Sunday, April 19, 2015

Bocchetta di Sant'Antonio

Beautiful and sunny today, but about 10 degrees cooler than last week.  I headed east, through San Daniele, Coloredo and Trecisimo to Faedis.  I originally planned to ride to the Slovenian border at Robidisce, but ran out of time.  I knew once I got there I'd want to continue to Napoleon's bridge and by the time I got done I'd be cutting it too close.  Still had lots of fun.  The countryside east of San Daniele is rolling green hills, several with castles on top.  At Bellazoia west of Faedis I inadvertently got on a rough dirt road, Via Stentaria.  Some Friulian mountain bikers said "Sci gu!" and laughed which I haven't looked up yet but I'm guessing is obscene.

Back on pavement I headed up through Canebola to Bocchetta di Sant'Antonio.  It's only 5 km to the border but I was uncharacteristically prudent and turned back.  Good ride home- I didn't bonk!

The road continues up to Madonnina del Domm (960 m)

View of Faedis and the plain stretching to the Adriatico

Chiesetta di Sant'Antonio; the road upward goes to Subit and Porzus,
road to Slovenia to right, road down to Faedis on left.

To north, snowy Jof di Montasio towering over the wall of Monte Musi

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Via Borgo Val MTB

This is another of the killer climbs up the mountainside above Caneva, Sarmede, Fregona.  The climb starts halfway between Rugolo and Montaner in a tiny settlement called Borgo Val.  If you find Santa Barbara Orthodox Church you're in the right place.  The road is concrete and starts off with a nearly 20% wall.  It wasn't too bad on the MTB.  The concrete road switchbacks up to 500 meters elevation at a stone house called Casera Col de Fae.  

I headed back down a ways and turned onto a gravel road headed west.  This ended up at Chiesetta del Santo.  There was sign with a map showing a trail ascending to Lama Rossa, so I pushed the bike up the exposed rock until reaching another good gravel and concrete road.  This continues to Lama Col de Fae at 585 meters.  The trail (Sentiero Pagnoca, CAI 1061) resumes here but I decided to turn around.  I went a bit past the turn off for the trail to Chiesetta del Santo and soon reached Via  Guitcillo da Montanar, which I explored a bit.  Have to come back and hike from Lama Col de Fae to Casera dal Cin.   

Santa Barbara Orthodox Church, Borgo Val

View west
Casera Col de Fae

Chiesetta del Santo

Altar of chiesetta

Sentiero Pagnoca map

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Via Guitcillo da Montanar

I rode down Via Pedemontane to Caneva, with a guy drafting on me from Coltura to Caneva.  This surprised me because I usually get passed, but I didn't mind because it helped me concentrate on my riding.  My mind usually wanders on the flats and I slow down too much.  From Caneva I continued to Sarmede and Montaner, where the killer climb begins.

I've climbed this on a MTB a couple of times but never with a road bike.  Very hard: the worst bits I had to walk.  Still it was fun.  The dirt and grass surface higher up was no problem.  Great views from up there: less haze than usual.  On the descent I came around a bend and a camoscio (chamois) in the road jumped about 3 meters straight up onto a cliff face.  Pretty amazing.

On the ride home I was in a daze.  I tanked up on water at Caneva so hydration wasn't a problem.  Maybe lack of electrolytes?

Anyway I'll return soon on MTB to investigate Via Val Borgo, a dirt road which also climbs up into this zone.  The easy access and remoteness of this area keep luring me back. 

Chiesa di Montaner from 500 meters

The road bike by lovely restored stone farmhouse

Chiesa di Montaner from 700 meters

Monday, April 6, 2015

Monte San Lorenzo - Panuch

Clear, cold Pasquetta morning, with Bora winds from Trieste due in the afternoon.  I started by riding toward Fanna, then turning left on Via Vals, the road over Monte San Lorenzo.  At the high spot on the road, 470 meters, I stopped for a foto of Monte Raut then headed down the other side, steeply descending to the road coming up from Maniago along Torrente Colvera.  I skipped the turn for Frisanco, instead taking the next right for Navarons.  This rolling road along Torrente Muie is a joy to ride.  After Navarons it dips down to cross Torrente Meduna then climbs to meet the road toward Monte Rest.

