Sunday, November 29, 2015

Monte San Lorenzo

Another favorite training climb.  Like Val de Croda, Monte San Lorenzo is not too long and just steep enough to really make you work without injuring yourself.  To reach it go east past Maniago toward Fanna and turn left on Via Vals.  It's very wide smooth pavement for the huge rock haulers running between Cava San Lorenzo and the cement mill by Fanna.  On Sundays the road is deserted. 

At the crest 500 meters I stopped to take photos then descended north to Val Colvera.  A short ride from there to outskirts of Poffabro, where you take a right along Val Muie, a favorite road of mine: rolling hills, a tumbling streams and beautiful wilderness scenery.  At Navarrons descend to Torrente Meduna then up to the road to Meduno.  From there back across the Meduna, Cavasso Nuovo, Maniago and home.  Great cold, clear weather ride.  

East toward Colline di Sequals

The pretty woods you climb through to Monte San Lorenzo

Monte Raut to the north

Friday, November 27, 2015

Giro del Dentista

Rode down to Marsure to see the dentist.   On the way home I rode up through Budoia to Via Pedemontana and home.  All big ring seems
 to be helping.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

First Commute of the Last School Year

Picked a good day for the first commute of the year: sub-zero℃ temps with crystal clear skies.  I bundled up and was warm.  Luckily the forecast 18 kph winds didn't materialize.  That would have been tough on the way home.  Note: tried my Castelli Estremo gloves in sub-zero weather for the first time: they're toasty without liners.

After school I biked over to Policlinico San Giorgio to see my friends' newborn baby.  Beautiful tiny girl.

Again used big ring the whole time.  Hoping this will help regain my strength by Spring.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Via Pedemontana Occidentale

The overcast has lifted and now we can see a dusting of snow on the mountains.  I cruised down the foothills road to Canova and then onto the plains.  At Budoia the climb begins, through Castello d'Aviano  and Marsure to home.  Another good big ring ride. 

Fiume Livenza looking north

Livenza flowing south to the sea

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Colline di Sequals

November weather has finally arrived: overcast and cold.  No problem though, just bundle up and go.  I rode almost to Meduno again, but headed further east to Toppo and almost Travesio.  Then to Usago and the road to Sequals.  Saw quite a few groups of riders which is always heartening.  Good big ring workout.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Val de Croda

The climb from Dardago up through Val de Croda to end of pavement is one of the best local training climbs.  An easily accessible, wide, well-paved road, little traffic, 5 km averaging 7.5% and beautiful rugged scenery make it hard to beat.  At end of pavement (445 meters) a gravel road/trail (Venezia delle Neve) continues to Piancavallo for MTBers / hikers.

Val Grande with trail to Valle Friz

The Croda (cliffs) above San Tome church and Torrente Artugna

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Budoia furnace

Another short loop, this time down Via Pedemontane.  I stayed on the big ring the whole time and stood in the pedals on hills.  Brief but hard workout.

Disuesd furnace at Budoia

Monday, November 9, 2015

Solimbergo Hill

Another flattish loop workout.  This one has a bump in the middle, Colline di Sequals.  Above Solimbergo they've built a short tunnel to make it easier.  The old road over the top still exists though. I need to try it.  Again my shoulder feels good as new.  I tried standing in the big ring for all the rises and felt no pain in collarbone.  Weather again was splendid.

Wheat field, with mountains to the north

Mountains to northeast
Sequals campanile

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Collarbone Ops Check

I fell and broke my collarbone 7 weeks ago* and today decided it was time to give it a try.  Rode the flattish circuit to Montereale, San Foca, San Leonardo and home.  Collarbone felt fine and even withstood pulling up on the bars when climbing out of the saddle.  The weather is stupendous this week: temps in the low 20℃ range, dead calm, and clear.  Feels like September.

*Very strange accident on a road I've ridden thousands of times through Marsure, after the strettoia at intersection with Via Wassermann, where the road surface changes to pavé and some decorative squares of round cobbles for a few meters.  Don't remember what happened: I came to on my left side, still clipped in the pedals.  I staggered to my feet, put my chain back on the ring and rode away.  No road rash, just a scraped elbow and knee.  I continued on with my errands but noticed my left arm hurt when I raised it so I stopped by the base clinic. They X-rayed me, put my left arm in a sling and I called my wife for a ride home.  7 weeks later it's good as new except for a weird bump sticking out of my upper left chest.  Doc said the bone shifted (doing too many heavy chores when I should have been resting).   Anyway, thanks to the nice folks at the clinic, my friend Zoran and Dino who carried a dryer upstairs to help me, and my friend Larissa's mamma who made me some magical herbal salve in the mountains of Montenegro.

The aquedotto from Lake Barcis empties
into the irrigation canal network here  

View northeast toward Monte Raut

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Castello di Cergneu

This is a rolling ride along the hills north of Udine, stretching from the Tagliamento at Pinzano to Nimis, not too far from the Slovenian border.   I tried it last April as well, but things went smoother today.  About the only surprises were an art market in the centro of Tricesimo which required walking the bike for a kilometer, a bike race blocking the route at Colloredo, and a flat tire at Maniago.  Not bad.

Near Nimis I visited the ruins of 13th century Cergneu castle.  The restorers have done a lot of work and the site looks very good.  I'l try to come back here via MTB descending from Monteprato: looks like a fun ride. 

