Thursday, December 30, 2010

Castello di Cordignano - Castello di Caneva

Lightly overcast and cold when I left, but after Budoia, the skies turned blue and sunny.  Lots of cyclists out today, despite the frigid weather.  I rode along Via Pedemontane Occidentale to Sarmede, then attacked the short, steep climb up to Rugolo.  I made it up the 12-14% switchbacks seated, then a half kilometer of 10% made me stand to continue.  At the church in Rugolo the road levels out very briefly, then comes the turn off for Rugolet, another 12-14% climb, though mercifully brief.  I've ridden through Rugolet in the opposite direction but this is the first time headed east.  Nice mountainside rolling road, though short.  It passes through some pretty woods, in contrast to the rolling prosecco vineyards covering most of the area.

Now you arrive at Castello di Cordignano, the ruin of an 11th century castle.  The defenders had a great view of any approaching armies.  Normally I arrive here in the middle of a hard climb from the plain, and don't really clearly see the place, but today I was coming downhill so I could stop and check it out.

The descent continues to Villa di Villa then Caneva.  Here starts another little climb up to Castello di Caneva, a better condition ruin.  This one also was started in 11th century.  It has a lovely old church with stain glass windows, though I haven't been inside.

The climb spirals around the little promontory and eventually arrives at a crossroad for Il Cansiglio and Sarone.  I headed down the long grade through Sarone, a 150 meter plummet down to the lowlands where Fiume Livenza emerges from the base of the mountain, at the spring La Santissima.

From here a 25km rolling climb home on Via Pedemontane Occidentale.  Several young fellows zipped by like I was standing still.  Now I'm very tired.

Castello di Cordignano fortification

Castello di Caneva 

Rolling prosecco vineyards

Looking across the vineyards toward campanile di Caneva

The grade from Sarmede to Rugolo, castello di Cordignano, Caneva, castello di Caneva, Sarone

Monday, December 27, 2010


Finally the rain stops and blue skies return!  On the flip side, the temp's around 0℃.  Much new snow on the mountains, so I headed for the plains.  I glided down the long, slight downhill from Vajont to Vivaro.  Then west to the bridge over the Magredi del Cellina.  I stopped to take some pictures of the mountains, and a paceline of four riders slowed and everyone asked if I needed help "Hai bisogna?  Tutto apposto?"  Very nice feeling having others watch out for you here.

Then through San Foca, San Quirino, Roveredo, and turn north toward Budoia.  Easy 4-5% grade from the train tracks up to the main road in Budoia.  Then rolling hills westward past Aviano, Marsure, and home.  Felt great while riding, but quite cold as soon as I got off the bike.

Monte Cavallo, Pala Fontana. Pala d'Altei (left to right)

 East Ridge of Valcellina, Monte Raut (left to right)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 Recap

2010 is coming to an end, so before I flip the calendar page I wanted to say what a wonderful year it's been. The mild weather and good fortune surpassed all expectations.

I started riding again a couple of years ago after a long period of dormancy and illness. I only wanted to recover some strength and fitness, then maybe someday ride around the foothills where we live. I never dreamed I could ever climb the high passes of Carnia and Dolomiti Bellunese. To me it still feels miraculous- each climb is a gift I never expected to experience again.

Several rides stand out for both the challenge of the climb and beauty of the environment: Sorgente del Piave, Sella di Razzo and Monte Crostis. If I had to chose, the most fascinating was Monte San Simeone. It was a mystery: the only report I'd found beforehand was from mountain bikers, so I wasn't sure it was paved. But what a pleasant surprise- it was a well-designed road with dozens of switchbacks, many tunnels and a constant grade. There were almost no cars and the views were spectacular. Best of all were the hundreds of butterflies, and the glorious wildflowers in the alpine meadows at the top.

Here's hoping 2011 is as good a year or better- Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mezzomonte 3

Sunny cold morning.   Enjoyed seeing many groups of riders coming up from the plains on Via Pedemontane Occidentale.  Descended to Gorgazzo at 50 meters above sea level, then rode up to the turn off for Coltura.  The road gets very steep (16%) till the top of the town, and then starts a climb up 11 tornanti to Mezzomonte at 496 meters.  I stood on everything over 12%.  Lungs felt great (they like cold dry air apparently).  I rode slowly on the way down, looking for a spot to take a picture, but the trees blocked all the great shots of the tornanti etc.

Normally I warm back up on the 300 meter climb home but not today- I was cold when I got home.  But it was nice walking the dogs in the afternoon with the sun shining- felt a little warmer.

Garmin hasn't saved the last two rides.  I tried clearing out the memory.  If the next ride is dumped I'll try replacing the battery.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Val d'Artugna 3

Another fortnight of pouring rain, and finally a day of clear skies.  I headed down Via Pedemontana Occidentale, past Aviano at 129 meters, up to Budoia and Dardago, then turned up toward Val d'Artugna .  It was cold but the exertion of climbing heated me up quickly.  I stayed seated all the way up the 10-11% slope, past Il Rifugio and La Chalet, accompanied by the roar of rain-choked Torrente Artugna far below in the gorge.   I passed a couple of older gentlemen walking a little black and white dog.  One of them warned me "Guarda su il inizio, cora" but I wasn't worried- I've ridden this many times before.

At 450 meters I rode carefully in the gutter around the closed barrier, and continued up the narrower mountain lane to end of pavement at 570 meters.  Nice view down the gorge toward Budoia and the plain.  Fun descent- long straight stretch glide in aerodynamic tuck.