Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Val Postegae MTB

Nippy morning- a few degrees above freezing.  I took Marilyn to get some blood tests, then brought her home and decided to drive to Cimolais instead of riding from Giais.   After parking I pedaled up the beautiful road along Torrente Cimoliana to the turnoff for Rifugio Pordenone.  Instead of turning toward the rifugio I continued straight on the gravel path to Casera Meluzzo, a shelter in a gorgeous wooded, grassy valley like the Ponderosa.  The valley turns east and becomes the gravel riverbed of Torrente Postegae.  Eventually the gravel path ended and the CAI trail appeared to head up along the lower slopes of Cima Brica.  But I was done  climbing for the day so I took some photos of Monte Pramaggiore (2478 meters) and turned back to the car.  Fun descent along the gravel and dirt road.  This area is a must see for anyone in or near Pordenone Province.   

Monte Castellato (2336 meters)

Pala Grande (2385 meters)

Towers peaking over the corner of Cima Meluzzo 

Looking up Val Monfalcon

From Val Postegae looking back at the
 forest of campanili along the horizon

Looking east up Val Postegae toward
Monte Pramaggiore, dusted with snow

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pian delle Femene

Pian dei Grassi and Pian delle Femene are two favorite climbs above Vittorio Veneto.  Today I tried to combine the two with a short connector at 1000 meters.

I warmed up on Via Pedemontane and entered Vittorio Veneto from Anzano.  I turned left onto the Valdobbiadene road and then turned right at Longhere onto the road marked Fais.  This is an excellent climb up through Borgo Olivi and Menegon and onward through the wooded mountainside toward Pian dei Grassi.  At 1000 meters I took a left onto a dirt road marked Valle Storta, which soon turns to concrete and descends steeply.  This connector road is great except for a short section of dirt/exposed rock which was tricky on the skinny-tired road bike.  If you climb it instead of descending, definitely use a MTB.

At 900 meters elevation you join the Pian delle Femene road which climbs upward a few km to 1127 meters.  I had some extra time so checked out the paved road toward Le Pose.  I'll try to MTB down that further another time.  Fast descent to Revine Lago and then the long ride home.  Now my legs are too tired to ride to school tomorrow.

Start of the connector at 1000 meters

Pian dei Grassi road continuing on up to 1181 meters

Pretty country house along the connector road

Junction with the Pian delle Femene road

View up the connector road

View east from Casera Lovere (beyond Pian delle Femene)

Forest lane toward Le Pose

View north down Canale di Limana

View west across the grassy hills

View northeast toward Casera Grava

View of Pian delle Femene area from the descent

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Stavoli Palar MTB

I drove past the Grifoni Riserve at Lago Cornino to Alesso, west of Lago di Cavazzo.  I parked, got on my bike and turned left onto the narrow road marked loc. Armentaria.  It starts climbing steeply immediately: 3.5 km averaging 12.6%, at times reaching 20%.  The pavement ends and a nice gravel road continues gradually rising.  There's a great lookout point with 300 degree panorama at 7.5 km:  tree-covered mountains in all directions.  This valley is almost completely undeveloped, with only a handful of houses on thousands of acres.

The gravel road ascends to Forchia Armentaria at 800 meters.  Here you take the right fork and begin descending.  The loose gravel isn't too bad when descending, and they've concreted/asphalted some of the worst sections.  This descent continues to around 480 meters, with some saliscendi to keep you from getting complacent.  After crossing Torrente Palar you ascend steeply upward again, till Stavoli Palar around 520 meters.  Like me, a friendly Italian MTBer was concerned with the disparity between the map and the actual road, but we both  made it eventually.  

The climbout is another killer, 2.3 km averaging 12.3% with points of 18.5%, about half of it on gravel.  I'm omitting the saliscendi ascent because it's too complicated to calculate.  Once you make it to Forchia Armentaria it's a fun ride from then on.