At the Lago Redona dam turn left and recross the river.  Continue to Chievolis, crossing Torrente Silesia and continue up the climb to Lago Ca' Selva.  The dam water level was quite low compared to last year.  Maybe some Spring rain will make up the difference.  Cross the dam and continue on the gravel road (rideable with 23mm slicks).  Soon it becomes paved again and heads steeply upward.  Quite a tough climb: 1.2 km of 12.6% median and 17.5% max.  The high point is Panuch at 615 meters with a paved road heading down to the Strada degli Alpini trailhead.  At Panuch is the trailhead for Casera Valinis and Monte Raut.  I will try hiking this later in summer to see if I can summit on this route (from Pala Barzana I only reached Forcella Capra).

Ride home was fast though the Bora was already picking up speed.

Monte Raut from Monte San Lorenzo pass 

The higher bridge across Torrente Silisias.
Quite spindly looking from this angle.

Trail from Panuch toward Monte Raut

Top end of the lake where trail for Strada degli Alpini starts

The sluices on the left are dry, creek is low

Tough climb from dam to Panuch

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

100th Commute to school

Good exercise 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Col Alt

I spun down down to Sarmede, then stood in the pedals on the short climb to Rugolo.  Here I turned right on the road toward Villa di Villa, and climbed to the left turnoff marked Chiesetta Alpina Monte Castelir.  Almost immediately you start hitting 18-20% ramps, interspersed with restful 15% stretches here and there.  I almost made it up the first ramp but a little car came up behind me and the road is so narrow if you wobble you fall.  I graciously stopped, allowing him to overtake me while I hung my head over the bars and gasped for air.  After a very brief respite the road turns north for the hardest ramp: 1.4 km averaging 15.8%, with stretches of 22.6%.  I stopped to "rest" 3 or 4 times: it's all a blur.  At 600 meters you pass the turnoff for Chiesetta Alpina and begin the next phase, still often reaching into the teens but with merciful resting ramps of 10-12%.  The road winds around through some restored stone houses until eventually reaching Casera dal Cin around 800 meters.  

Here the well-paved road ends and I did some gravel biking for awhile.  I stopped at the little alpine wetland which was completely grown over and full of loud frogs last summer.  I continued down to Casera Col Alt and then began hiking/carrying the bike on CAI 1060.  I was hoping to find the war memorial but that will have to wait for another day.  After maybe a km of hiking I regained a dirt road at a restored stone house at 750 meters.  This road eventually reached Strada della Patriarca, the paved road connecting Villa di Villa to Il Cansglio.  The ride home was fun: I wasn't as tired as I expected.  Must return soon to explore some more.

Alpine wetland

The stone house where I emerged
from the wilderness carrying my road bike

Junction of dirt road with Strada della Patriarca

Saturday, March 28, 2015


I'd never heard of this beach until Fred at mentioned MTBing around there.  I wanted to road bike to it and check it out.  It's an easy flat ride, 70 km in 2.5 hours.  It took an extra half hour coming back, maybe I was tired.

The last km or 2 of the road is hard packed dirt but is no problem on a road bike.  There are a couple of trails to the beach through the pine forest, and then a wide, flat, hard-packed sand beach.  This was great to find because the other local beaches are very commercialized: high rise hotels, souvenir shops, snack bars etc.  This beach was all natural, a little like Fort Pickens National Seashore at Pensacola.  Lots of heron, egrets, cormorants, ducks, seagulls and even a pheasant in the pine woods. 

I rode on the beach a few hundred meters on my 23mm slicks till I reached a wooden boardwalk back to the entrance.  Very pleasant ride and a new place to explore- I may come back with the dogs in a few weeks.

