Thursday, July 20, 2017

Passo Cason di Lanza

A classic Carnia climb: beautiful rugged landscape, miles of deserted twisty steep roads,  sun baking you as you climb, followed by a hypothermic descent.  Paradise.

Today I climbed from Paularo  after a warmup from Moggio via Tolmezzo.  The valley of Torrente Chiarso to Paularo is a gorgeous ride in itself, with countless variations: would be great Autumn riding.

I almost made it to the pass without collapsing but had to stop and rest about 2 km from the top.  It's humbling, some days you can make it but sometimes you can't.

All that is forgotten on the exhilarating descent, so steep and twisty you will be begging to get off before it's through.

I meant to include Selle Cereschiatis and Val Aupa on the return to Moggio but I was beat.  Instead I rolled down SS-13 il Pontebbana to my car park:  all through traffic uses the Autostrada so you have this wide beautifully paved road almost to yourself.

Must return soon, do the Illegio climb and try to descend the dirt road to Lovea, or maybe another spectacular ride.  Carnia will spoil you for choice.

Monte Zermula 2143 meters

Monte Pizzul 1985 meters

The climb

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Forcella di Giais

This morning I rode Fedaia up through Bornass and Castaldia to the gorgeous valley at Candaglia.  The gravel road is rideable at first, then after Casera Medico becomes intermittently impossible on a road bike, until after Casera Valfredda I gave up trying and just pushed.  After awhile you reach the turnoff for the three radio towers which I avoided, continuing on the hiking trail.  I've snowshoed up here so it's familiar.  The trail descends down to Forcella di Giais, where I went left so I could ride the bike home.  Soon it began descending very steeply, which startled me because I have MTB'ed up it and it seemed much easier.  It's simply too rough/steep for my 28mm tires. 

Finally this torture ended and I joined the road to Barcis at Pian delle More.   Fun descent with fantastic scenery.  At the lake I clipped on front and rear lights to traverse the tunnels home.  Wonderful ride and hike.

Candaglia  altopiano

Monte Cavallo Gruppo to the north

At this pass you first see Monte Ressetum above Claut

Wild rhododendron

Right takes you directly to my house,
left is the bikeable route

Forcella di Giais,
(also visible from our back window)

The bikeable path/road to Lake Barcis

Looking north from lakeside

The southeastern view

The climb from Costa to Forcella di Giais

The gravel road through Candaglia

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Monte Pizzoc from Via Patriarche

This climb starts in Villa di Villa at Cordenons.  Head up past Castello di Cordenons onto the long shady road to the Carbonaia, where they were having a big barbeque.  The whole zone is covered in big faggio (beech) trees, keeping the sweltering sun at bay.  Before long you join the road coming up from Sarone and then La Crossetta.

After a brief descent turn onto the road for Monte Pizzoc.  After a bit of climbing you pass through an area of even older-growth faggi about 5 feet in diameter, the real patriarchs of il Cansiglio.  Then onto the grassy pastureland surrounding the summit.  Wonderful clear air up for viewing the mountains, the plains, and even the shimmering Adriatico on the horizon.

The descent is long and a bit hyperthermic even in mid-July.  I felt slightly high on mountains the rest of the afternoon.



Alpi Bellunese

Laghi Revine 


The long road down

The climb

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Col dei Scios

Another beautiful ride on the Panoramica connecting Piancavallo with Il Cansiglio.   I climbed to Piancavallo from Pedemonte, then continued up to 1500 meters above Casera Valle Friz.   I eventually reached Casera Col dei Scios in the gorgeous rolling grassland of altopiano.  No one else up here, even in mid-July.  Heaven.

Stormy sky above 1500 meters

Casera Col dei Scios

The climb from Pedemonte

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Coltura to Piancavallo

This wonderful loop takes you from 72 meters above sea level at Gorgazzo, up through Mezzomonte to the Panoramica Cansiglio-Piancavallo, which reaches 1500 meters.  It's gorgeous wilderness with great views in all directions.  Today was the first time Fedaia has made it up the concrete ramp below junction with the Panoramica without stopping.

Traffic on Piancavallo Highway was so busy I decided to turn off at Bornass and take the car-free road to Madonna della Monte by Costa.  Very peaceful.     

Friday, July 7, 2017


Matajur is smack on the Italian-Slovenian border.  There are several routes but this is the toughest, via Stermizza.  The lower parts are shady and cool, which came in handy in the humid 32 degree Celsius temps.  Unfortunately above 900 meters the trees thin out into grassland.  Stinking hot.  Resting at the top cooled me off a bit, then just as I began the descent the rear tire flatted.  Luckily a nice shade tree was conveniently nearby so I wasn't roasted while working.

There is a wonderful descent on the main road from Cepletischis to Ponte San Quirino.  The road through Stermizza is too switchbacked to sustain any speed on descent.

Note: this climb was included in stage 13 of the 2016 Giro d'Italia.  They paved the road for the stage and it's still absolutely perfect.  

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Col Visentin

At the top of the long climb from Longhere to Pian dei Grassi another climb starts- Col Visentin.  It used to be all gravel but now the first 2 or 3 km are paved.  After that it's MTB only.  Unless you try to see if you can road bike it, like me.  I had tried last fall on 25 mm tires and didn't fare too well.  Today with 28mm slicks it was the same deal.  I rode maybe a third of the gravel and walked the rest.  Anyway it was a beautiful day and I got a killer workout.  Quite nippy on the descent but at Vittorio Veneto it was sunny and hot as ever.  A classic.

Grassy bald dramatically lit

The climb

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Molltaler Gletscher Strasse

Woke up early and drove to Austria near Grossglockner.  The weather was much cloudier than expected and cold.  I did a quick warm up around Ausserfragrant on Maxxima and headed up the road.  Like the guide book said, this is a killer.  To complicate matters my meticulously prepared gatorade bottles were all sitting in a bag in the car: I had forgotten to load them on the bike and backpack.  I thought about turning around and aborting but the actual climbing was going quite well.  I decided to continue and turn back if I felt thirsty.

As it turned out it wasn't a problem.  I continued up several dozen switchbacks in the cold damp air.  Finally after the dam at Wurten Speicher I decided to try a couple more switchbacks (which as luck would have it were each about a kilometer long) and then called it quits.  The rain was increasing and I was worried about hypothermia so I turned back.  The climb continues another 6 km, topping out 500 meters higher at 2365 meters.  I'll try it again in better weather. 

Sorry about the drizzly foto.  Next time I'll get more waterfalls.

Hard climb

Monday, June 26, 2017

Col Artent - Malga Garda

Col Artent is a very special climb.  It arises from Lentiai on the banks of Fiume Piave, quite steeply up to the scene of one of the last small battles of WW I.  There is a chapel and gravestones of a few of the final casualties lost in the waning weeks of the war.  

From there I continued on a good gravel road to Malga Garda at 1300 meters.  Great views from here of Dolomiti Bellunese, Piave valley, Monte Cesen, Monte Grappa massif, with unusually good seeing thanks to the temporale Saturday night.  Visit here if you can.

End of pavement coming up from Lentiai

The descent concrete ramp from Malga Garda

The tough climb to Col Artent

Topo map close-up