Saturday, October 9, 2010

Monte Cesen da Combai

Beautiful sunny Autumn day.  I returned to Monte Cesens this week to try a different approach- the climb from Combai to Casere Budui.

As before, I warmed up with a ride from Vittorio Veneto, through Revine Lago to Combai.  It's gently rolling most of the way, but climbs pretty steeply up to 430 meters at Combai.  The town was hosting a Sagra Marroni or chestnut festival.  The woods are full of chestnut trees here and folks are all over the forest with baskets to stash their gathered chestnuts.

I  descended slightly and then the main climb began.  The road looks good at first, rising steadily through dense chestnut and fir tree forest.  Chestnuts were literally raining down at some points, striking my bike and the pavement around me.  Soon the pavement becomes very rough, with many washed-out areas, craters etc.  I'm guessing the drainage isn't good so it becomes a torrent in heavy rains.  This undermines the roadbed, tears away chunks of asphalt, and so on.  It wasn't too bad on the climb up, because I was pedaling so slowly (due to the steep gradient) that it was easy to choose the best line.

The road through the dense forest continues steeply upward, repeatedly exceeding 12% on the long tornanti.  My back was aching from the climb up Cason di Lanza a couple days ago, but standing didn't feel much better.  The average grade is 8.2% for 10km, which includes several false flats.

Around 1000 meters the road popped out into open pastureland.  It was hazy so the panorama was obscured, but the view of Monte Cesens above was wonderful.  A beautiful eagle leapt from a branch, did a sharp 180 degree turn a few meters above my head, and glided out into the great blue.  The climb continued up to Casere Budui at 1200 meters, where some folks were eating.

I put on my jacket and headed down.  Because of the horrible pavement I spent most of the time clutching the brakes, balancing on the pedals.  Next time I will traverse the flank of Monte Cesens to Pianezze, and descend via the much better road to Valbiaddene.

I was frozen from not pedaling on the descent when I arrived at Combai, so pedaled as fast as possible to warm up.  The descent on the main road was steep and fast with great curves.  I continued going fast on the long gently rolling stretch down to Vittorio Veneto- very fun.

Note: I don't have any pictures- Marilyn has already packed the camera for a trip back to the States next week.

The gradient


  1. I get all tired out reading some of your posts! Did you stop and have some chestnuts?

  2. Hate to admit it but I don't care for them. Italians grind them into flour to make cookies and cakes. Now those are delicious!