I had an ulterior motive for this ride- needed a brake test for a new front rim. A few months ago on the descent from Clauzetto to Pradis di Sotto, I hit a pointed rock in the road. It blew the front inner tube, which I replaced and continued. I trued the wheel when I got home and didn't see any obvious damage. But in subsequent hard braking during descents, I've gotten bad chatter from the front brake. I substituted my old Campagnolo Montreal wheel (with 1996 Chorus hub) on Piancavallo last week, and had no chatter. So I thought I'd rebuild the Ambrosio Evolution wheel using a spare Mavic Open 4 CD rim I've had in the attic for 10 years, but it's 36 hole, and the 2005 Chorus hub on the Merckx is 32. I ordered a replacement Ambrosio Evolution rim from www.all4cycling.com . It arrived in 2 days, the price was the cheapest I could find online (€24), and they sent me an extra rim! Now that's good service. Maybe I'll use it to rebuild the rear wheel later.
I built the wheel yesterday, using some DT Swiss double-butted 2.0-1.8 spokes I had in the attic- amazingly they were almost the perfect length, though I had to lace them 3-cross to fit. What are the odds with different make/model rims and newer model hubs?
So today was the test- could it handle the mountains?
I warmed up on the plain and turned upward at Fanna. The road is wide and has great switchbacks- it was a good climb, though with many trucks hauling crushed rock from the mine at the top to the cement plant in Fanna. At the crest, 475 meters, I saw the closed road to Chiesa di San Lorenzo, which is a 13th century church. I hear it's a beautiful place, so someday soon I'll try to hike to it via a different route- many pics and info about the Monte San Lorenzo church, Roman road, old houses, and the environment here: http://www.montesanlorenzo.org/chiesetta.htm
From there I descended on an old mountain road- no switchbacks, narrow and steep. At speed I grabbed a handful of front brake and stopped on a dime. Sped up again and braked the front as hard as I could- no chatter, and so strong I could feel the back tire lift up, which was a little hairy because for a moment I felt like I was balancing on the front wheel on a curvy road with steep drop off to the side. The new rim works great.
Up the Valcolvera, and then climbed up past Frisanco to Valdistali. It's a beautiful ridge road with the plain stretching to the horizon on one side, and on the other, the wooded Val Muiè, with the hillside town of Casasola across the valley. 568 meters is the highpoint on the road.
I turned around at the end of the asfalto and descended to Valcolvera, stopping in Bus di Colvera to take some pictures. It's an awesome gorge, with Monte San Lorenzo on one side, and Monte Jouf on the other. Go see it if you're in the area.
New Ambrosio Evolution rim
Wild primule near Valdistali
Frisanco campanile from the ridge road
Bus di Colvera
Grotto in Bus Colvera