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.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Pieve di Cadore

I was planning to ride to Auronzo and left at 0700, just after sunrise.  The Cellina River valley and Vajont dam area were cold, overcast and windy, so I was having doubts about completing the ride.  But Longarone  was sunny and the Piave River valley clear, so I forged on.  After Perarolo the sunny Cavallera switchbacks carried me up to just below Pieve, then on a back road through the forest to town.  This is where it got steep.  I followed the signs for Lunga Via delle Dolomiti (E1 of the European bikeway system) up above town until I arrived at the cemetery.  There was a "closed for maintenance" barrier blocking the path here but I hopped over it and kept going.  After an old railroad tunnel the bikeway turns into re-frozen snow ice rink, but I somehow avoided flipping over on 23mm slicks.  Some workmen were out in the February cold fixing our bike path, so I figured I'd have to try surviving the nearby main highway, but the guys told me I could continue on the path.  Very decent of them.  I finally reached the railway station, where trains from Belluno bring skiers in winter, hikers/biker in summer.  

On the ride back I had a sudden burst of energy, and went "fast" all the way home.  Even the climb from Longarone to Passo Sant' Osvaldo seemed easier.  Maybe fatigue-induced euphoria.   Good ride.     


Frozen Piave River with mountains to north

This peak rises to the east

The "bike path closed" barrier

Exiting old railway tunnel onto slippery icy snow

Pieve di Cadore railway station

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Colli Asolani - Montello

Always wanted to visit Asolo but never have gotten round to it.  So I took advantage of the clear cold weather today for a giro of Colli Asolani and the WW I battlefield Il Montello.  I drove to Nervesa della Battiglia on the Piave River and started toward Il Montello.  On impulse I turned right at the base of the climb onto the rolling panoramic road along Il Montello's northern flank.  This is one of the prettiest, gentlest bike rides anywhere.  

The road ends at Crocetta del Montello, where I asked some surveyors how to reach Cornuda.  There begins the northern route through Colli Asolani, a rolling mix of hills and valleys covered with vineyards.  Reminded me of Refrontolo.  Eventually I reached the north side of Asolo and climbed up.

Asolo is a gorgeous hill town.  I only saw a fraction of it and definitely will be going back.  I descended to the south, which is a much wider smoother road.  This main road continues through Maser to Crocetta del Montello, where I searched for the start of the dorsale road.  Instead I found Prese XX, which  climbs over the western end of the "hump" and comes back down to the plain on the other side.  Luckily though, it joined the dorsale (almost in Montebelluna) and I started climbing.  This dorsale is a fun ride, 15 km or so of continuous saliscendi, with 20 presi, military supply roads like ribs of  a backbone, descending at intervals steeply to north and south.  Shortly before Nervesa I inadvertently took one of these presi southward down to Giavera, where I joined the south-side perimeter road, meandering through flat fields and little towns.  Back in Nervesa I found the car by the Piave and headed home.  Must return soon.    


Locomotive from the war along Monfumo road

Castello di Monfumo, Monte Grappa in background

North gate into Asolo

Sottocastello in Asolo

Castle tower from the north

Palazzi below the big castle above town

Romanesque church in centro storico

The church tower seen from the east

The big castle above town 


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Pian del Cansiglio Snowshoeing

Drove to Pian del Cansiglio and hiked a loop.    First from the Veneto Agricoltura building up a snow-covered road to the left turn for Vallorch.  Instead of turning  I continued straight up the hill until entering the forest, then turned left on Anello del Cansiglio trail  Nice views of the snowy plain, the faggio forest, and snow-topped peaks to the north.  I eventually found a gap in the the electric fence and headed back toward the car.  The snowshoes worked great on the fluffy snow.  Found many more trails to try on future visits.



