Friday, March 24, 2017

Marano Lagunare (attempted)

The sun is rising earlier and the temps are warmer so I decided to try a ride to the Adriatico, specifically Laguna di Marano, east of Lignano.  It's a favorite with migratory birds vacationing for the summer in Europe.  

The ride was going great until Google maps sent me down a deep muddy path near San Lorenzo.  I ended up doing a loop to get back on track.  Then at San Vito between my cue sheet, iPhone and Garmin I still got lost.  I need to get some bifocal Oakleys, because each stop takes 5 minutes to get my glasses from their case then store them again.   

Anyway by the time I got lost a third time (how is it possible to not see something as huge as the Tagliamento bridge at Madrisio?) I was way behind schedule now and turned around at  San Mauro.  One more time lost at San Paolo and; after that I was impeccable.  The Garmin Oregon died at San Paolo so you could roughly double the distance indicated.  Coming home I rode a slightly different route through Rauscedo, Vivaro, Dandolo and Vajont.  Excellent workout, I'm exhausted.

San Vito tower

Signs showing MTB paths along the levies. 

Make that 170 km

Monday, March 20, 2017

My old ride to school

Kinda silly to feel nostalgic for my rides to Italian school but I do.   Plus I miss Maestra Raffaella and my classmates.  It's actually a good training ride: very slight downhill on the way to Pordenone, and a gradual 270 meter climb on the way home.  After a few hundred reps I'm still not tired of it.

Our school, Odorico Mattiussi (named for a local priest who visited China in 1300,
our version of Marco Polo)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Castello di Maniago climb

The climb to Castello di Maniago is about 10 km from our house.  You cross Ravedis and then turn left at Maniago Libero.  Shortly after turn left onto Via Montello.  This climb is steep and just keeps on going up.  On a MTB you can go up to Mont Jouf on an adjacent dirt road.  I turned back downhill and stopped to take some pictures.  A very sweet lady who was Nordic walking stopped and asked if I wanted a picture.  She took several and mentioned she was originally from Australia.  

From Maniago I rode up through Forra di Colvera to near Poffabro and then down Val di Muie. Below Navarons I crossed the Meduna  and rode along the shore of Lago Redona to the turn off for Campone.  Very peaceful ride and then climb to Piani di Clazettto.  After descending to Pradis di Sotto I rode to Clauzetto then home.  Quite tired, I think I need to always bring bottles of gatorade.  Some mornings I blow it off then pay the price.

Castello di Maniago

Fedaia posing with me as a prop

Not sure what the lady said to crack me up

Short but look at that crazy VAM (gotta be wrong)  

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Collalto - Barcis

Today I'm riding the second closest climb to our house:  the road from Costa past Madonna della Monte to Rifugio Bornass.  Starts out steep (via crucis shares the route), then goes over a berm to block cars, and then crosses Torrente Ossena, which is still washed out but they've widened the remaining dirt path to a meter- no more hopping off and carrying your bike.  

From here it's long lovely switchbacks through woods and later open alpine grass slopes.  At Bornass you join the road coming up from Pedemonte at Aviano and slog steeply upward.  Finally you reach the antenna farm at Castaldia, where I elected to take the backroad to Collalto.  There is still about a km of snowed-over road near the top, but I decided to walk it.  

After Collalto I decided to try the road down to Barcis.  It's mostly cleared, but go slow because there are some remaining snowy stretches, rockfalls etc.  From Barcis an easy ride home.  Fun!  

Collalto still a little snowy

Mountains surrounding Piancavallo

Snowy stretches on road to Barcis

Mountains above the Barcis road

Lago di Barcis

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Montereale Osservatorio

The closest climb to our house, only 5km from the front door.  Pavement ends at the telescope, but Fedaia wanted to keep climbing until I eventually couldn't get traction.  Very nice brief workout.

Pala d'Altei above the catkins

Osservatorio posing in front of Monte Fara

The climb

Friday, March 10, 2017

Piazza dei Cavalieri

One last ride before we pack to leave tommorow.  I rode to Pisa (about 12 km from our room) and instead of crowded Piazza dei Miracoli visited Piazza dei Cavalieri.  It's a beautiful town square surrounded by ornately decorated Renaissance buildings.  Very impressive and relatively unknown.  Went back on the same road.  Will be sad to leave, very fond of this area.


Statue/fountain in Piazza dei Cavalieri

Clock tower

Rows of palazzi

Piazza dei Cavalieri palazzo

Scuola Piazza dei Cavalieri

Chiesa di Santa Stefano

Side angle of scuola

Campanile of San Nicola chiesa

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Buti - Monte Serra

A couple of years ago I climbed Monte Serra via Calci but subsequently have read the climb up the other side is much harder.  Today I left our room and rode via SS67 bis to the far side of the mountain and began the ascent.  A big bunch of young riders soon passed me, a mix of club and team members, male and female.  This is warming to see because they have so much more enthusiasm and energy than the usual old geezers.

They were soon long gone and the silent forest was my only companion.  This route seems less populated and more peaceful.  It was a good challenge but I can't remember how difficult the Calci side was to make a comparison. At the antenna farm the road ends and I headed down.  I was luckier and didn't get lost on the ride home this time.  If you're ever in the area definitely try this climb.

Vicopisano castle near Buti

View toward Calci on descent

Olive groves and vineyards in foothills

Ruin atop pinnacle near Calci

The climb from Buti

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


A week in Toscana with Maxima to ride.  I parked at San Martino near Cecina.  After a flattish warm up on SR68 the road became more rolling, then downright hilly and finally steep.  At the top Volterra's fortress walls surround a pretty town full of historic buildings, shops, churches and towers.  It really seems you've ridden into a 700 year time warp.

The descent was nippy but too fun to notice.  Great switchbacks and curvy hills.  Highly recommend this ride (see it day after tomorrow on Tirreno-Adriatico stage 2)!

Large mimosa near San Martino

Ruin on hill near Volterra

Fortifications of Volterra


View to the south

Roman ruins; note amphitheater seating on left 

Closer view of ruins

The climb

Thursday, March 2, 2017


Short ride this morning but a good workout.  Trying to figure out my VAM.  Dardago to end of pavement is a good steady gradient.

770 vertical meters per hour seems kinda low
but probably average for an old geezer.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Zuc Schiaramont

Today a ride to Forgaria in search of Castello Raimondo (confusingly there is a place by the same name in Le Marche regione, so instead I'll use the Friulano name Zuc Schiaramont).  I tried stopping at Forgaria's municipio, where many of the artifacts excavated at the site are displayed.  Unfortunately it was closed, so I headed up the hill toward San Rocco.  Eventually I reached a marker for the castello at Via Coletti, pointing toward CAI 814 trail.  I decide to ride as much of this paved section as possible on Fedaia, and succeeded until the last 20 meters or so when it got up around 18%:  I don't have the legs for that yet this year.  I walked around and found the trail to the castle, also another trail called Las Gratolatas.  Didn't hike today but I'll come back soon and hike up to the elusive castello. 

Sign on Via Coletti in Italian, Friulano and English

Site map at trailhead

The 18% bit

Photos of artifacts

Details of the site history (dates back to 4th century BC)

Trail to castello

Trail to Las Gratolatas

Primule proclaiming Springtime!

Another shot of Las Gratolatas

The climb