I want to come back here and try a dirt road that heads up to Monte Flagjel around 1300 meters.  Also another looks like it connects with Valarzino near San Franceso.   Splendid area for riding.    

Start of the climb in Alesso

Monte Chiadins to west 1051 meters

Northwest Monte Piombada, 1744 meters

Close up Piombada

View down Valle di Palar toward Alesso;
left, Monte San Simeone, 1505 meters

Close up Alesso

Stavoli Palar

Downstream Torrente Palar

Toward headwaters of Torrente Palar

Monday, October 20, 2014

Casera Losa MTB

I parked at Ampezzo (560 meters) and rode over Passo Pura (1482 meters)- 8 km averaging 9% gradient.  Then I descended to Lago di Sauris at 965 meters, quite cold on this overcast morning.  Across the high dam and a brief ride along the shore line brought me to the turnoff for Lateis.  Newly asphalted and switch-backed to ease the gradient, the road arrived in a little town seemingly transplanted from Bavaria or Switzerland.  The road steepens and then as I climbed out of town the gradient reaches the mid- to high-teens.  It finally levels briefly at Forca Frumeibn (1423 meters).  As you descend the pavement ends, but it's very hard-packed dirt and should be road bikeable.  

A large cement mixer was ascending as I swooped around a curve so I hopped off and held my bike on the steep edge: the large truck went by with a few inches to spare.  The dirt road enters a meadow with a house, a little chapel and a very old barn at Stavoli Hinter d'Olbe.   Now asphalt returns and I bore right across Rio Temberle, and after some saliscendi, crossed the guado of Rio Piellinis.  Very large eroded landslide area on the mountainside upstream.

Now begins another long steep climb.  The pavement ends again, but this gravel road is a little too rough for a road bike: I was glad I'd brought the MTB.  Eventually you exit the forest and arrive in alpine pastureland.  The clouds now broke up and glorious warm sunshine illuminated the mountains.  I couldn't resist continuing to the area near Casera Losa (1740 meters), in a conch surrounded by grassy peaks.  My drop-dead time to head back passed but I had to spend another 15 minutes exploring the area.

Descent was fast and once I reached the lake I headed down through the tunnels and high bridges through Torrente Lumiei gorge.  The porphyry-block pavement was wet so I was worried about sliding down in the steep tunnels.  Luckily I made it unscathed and reached the car at Ampezzo.

Must try this again and connect with the Passo Forcella climb from Mione, near Ovaro.  Only lacked a few kilometers today but had to get home to stay out of the doghouse. 

Lateis house

Lateis hay drying barn

Stavoli Hinter d'Olbe barn with
curved beams like a ship's ribs

Wood carving of Sant' Antonio

Chapel of Sant'Antonio; note hex head
wooden peg joining

Glorious alpine pastureland near Casera Gerona 

The gravel road from Casera Gerona toward Casera Losa

Valley below the alpine pastures

Casera Losa

The dirt road toward Passo Forcella

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Giro del Cansiglio MTB

Started bright and early from La Crosetta  and after a couple hundred meters turned right on to the gravel road to Monte Candaglia.  Beautiful forest road, mostly level along the side of the ridge.  After riding up to Monte Candaglia I continued climbing to the eastern boundary of il Cansiglio, marked with a surveyors stone marker centuries ago.

Back down a bit I turned right on the forest road descending to Val Bona.  The road is rougher with larger stones, covered with leaves so you can't avoid them.  At Val Bona I continued on Sentiero Alpago Natura to Pian Rosada,  where I rejoined the paved road toward Canaie.  I tried a couple of side roads I thought might reach Casera Palantina.  The first climbs up through Val Seraie to around 1400 meters.  From there you'd continue hiking on CAI 984 to Val Friz.

After descending to Canaie I tried another road, climbing up Val de Piera.  This ended around 1300 meters, with the possibility of hiking CAI 922 to Casera Palantina.  I will have to return and hike it some day.