Fishing boats a hundred meters off the beach

Looking west toward Caorle 

Looking east toward Bibione 

Boardwalk from entrance to beach

From bridge over laguna looking west

From 70 km away: Monte Cavallo Gruppo on left

Snowy Slovenian mountains;
the very pointy campanile is Cesarolo

Brussa's Country Club

Monday, March 23, 2015

Col delle Palse

Beautiful Spring morning so I thought I'd try a climb.  I rode down Via Pedemontana to Polcenigo, turned right at Coltura and climbed up to Mezzomonte cemetery.  Here I turned left and rode up the narrow lane toward Col delle Palse.  The gradient is difficult so I tried standing to climb more often than usual.  Seemed to really help.

Around 1200 meters I ran into a patch of snow or two and didn't think much of it.  Then I reached the  switchback end and it was too deep to ride. I carried the bike 100 meters then the following long traverse was clear so I remounted.  Alas at the next switchback the same occurred- I carried the bike again.  Then the road was clear of snow at the base of the killer concrete ramp, so I had to climb it: not as bad as I remembered.  At 1320 meters snow was everywhere so I surrendered.  Have to come back in a month or two and try again.

The first portage

You can see the Piancavallo-Cansiglio road up there: only 40 meters higher

The killer concrete ramp, unfortunately clear so I had to climb it.

This is the road continuing upward

Nice stand of beech trees in the snow to the east

The climb

Saturday, March 7, 2015


Morning ride to the beach and back

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Kanalski Vhr

Back to Slovenia to celebrate the arrival of March.  I was eager to check out the new pista ciclabile on the Soča River's west bank which I'd read about on Max's wonderful blog .  So I parked at Solkan and started the trail.  Really well-made cyclepath, with lots of hikers, dog walkers, toddlers on tiny bikes etc enjoying their Sunday morning.  

After the bike path ends at Plave you can continue on small farm roads to Kanal.  Here I crossed the river and located the start of Kanalski Vhr climb at Morsko.  It's a tough climb as you'd expect in this terrain, 6 km averaging 8.6% with some 14% ramps in the mix.  Eventually the climb levels out at a settlement called Kanalski Vhr on the Banjšice altopiano.  This area was the scene of horrific fighting and casualties in WW I, and even today seems a little spooky.  It's sparsely populated, with miles of rolling hills covered with beech trees, grotesque karst rock formations and deep sink holes.   You can hear no human sound, only the fierce winds.  Another words, my kinda place.

I wasn't sure if there were any paved roads crossing the altopiano, but it turns out the route through Bate to Grgar is an excellent road.  I want to go back now and do it in the opposite direction, maybe descending to Avče from Lokovec (900 meters).

From new bike path, Solkan railway bridge (longest stone single-span bridge on earth).

Old stone train signalman's house; Sveta Gora high above across the river.

Close up of Sveta Gora

Quality construction of the cycleway; there are stairs for pedestrians with adjacent ramps
 so you can push your bike (or if you're a maniac like me you can ride down the ramps)

Bike tunnel under the railway line

Kanalski Vhr altopiano

Bate (I looked for Bate's Motel, but there was none) 

Right turn goes through Grgar to Nova Gorica; 
left explores the wilds of Banjšice altopiano

Solkan Bridge from the road toward Monte Sabotin;
the bridge is still in use today

Thursday, February 26, 2015

School Commute Deviazione

The road I commute to school from San Quirino to Pordenone is closed for construction.  The past few weeks I've tried various workarounds and finally hit on the best.  A couple of kilometers of strada bianca but it's hard-packed dirt and no problem.

A few km south of San Quirino turn left here:

Coming from the left in this foto, do a quick right and then a left to cross Via Napoleon Aprilis:

Soon the dirt road runs into Via Portolana, which takes you through Villa d'Arco.  When you reach Via Villa d'Arco, go straight across and onto another dirt road:

Don't go left here.  Take a right and the road then makes an immediate left:

Soon you're back at the junction with SP65 and can head on in to town.