Friday, May 7, 2010

Costa - Collalto

Yesterday I left my camera at home because of the rain, but I regretted not getting some pics of the scenery, so I set out this morning to ride from Costa part way up to Rifugio Bornass. I was certain that my legs would be fried, and I'd only be able to take a picture of Torrente Ossena, then crawl home. But something keep telling me to climb higher....

The climb from Costa (205 meters) starts off very steep, with a kilometer of 10-15% ascent. I was sure that would finish me off after yesterday's climb, but no, I felt great. The grade gets easier then, averaging 5.4% to Bornass. I passed a couple of guys on the moderate climb, and then stopped to take a picture of the gushing white water of the torrente. Then I decided to head on up to Rifugio Bornass (767 meters), intending to turn down to Pedemonte and home. The ride was awesome, and when I got to the Rifugio, I decided instead to try to reach the antenna farm at Castaldia (1090 meters). This 4 km stretch averages 7.5%.

At Castaldia I was still feeling great and decide to try to reach the top, at Collalto (1374 meters). I turned off the main road and enjoyed a beautiful ride through the clouds, alongside little valleys, through faggio forest to the top. The road hits 10-12% percent here and there, but isn't bad. All told the climb is 1175 meters in 20 km, with median gradient 6.5%.

The cloud mist, a bit of light rain, wind and altitude made it quite chilly, so I donned my windjacket, but my fingerless gloves left my fingers frozen. Made braking on the descent difficult, so I need to bring a pair of fingered gloves on the climbs even in summer.

I thought about going down the main road (faster/shorter) but something told me to return the same way. I was immediately rewarded a few hundred meters down the road when two yearling deer crossed the road in front of me and gamboled down the steep slope. Later, I saw something move out the corner of my eye, and turned to see a falcon had landed on a branch a few feet away. Wonderful seeing such a magnificent animal so close up. Still later, a beautiful red squirrel darted across the road and stopped, by the road edge, its tufted ears raised alertly. These things made the descent worth the extra time and distance.

I don't even remember the 200 meter climb home from Costa to home- maybe a touch of hypothermia? But Collalto is a lovely climb and I'll try to do it again soon.


Torrente Ossena above Madonna del Monte


Close up of Torrente Ossena


Looking downstream into the gorge


Mountain valley above Castaldia


Faggi e karst a Collalto

Gradient from Costa to Madonna del Monte


Map of the climb


Altimetria








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