Now I headed back through Pian Rosada to Campon, where I turned right immediately for Palughetto and on toward  Rifugio Mezzomiglio.  Very steep climb but paved mostly so no problem on MTB.

My plan was to try the trail from Mezzomiglio to Monte Pizzoc, but things went awry.  I crossed the grassy ridge above Mezzomiglio and found the trail I needed, H3.  Immediately it became a muddy mire, churned by livestock hooves into an impassable mess.  I tried continuing a ways but it just got worse.  The H3 trail has no pathway, gravel, etc: just markers showing you the way through the mud. I will come back in the dry season and hike this: there is another parallel trail closer to the cliff edge which crosses Monte Millifret.  

Instead, I retraced my steps to another unrideble muddy trail crossing the ridge and descending to Strada Taffarel.  I carried my road bike over this short trail a few years ago after climbing to Mezzomiglio and it was less muddy that time of year.

Finally reaching Taffarel I tried to make up time, with only 4 or 5 mud bogs on the road to contend with.  Then down the Monte Pizzoc road and up to La Crosetta.  Now I'm stanco di morte. 

The turnoff for Val Seraie

End of road in Val de Piera 

Mom and baby asino at Mezzomiglio

Asinino posing in front of Dolomiti Bellunese

Ancient flatrock wall made without  mortar

Strange stack of huge boulders above Mezzomiglio

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Col della Luna MTB

Meduna River valley has numerous side roads to explore  and today's ride is a new one for me.  After warming up through Valcolvera to Poffabro and Torrente Muie to Navarons, I rode north along Lago dei Tramonti and onward to Tramonti di Sopra.   Here you turn left off SR 552 and immediately turn left again at a sign marked Picnic Area.  You descend to a large park along the river, then continue descending to a bridge across Torrente Meduna at 342 meters.  This is the start of the climb.

The road is paved at first and quite steep.  At Pradis a meadowy area affords you good previews of the mountains you'll be ascending.  A little further along there are Proprieta Privato signs on both sides of the road so I asked the guys working near their house if I could pass through.  One said of course, then added "Ma non va troppo veloce sulla salita" and laughed.  10,000 mountains in Italy and I have to choose the one with the comedian.   The road now gets crazy steep, around 20%, but it's paved and has occasional switchback ends where I could catch my breath.  As you grapple higher the road becomes leaf-strewn and wet from all the rain, so it's impossible to stand in the pedals without loosing traction.  

Around 700 meters elevation pavement ends but the packed gravel road is pretty good.  Still wet,  leaf-strewn though, which was no problem except for hidden metal drainage channels: on your power stroke if you are slightly inclined your rear wheel suddenly skews sideways.  It's a little disconcerting inches away from a long, steep embankment.   At 800 meters you reach a fork: a flat road straight ahead, but more steep switchbacks if you turn left.  I went straight but it ends after a couple hundred meters: I think this may be start of the hiking trail to Forcella di Pria.  Back at the fork I headed up.

This is the toughest part of the climb: the wet leaf-strewn dirt road now steepens, the gravel is less packed and traction is a challenge.  But I eventually made it up to end of the road at 1030 meters, where a step narrow unmarked trail begins.  I do not know if this is the best route, but there must be a  hiking path somewhere leading to the summit of Col della Luna at 1422 meters.          

I now began descending which was great fun.  To my surprise I encountered another MTBer pushing his bike up the trail.  Very friendly guy.  On down the hill and back up to Tramonti di Sopra and home.  Weather looked very threatening from Montreale to Giais, but only a tiny spruzzata.

Torrente Meduna at bridge below Pradis

Monte Giavons to north

Monte Crepa to south

The start of steep dirt switchbacks at 800 meter junction

Cloudy Monte Frascola from around 900 meters

End of the road at 1030 meters

Monte Frascola from Pradis

Monte Giavons from Pradis

Yellow line indicates the road I was on   

From Torrente Meduna to end of climb