dogs and shotguns.  At Mezzomonte cemetery I headed upward on the paved road, then right  on CAI 984.  After end of pavement I continued riding until it became too steep and muddy, then I pushed.  A few hikers who’d climbed up from Via San Tome above Dardago passed in the opposite direction.

Now the steep hiking/bike pushing begins.  This is great exercise, using muscles I often neglect.  I’ll admit I was fantasizing about a foldable mountain bike I could carry on my backpack, yet I persisted. Eventually I reached Ciavalir, a ruin of a stone farmhouse, surrounded by meadows encircled by piled-stone walls.   I continued steeply upward to Casera Val de Lama at 1100 meters.  I got confused by the electric fence routing but crawled through with bike without getting shocked.  After a short dirt road I rejoined the paved road up from Mezzomonte cemetery.  This ascends steeply and soon reached the Panaramica Piancavallo-Cansiglio in a dense fogbank.

I pedaled  through the fog until snow at 1500 meters where I donned my cold weather gear.  I froze down the slope past Casera Campo then Sauc and Piancavallo to Pedemontana and home.  Unpacking I noticed my phone missing, so drove all the way past Rifugio Valle Friz, where the phone was in the snow where I’d dropped it.  I was amazed the Mini could make it through all those drainage channels, it’s never been past Piancavallo.

Meadows at Ciavalir

Ruin of farmhouse

Piled stone walls

More piled stone walls

Close up of meadows

1500 meters, the spot where I found my phone

Long climb, including over an hour of pushing
bike steeply upward

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


I needed to ops check my new license plate holder (see below) so I drove  to Villa di Villa.   After the easy climb to Fratte di Fregona I rode through the edge of Vittorio Veneto to Chiesa di Sant'Andrea, then turned right.  Here starts a very steep climb to Via Piadera, followed by some sali scendi to Ciser.  After Sonego I headed up toward Osigo, then saw a side road and thought it was a short cut.  No, it was a dead end.  Then I coasted down to Fratte again and found the backroad through Buse and Borgo Dari to Villa di Villa.  Pretty fun.  And the license plate didn't fall off on the drive home.

Santuario di Sant'Augusta
Nice hike up there with stairs

Vineyard below Il Cansiglio
Montaner is on the cliffs the to right

Been carrying my bikes like this for 5 years.
Suddenly within a week 2 different Carabineri
have stopped me and mentioned I need to make
 the tag visible when carrying bikes.  They are right
and were very cool about not fining me.  

I mounted the repeater plate on my Thule rack

The hard part above Sant'Andrea

Friday, November 3, 2017

Venezia delle Nevi MTB

Sunny cool day perfect for a tough climb.  The first section is paved, rising from Dardago, past Chiesa di San Tome to end of pavement at 584 meters.   This brings you to a trailhead, a gravel road heading steeply upward.  I managed pretty well up to around 700 meters eleveation, but then the trail becomes less dirt and gravel and more rockpile.  I fought my way upward awhile and then realized I would go faster with less effort just pushing my bike.  I think one of those moon tire bikes might work, but the weight of the tires and wheels might be even worse.  So I continued like this, with a few brief riding attempts, most of the way up to 1000 meters elevation.  Here the trail becomes a bit less steep and less rocky.  Eventually you intersect the paved road from Casera Campo to Piancavallo.  I coasted down to Bornass and then took the backroad past Madonna della Monte.  Very tired now.

Beautiful Croda di San Tome

4-Season Favorite Training Ride
Via San Tome 

Strada della Venezia delle Nevi

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Monte Jouf MTB

A cloudy and cool Tutti Santi, perfect for MTBing.  I rode through the long tunnel to Andreis and then ascended to Pala Barzana.  Here I turned off toward Monte Jouf, on an excellent rough gravel road.  I eventually reached the grassy meadows of the summit and continued upward to the highpoint, 1230 meters.  I descended down the southern side, which has a switchbacking gravel road all the way to Maniago.  Great workout with some beautiful scenery.   

Monte Raut above Pala Barzana

Summit cross

West toward Ravedis and Giais

Torrente Cellina riverbed

The climb

Monday, October 30, 2017

Above Rifugio Vallata

Cross the dam at Barcis and ride along the south shore until you reach Rifugio Vallata.  Don't turn into the rifugio though, ride past it 10 or 20 meters then turn left on the narrow paved lane.  This is a very cool climb because the road is constantly changing direction and pitch.  It's the opposite of those well- graded stacks of tornanti you see on other climbs: this thing is all over the place.

