Woke up at 0400 to beat the heat again, but headed off in a new direction. I drove northeast to Moggio Udinese (306 meters), and then hopped on the bike. Rode in the morning coolness through secluded, beautiful Val d'Aupa. The first 12 km are an easy gradient, but then it heads upward for 6 km, averaging 7% until the sella at 1066 meters. The sella is in a lovely forest.
The descent is equally fascinating- thick forest, large grassy meadows, views of surrounding peaks. It will be fun to ride in the opposite direction some day so I'll have more time to look around.
At Pontebba (560 meters) the descent ends and another climb starts- to the Austrian border at Passo di Pramollo (or Nassfeldpass in German) at 1530 meters. This is a harder climb- averaging 7% for 13 km. It has a couple of long stretches at 10% and higher. Also more exposed to the sun, so even at 10 in the morning the heat was palpable. But it also has great views, and at the top a little lake called Stausee. Lots of grassy hillsides at Nassfeldpass and pretty views. I rode a little ways into Austria, but turned back when the road started to head down.
After rapidly descending back to Pontebba, I headed down SS13 toward Moggio. This is an excellent road and the traffic was very light- most uses the parallel autostrada. It winds down through the mountains following Fiume Fella. Spectacular peaks all around.
I highly recommend this loop- the views are well worth the effort.
Creta Grauzaria (2066 m) from Val d'Aupa
Rio Bombaso; everytime I saw the name on a sign, Mr Bombastic started playing over and over in my head