New Years Day 2011 was cold, clear and sunny. I set out across the plain to Travesio, arriving in one hour (27.7 km). From here the road heads up Val Cosa, a winding valley through the foothills. After a few kilometers, a small dam (with waterfall pouring over the top from all the rain) holds back Lago del Tul, while the road follows Rio Crevid to the right.
At 220 meters the climb proper begins, climbing 500 meters in 8 kilometers. The first section, through Clauzetto at 560 meters, is a lovely switchbacked, well-paved road. Then the road steepens and becomes a rough meandering mountain lane through the tall beech forest to Cristo at 723 meters, then down and up to Orton. Lots of rolling pasture here with views all around.
Now I headed down the bumpy crooked lane to Gerchi (535 m). I got a bit chilled on this section as the road is too rough to pedal downhill, so no exertion to keep warm. Then the road immediately turns uphill, through a jumble of curvy karst stone formations. Never quite warmed up on the climb up to Piani di Clauzetto at 675 m. Then another longish, rough descent with much frost and ice to Campone at 425 m, further chilling me.
The long ride down Val Chiarzó was beautiful, with frost-covered bare trees everywhere, but was colder than ever, as the sun never reaches this gorge in winter. I was a block of ice when I arrived at the main road along Lago Tramonti, but now with smooth, ice-free pavement, I could try to warm up through exertion.
I pedaled hard as possible down to Meduno, across the river to Cavasso Nuovo and Fanna, then around Maniago and over the Cellina to Montereale. I made it home somewhat thawed, but not really warm. Took the pups for a walk, ate some fruit and some salmon, but never really warmed up till I took a hot soak. That did the trick.
I'll try to wear my extreme weather gear next time when heading over-600 meters in winter. I have some thick Gecko Gear pants, neoprene overboots and third-layer overgloves I can try. I usually save those for windy cold days on the plains but maybe they'll work in the foothills as well.
|Gerchi, from Orton|
|Torrente Chiarzó frosty trees|