I was holding my own on the road bike until the junction with the dirt road from Rifugio La Pala at 766 meters, where I went into vapor lock.   I was comfortably hyperventilating when a heard some noise high above, looked up and saw a large John Deere tractor braking down the grade with a trailer full of large faggio logs.  So I'd unwittingly  chosen a good spot for my crisis, as this tractor was as wide as the road (which has no shoulders, only immediate forested slopes). 

Before long I was underway again and made it up to 927 meters, ending on a not too steep stretch of gravel road.  I remembered from MTBing up here a few years ago it gets very steep and rough right after this.  

The descent was dreamy if cold, even with full winter kit (except shoe covers).  Must repeat in late Spring after snowmelt.   

Reflective lake

View east

The steepness 

First time on Michelin Power Endurance,
great traction

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Casera Resettum

The mountains around Claut seem particularly wild to me.  Maybe it's because Claut is almost completely surrounded by peaks, with only Valcellina offering an escape route.  The most prominent peak blocking the southern flank is Monte Resettum, which I'm making my third attempt on today.

After parking at Claut I rode toward Lesis, missing the turn off and ending up at the fossilized dinosaur footprint trailhead.  I backtracked and finally found the hidden turn.  The road is concrete at first, then turns to sterrata.  It's steep but I just put the bike in low gear and kept spinning.  Near the area where I  was previously defeated by deep snow (in May 2015) I topped out and continued on to Casera Resettum.  The forest opens up here and you can see 360 degrees of mountains.  I was most impressed. 

The ride down was fun.  I passed some Corpo Forestale officers in a stopped Land Rover, then later they passed me on the steep dirt road.  Later I came around a bend and the road was now blocked by a large tree a fellow had cut down.  The Corpo Forestale guys waved me on and seemed disappointed I dismounted instead of using my trials bike skills to climb up and over this 3 foot diameter trunk.  

This is a beautiful ride which I will try next summer to connect Forcella Clautana with the trail to Lago Ca' Selva.  I'm confident I can do it, but  I need to wait for longer days to come around.      

Coming from Claut make this dogleg turn onto the gravel road

Mountains to west of Casera Resettum

View east from Casera Resettum


View southwest

Spectacular Monte Resettum

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Monte Cuar MTB

This is a classic ride into the mountains rising above the Tagliamento River.  I parked at Cornino and warmed up through Peonis before turning left toward Cjanet.  This is a paved stack of switchbacks, I'm guessing built by Italian military.  Around 490 meters an unmarked rough gravel road veers off acutely, immediately heading upward.  Today was extra fun because the stones were covered by a thick layer of spiny chestnut husks.  They seemed to provide some extra cushion to the surface.

Eventually this road joins the paved road from Monte Prat to Avasins.  I couldn't remember the route so I followed the signs to Malga Cuar.  This turns out to be the hiking trail CAI 815, which is steep and too rough to MTB.  After awhile I came to my senses and hiked back to the road with my heavy bike.  After more aimless riding I turned around and found the gravel road I was looking for, unmarked except for a Malga Cuar sign pointing in the wrong direction.  

Now the sun was shining, the road was not too steep, and all was well again.  Up and up it goes until it wraps around to the north slope, shady and cool.  This time the cushioning  is supplied by a deep layer of fallen faggio (beech) leaves, which sounded almost like crunching snow as I passed through them.

Finally the levels off some, the beech leaves give way to grassland, and a spectacular panorama opens up. To the north, east, and west  mountains are everywhere, while to the south, the steep grassy slopes of Monte Cuar and Monte Flagjel filled the field of view.

It was cold and I bundled up quickly.  The ride down was gorgeous and easy.  No need to avoid rocks like on a road bike, just let it roll.  I'll try to return next summer and hike to the summit.

Do not turn right for Malga Cuar; construction is complete,
you can go straight ahead on the gravel road

View to north

Toward Cuar

Lago Cavazzo, Monte Festa, Monte San Simeone

Flagjel summit looks easy

Climb from  river bank to
Monte Prat-Avasins road

Climb to near Malga Cuar