Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sella Sompdogna

I haven't returned to this gorge since May 2011.  Not sure why as it's a fantastic climb, but I have.  Today I parked in Resiutta and rode SS 13 to Chiusaforte.  Here I located the Alpe Adria bikeway, which follows the old train route to Tarvisio.  I bailed out at Dogna and began the 18 km climb.  It's saliscendi early on, with numerous side canyons, eventually entering a rocky landscape ending with 5 km of 8%.  The sella is the end of the road, though I've heard with a MTB you can descend to Valbruna where pavement resumes.  Must return here more often than once every 5 years.

Waterfalls along the gorgeous Alpe Adria bike route

Julian alp peaks to the south.  You can ascend from
Chiusaforte and see them from the Pian di Montasio side 

Long climb but with much variety

Monday, August 14, 2017

Golo Brdo - Korada

I climbed Korada by MTB  from Golo Brdo a couple of years ago, but today I tried with my Legend Fedaia road bike.  It worked great with the benefit of lighter weight and better efficiency.  Back on  pavement I missed a turn so my original plan to descend via Lig fell through.  No problem though as I descended to Gonjace instead.  l headed for Neblo where I intended to re-enter Italy, but I noticed a sign for a return route to Golo Brdo.  This turned out to be an excellent climb up the mountain, connecting with the turn off  for the dirt road to Korada.  This time I skipped the dirt road and just descended to Golo Brdo.  Beautiful Slovenian ride.

Saturday, August 12, 2017


After a week of fence building followed by a couple of days too exhausted to move I finally got back to biking.  From Segusino I returned to the death-climb of Marziai I had tried to MTB a couple of years ago.  Today on Fedaia I did pretty well, but likewise ended up pushing the last km or two of pavement.  Once I reached the gravel road I could see that was going to be all pushing too.  On the MTB I had pedaled from there up to Capella del Monte Garda at 1170 meters.   This is MTB-able to Col Artent and  Rifugio Mareich.

Instead today I headed back down.  Even with discs it was pretty squirrelly, with the back end wanting to come around due to braking on steep rough pavement.  I survived though and was very happy with the ride.  I will try it again with my heavy MTB and try to reach Col Artent this fall.  Bellowing bucks in the hollows below made the ride magical last time.

Piave River and Dolomiti Bellunese from above town

Via Castello

Higher view of the Piave and peaks

Insanely steep concrete raingutter road

The climb

The descent starts with 3km of 15%

Monday, July 31, 2017

Ultegra di2 11-34

Test climb with 11-34 cassette.  Worked great!

From l to r:  Monte Fara, Monte Raut, Monte Jouf

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


North of Barcis you climb through wonderful Cellina gorge on the main road until turning off toward Claut.  Shortly afterward you reach another gorge leading north, Val Settimane.  This is a fantastic narrow road, sometimes paved, sometimes gravel, leading you to a trailhead at Pussa.  On foot or a mountain bike you can continue into the Dolomiti Friulane, but today I turned around here.  It's a magical place, so rugged and spectacular.  Be a shame to miss it if you are in the area.  

In the distance the peaks you MTB to from Pussa

Another view of the back country

Casera Pussa, where milk from local cows is made into cheese

Noisy, easy-access waterfall

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Monte Tomatico

I first heard of Monte Tomatico in Jack's blog , and I've spent the last 7 years  cooking up excuses to avoid it.  Today was the  day of reckoning, so I approached, trembling.  The first hurdle arrived in the form of an unmarked junction.  Surely the one marked "Private" and "Forbidden: shepherds and woodsmen only"couldn't be it.  72 vertical meters out of the saddle later the obviously correct fork dead ended.

I rolled back down and took the other fork.  I alternated mashing Maxxima's 34 X 32 gear seated, and standing, pulling the bars up with each half-stroke.  I survived this torture up to 965 meters and then could pedal no more.  For awhile I struck various "Goodbye, cruel world" poses. Then I started pushing the bike up the hill.  Finally at 1109 meters I deemed it climbable again and remounted.

The road eventually turns to gravel, but is still rideable.  Finally at 1400 meters is a junction.  I decided to turn around here, as ominous dark clouds were amassing and there were thunderstorms in the forecast.  A couple of Italian MTB'ers arrived from the other side (another route) and asked where I was from.  One said I should go up the hill to the cross which is the highest spot but I decided to turn back.  The descent was much more fun.  I will try this again with MTB (which is atrophying in the shed this summer).   It will be perfect for this road.    

Pretty piazzetta in Porcen, start of climb 

Very well-marked at the start

Hmmm, left or right?

Left is forbidden, can't be the one (no?) 


A little rifugio at 1400 meters

I was advised to go up to the cross on top,
but I'll MTB up there next time

Windy, fast moving dark clouds
coming over the top of Monte Grappa

The climb

The bike pushing

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