Sunday, July 24, 2016

Monte Dolada

Another annual rite:  the climb of Monte Dolada. I rode to Vittorio Veneto and over Passo Fadalto.  After descending to Farra d'Alpago I rode a new approach to Pieve d'Alpago.  Seemed easier.  Then up to Plois and the climb to 1500 meters.  Very hard today, not sure why. I descended to the turn off for Schiucaz, a shortcut to Tambre.   Continued to Spert then down to the bridge and the short hard climb to Campon in Cansiglio.  Lots of vistors today, which is great because maybe they will help preserve this area.  Descended to Sarone them home.  Tired!

Monte Dolada ridgeline from the climb.

Looking down at Alpago conch

Campanile di Pieve d'Alpago above Lago Santa Croce

Monte Dolada

The climb to Tambre

Friday, July 22, 2016

Sella Chiampon

This is a beautiful local ride with several climbs to keep you in shape.  First you ride up Passo Monte Rest followed by descent to the Tagliamento.  Quite a hilly road from here to Priuso, where you join the main highway.  Shortly afterward you turn off for Socchieve and Preone.  Climbing out of Preone you reach a fork in the road, the right side of which I'd never explored.  Turns out pavement ends in about a km with an interesting gravel road continuing on.  Backtrack and then descend to Torrente Seazza.  The climb out from here used to give me nightmares but all this working out seems to be helping.  After Sella Chiampon I headed down Fiume Arzino, through San Francesco and Pielungo to Anduins.  I took the shortcut below Vito d'Asio marked Celante which bypasses the climb to Clauzetto.  From Travesio I took the usual route through Arba to Campagna and home.  Fun ride.

View west from Monte Rest descent

End of pavement on the unknown road I checked out today 

Torrente Seazza

From Val Preone: the gap I MTB'd through last year to Malga Pezzeit

View from Val Preone toward Sella Chiampon

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Barcis - Valle Friz

Rode up through Valcellina to Barcis and then headed up Valcaltea to Piancavallo.  Cool shady climb on a midsummer morning.  Next I passed through Piancavallo and began climbing up the road to Casera Campo and I Fanghi.  A few km later I stopped at end of pavement (actually pavement continues down to Mezzomonte but the road to Il Cansiglio turns to dirt).  Fantastic descent to Aviano  then home.

Peaks above Lago di Barcis

The normally-placid dam had its sluice gates wide-open this morning

Thundering cascade

The gorgeous hills at end of pavement

The flock keeping Valle Friz trimmed

First climb Barcis to Piancavallo

Second climb Piancavallo to I Fanghi

Sunday, July 17, 2016

5 Hills

5 local hills strung together to make a ride.  Rode to Travesio and headed up to Clauzetto.  Then I rode down to Pradis di Sotto and up again to Piani di Clauzetto.  From there down to Campone where I visited the water mill, and up again to Forchia Piccola.  That was the steepest part.

I descended to Meduno then crossed the river and rode west to Monte San Lorenzo.  Steeply down to Valcolvera and then through Poffabro to Pala Barzana.   I descended down to the tunnel connecting Barcis with Montereale then headed home.  Good ride.

View from above Clauzetto toward Monte Valinis

From descent to Campone looking west

Mulino at Campone (originally built in 1600)

View of the waterfall

View from mulino north toward Tamar 

Pastureland on descent from Forchia Piccola

Monte Raut from Monte San Lorenzo

View north from Pala Barzana descent

View west from Pala Barzana descent

Forchia Piccola climb

Friday, July 15, 2016


I drove to Merano near Bolzano and looked for a good starting point for this big climb.  Even at 0900 on a weekday the road was already quite crowded with cars and occasional tour buses so my plan to start in Merano fell through.  I headed upward in the car hoping once I passed some of the popular tourist villages things would quiet down.  I ended up miles above in St Leonhard, where it was calmer and eventually I found a spot where I could park.