The view south with snowy Monte Pizzoc peaking over the hills

Vallorch farm buildings

Mountains north of Alpago

Cold War relic: an anti-aircraft missile battery from the 1960s

View up snowy creek bed toward western ridge

View from Anello del Cansiglio trail looking east


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Bornass Test Climb

I changed my click-clacking bottom bracket bearings and needed to do a climbing ops check.  So I rode down to Costa, up by Madonna delle Monte to Rifugio Bornass.  Beautiful clear day with no wind and just the right chill.  The bottom bracket is fixed!  Success!  

Made it up to 800 meters before the snowy road made me walk 

This trail connects to the area where I was snowshoeing the other day.

Snow-covered slopes above- will have to MTB up there this Spring





Note: the non-driveside Ultra-torque bearing does not contact the crank arm rubber seal as Campy states.  The first time I installed the bearing I continued tapping until it contacted the rubber seal, but the taper of the axle made the bearing very hard to turn.   I took a flat 10 km test ride and didn't detect increased resistance but the added force needed to turn the crank might make a difference on a very long ride or steep climb.  I pulled the crank arm back off and removed the bearing with Park puller.  The bearing felt fine after removal so I reinstalled it.  This time I didn't tap it down all they way till touching the rubber seal: left about a 1/16" gap.  The bearing turns smoothly and easily.  On my climb today it worked great.  So mind the gap!!  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Colle delle Lastre

A few more inches of snow on Monte Cavallo over the weekend, so thought I'd see if it's deep enough to snowshoe.  At first the trail was packed down so hiking boots were sufficient.  At the snow meadow I turned right onto Passeggiata delle Malghe and began climbing.  At Casera Casserate I noticed a footpath headed to the west up a little valley, and decided to try it.  After a few minutes the snow got deep enough, so I sat on the ruins of an ancient shepherd's hut and donned my snowshoes.

The trail now descends and climbs a series of consecutive conch valleys through Colle delle Lastre until finally reaching the paved road from Castaldia to Col Alto.  This road to Col Alto was snow-covered, but enough 4WDs have driven through to pack the snow, so I just hiked with boots.  Before long houses appeared and I reached the car.  Good workout through beautiful country.   

Monte Cavallo Gruppo from Passeggiata delle Malghe

The footpath heading west

Ruin of ancient shepherd's hut; no mortar, just stacked rocks

Looking back east at Casera Casserate

The second conch valley

The third and final conch

Road to Col Alto


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ciclovia Alpe Adria

Ciclovia Alpe Adria is a bikeway running from Salzburg, Austria to Grado on the Adriatico.  I decided to ride the lower section of it today.  I planned on starting at Palmanova (a Renaissance fortress) but when I arrived it was raining so I continued further south until it was dry.   From Terzo d'Aquileia I rode down the smooth bike path to Aquileia, a Roman provincial capital from 2nd century AD.  Took a few pictures of the Roman forum  and the civil basilica  (a government meeting hall, later converted to a Christian church).  It has some of the best Roman pavement mosaics anywhere, but today I stayed outside.

From Aquileia the ciclovia continues south to the lagoon, a body of water between the mainland and the barrier island Grado.  The causeway across the lagoon has 2 smooth bike lanes separated from the busy highway, truly wonderful.  Once I arrived on the island I headed for the historic quarter.  There are archaeological digs here, including a late-Roman Christian church with sarcophagi.  Many working fishing boats were parked along the canals.

I headed back and soon regained Terzo d'Acquileia.  I'll try to return here this Spring with MTB to visit some of the birding areas along the Marano lagoon.      


Ruins of forum, center of town life.  The sculpted faces
were part of shrines to Roman gods

Some partially restored columns

Close up of original capitals

Entrance to basilica

Roman columns on the basilica grounds

The interior from the entrance: the pavementi are a must-see 

Romanesque campanile beside basilica 

Octagonal baptistry on left 

From the causeway bike path looking toward Trieste

The church at Grado

Another angle

Ruins of early Christian church at Grado;
 the rounded apse foundation

Unearthed sarcophagi: note the Celtic cross on right

Curious house dating from the early period

Looking east along Adriatico coast

The view west toward Lignano

This place reminded me of the French Quarter