Castello di Cergneu

Note the archery slit on the outer wall

Close up of archery slit

Cappella di Maria Madelena below the castle

3 entry arches on front entry of chapel 


This church at Qualso reminds me of Napoleon's tomb

Friday, September 11, 2015

Malga Cuar MTB

I've wanted to climb up here a long time but never got around to it.  I parked in Avesins and took the old road to Cjanet.  Up the switchbacks till the junction with the dirt forestry road to Cuel di Forchia.  This was actually the toughest part of the climb, though I've ridden it before (last year I think).  At Cuel di Forchia you ascend on the paved road awhile till the sign for Malga Cuar.  

This next section is one of the nicer dirt roads I've climbed, smoothly switchbacked for an easy gradient.  After awhile you transition away from the sunny side and head into tall fir forest.  I tried to speed up a little to stay warm.  Eventually it levels out to a grassy road, like an English ride.  Very pleasant.  A few cows were wandering around munching the greenery.  Soon the scenery opens up with views of Alpi Giulia, Lago di Cavazzo, and immediately to the south, Monte Flagjel and Monte Cuar.  You can hike up to the two summits but as far as I know it's unbikeable. 

From Malga Cuar I tried to continue on the road to Malga Flagjel but never found it.  I arrived at some steep downhill concrete ramps and turned around: those will be for another day.  I found a rough turn off heading south and ascended steeply to 1385 meters but the path ended in a vertical drop off.  I'm guessing it was a logging road years ago.

So I headed back down the way I came which was great fun.  There are numerous routes in this area I have barely tapped.  I will be back. 

 View to northwest

The malga

Monte Flagjel grassy northern slopes

View west

Monte Cuar to southeast

Monte San Simeone and Monte Festa above Lago di Cavazzo

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Boscars da Via Guitcillo da Montanar MTB

I drove to Villa di Villa  and MTB'ed up through Sarmede to Montanar.  Here I turned right and went up the insane pendenza of Via Guitcillo da Montanar.  Continued without stopping to end of the road at 850 meters.  Now I began pushing the bike up a heavily-overgrown hunters footpath.  It hasn't been used much lately and I cleared debris out of the way as best I could while keeping the bike from rolling back down the incline.  Finally emerged onto a dirt road at 880 meters.  Out of curiosity I rode right to end of the road and a lovely house.  The occupants must arrive from the north when they visit because every other direction involves bushwacking.

I turned around and headed up a dirt and gravel road to a junction with the strada provinciale from Vittorio Veneto to Il Cansiglio (near Casera Val di Vacca).  Headed downhill briefly until Val Salega (on your left is a place called La Lanterna).  Then you turn right onto a very steep concrete ramp, do the limbo under a barrier and try to restart.  This is even more of a killer than Via Guitcillo da Montanar: I had to stop to breathe several times.  After topping out at 1200 meters at Boscars it drops down to the road connecting La Crosetta with Monte Pizzoc.  I turned toward La Crosetta and then took Strada delle Patriarche down to Villa di Villa.  The top half of this has been recently repaved and is fantastic to ride.

At the car I was happy to see Paul Kim riding by and he stopped to fill me in on some of his touring.  He's been riding to some incredible far-away places, with more to come.   

Great ride.  There are so many dirt roads up here still unexplored- I'll definitely be back soon.   

Monte Pizzoc from end of Via Guitcillo da Montanar

Lovely house at end of Via Guitcillo da Montanar

The lower half

The upper half

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Passo San Antonio

Back to Comelico near Austria this morning to explore this very useful pass: useful because it bypasses the long, narrow, busy tunnel between San Stefano and Auronzo.  Very scenic as well it turns out.

The climb itself is easy but I had a little trouble with the weather; not storms, as you can see it's crystal clear blue.  I expected somewhat cooler temps due to altitude (the forecast predicted 10℃) so I took my pocket-sized wind vest and some arm warmers.  As it turned out it was 3℃, no problem while climbing but freezing when descending.  I think I got a spot of hypothermia: muddled thinking (even more so than usual), and for some reason I was pedaling very hard on the return trip over the pass (via Danta) but could feel nothing and didn't seem to get warmer.  My mind was blank but survival instinct was working like crazy to warm me up. Very peculiar sensation.  I thawed when I arrived at the car  and all was well.  For the rest of the year I'm taking my jacket, leg warmers and balaclava on every ride.     

Cloud cover over Auronzo, seen from above 

Monte Popera west of Padola

Croda dei Longerin

Monte Popera from Padola

Monte Popera from Candide

From Candide looking southeast

Candide from Torrente di Padola bridge

San Nicolo di Comelico

Monte Brentoni from Torrente di Padola bridge

3 or 4℃, not counting wind chill 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Slap Kozjak Hike

Short hike near Kobarid, Slovenia.  We parked just across Napoleon Bridge over River Soča.   The trail is very well maintained, an easy 2 km walk.  Nice views of the river and a smaller waterfall along the route.  At the end is a grotto with higher waterfall tumbling into a pretty blue-green pool.  Very nice place.  Access to the grotto was a bit difficult for some older folks who were visiting: slick-rock steps (no hand holds) though later there was via ferrata-style cable on the rock face to hold on to.  

We were very fortunate and arrived during a brief intermission in the rainfall.  Honey and Teddi had a great time exploring.   If you're in the area well worth a visit. 

20-30 meter waterfall along the trail,
with nice rumble

Slap Kozjak: in person the grotto seemed much darker, with
falls and pool illuminated by sunlight through the natural oculus

Marilyn, Honey and Teddi taking a breather

Suspension footbridge over the Soča from the west

Beautiful Soča River; lots of kayakers
but none passing when I took the foto 

 The trail