Like the rest of Alto Adige this area is stunningly beautiful: steep mountainsides covered with fir trees, lush green pastures with bell-ringing cows, sheep, goats.  The residents are Austrian so everything is tidy and neat.  The weather was unusually cold for July, but felt good on the climb.  After an hour or so of climbing you leave the protection of the forest and head up a stack of exposed switchbacks.  Now the wind was too cold even with my exertion so I stopped and put on arm and leg warmers and wind vest.  That felt great and before long I reached the top, or rather the opening of the tunnel to Austria (2400 meters).  I decided not to ride through this 1 km tunnel (and back), as the wind was whipping up and even standing still in my descending gear I was freezing.

I rode back down carefully and was surprised by the number of riders I saw headed upward at midday- maybe 50?  I finally reached the car, frozen, shaking too hard to put the bike on the rack.  Eventually I thawed sufficiently and headed down, driving very slowly.  I think my brain freeze finally ended somewhere between Trento and the autostrada for Venice.   Must try this again, starting in Merano and riding into Austria.  Maybe autumn would be the best time?      

The forested mountains

Godforsaken windswept switchbacks

The top, with Austrian flag and tunnel

The climb

Monday, July 11, 2016

Via Regia - Mezzomiglio

Through Val Cellina, over Passo Osvaldo, down to the left bank of Piave River on Via Regia bike trail to Farra d'Alpago.  Up Mezzomiglio climb to the turn off on gravel road to il Cansiglio and Palughetto. Descend from La Crosetta to Sarone then home.

River descending from Vajont dam to the Piave

Muddy trail from Soverzene south

Yes, you walk your bike through this muddy tunnel

Cliffs above the trail

Farra d'Alpago Via Regia bikepath bridge

Bay on Lago Santa Croce (Monte Dolada in background)

Rowboat rental with Col Visentin in background

Death-climb up Mezzomiglio

Saturday, July 9, 2016

I Fanghi

Finally climbed from Coltura to I Fanghi (just above Casera Valle Friz) with my road bike. The middle section from Mezzomonte cemetery to 1000 meters seemed easier than I remember but the ramps near the top were hard as ever.  After that the newly paved road is just glorious, and gives easy access to Piancavallo's wide, smooth descent.  This is my new favorite local climb.  It's very close to home, is difficult enough to challenge you and the area is completely wild.  Wildflowers everywhere today, lovely weather.

After the road crests at I Fanghi you approach
this hiking pass near Valle Friz 

Looking back at the road (the straight line parallel with the ridgeline)
above Valle Friz

View down valley to Croda San Tome and Dardago

View east of road descending from Casera Campo

Monte Candole

Casera Campo

Challenging climb

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Salto della Capra

Monte Grappa has more cycling routes to climb than anyplace I know.  Over the last few years I've done 5 of them  but today I finally got around to the Salto della Capra (Jump of the Goat) climb.  This is right up there with  Bocca della Forca from Possagno in difficulty.  

I warmed up on the easy climb from Semonzo and then turned onto Via San Liberale.  Branched to the right at 530 meters and began 30 switchbacks through the forest.  I was doing pretty good up to 1100 meters then all hell breaks loose.  I stood of course, then started gasping to get enough air.  Near the top I was almost ready to hop off and lie down in the road to rest awhile but I caught a glimpse of the goat weathervane.  This gave me the inspiration I needed to gasp and sputter to the top.  

After a rest I headed west past La Vedetta turnoff at 1447 meters then down into the Valletta, with herds of bell-ringing cows.  The summit of Monte Grappa was socked in so at 1500 meters I decided to head down the wider road to Semonzo.  Very nice descent. 

Wildflowers and a deep gorge

The steel goat weathervane shows no mercy

Goats-eye view of the final deadly switchbacks

Chiesetta atop La Vedetta (1445 m)

Cute baby asino walkin down the road with family

Salto della Capra difficulty

The hard part at the top