Saturday, January 29, 2011

Canal di Cuna

I was planning to ride up Val Meduna to Tramonti di Sopra, but I noticed on the map a little paved road heading into the hills from Tramonti di Mezzo.  Turns out there is a hidden valley at the top of the road, with an historic abandoned village- see Canal di Cuna.  I set out to discover how far up the valley I could go.

After an hour of riding into 20 kph headwinds I arrived in Meduno.  Then up and down some rolling hills until reaching Lago dei Tramonti.  After the lake, the road heads up a lengthy stretch of 10-12% until Tramonti di Sotto, then you turn right toward Tramonti di Mezzo.  Here you turn right again onto a tiny road marked Canal di Cuna.  It's very narrow and rough, but not too steep at first.  Beautiful views (and sounds) of Torrente Chiarchia in the adjacent gorge.

Around 430 meters elevation, the road turns away from the torrente, and heads decidedly upward: 12 tornanti in 3 km gaining 350 meters elevation.  A couple of particularly steep stretches exceed 20% grade.  I tried standing for this whole 3 km, panting and gasping up the switchbacks.  For added fun, tire-swallowing drainage grates cross the road at intervals, with pine straw, tree limbs, and fallen rocks to boot.  I almost made it to the top, but finally vapor-locked at 727 meters.  After hyperventilating awhile, my bright-light-at-the-end-of-a-tunnel hallucination faded away, and I was back in the middle of a steep road.   No way to start and clip in at this angle with less than 2-meter wide pavement, so I donned cleat covers and walked.  The grade flattened out a bit at 750 meters- if I only could have lasted another 23 meters!

Shortly after, the road turns to dirt and stone.  Next time I'll try to ride up here with some sneakers in a knapsack, and hike on up to Forchia Zuviel 890 meters, then down toward the abandoned village at San Vincenzo.  From the website, sounds like there are great views of the surrounding peaks from Canal di Cuna.

Rode down the steep bits carefully, then rode fast as possible from Tramonti di Mezzo toward home.  The headwind from this morning was now at my back- felt like I was flying.

Torrente Meduna, with Monte Valcalda in background

Torrente Chiarchia 

Val Meduna from the road to Canal di Cuna

Torrente Chiarchia and Val Meduna

The grade up to Selva Piana, with two +20% stretches

From Tramonti di Mezzo to Selva Piana

Val Meduna from above

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