A beautiful sunny day, cold (5℃) when I started, but warming to near-April temps by the time I got home. After the lengthy flat ride to Lestans, I rode the rollers through Pinzano to Fiume Arzino, and started the climb. The switchbacks up to Forgaria (320m) have been resurfaced and are great, especially when descending. At Forgoria you turn steeply upward toward San Rocco at 419m. Here you get a brief respite and can enjoy the views of the Tagliamento River and Monte Ragogna across the way. Climbing up out of San Rocco, you arrive on the wonderful newly rebuilt road to Monte Prat. This was started before Stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia descended through here in 2006, and was finally finished last Fall. Really splendid curves and smooth pavement.
Slowly climbed by pastures with baby asinini and some beautiful chocolate brown sheep with curved horns. Look closely in the picture below- there is a jet black lamb lying in the sun next to her mama. The road winds back and forth till 759 meters, overlooking the wide meadows of Monte Prat. This section of the climb is just hard enough to challenge you, but doesn't beat you into submission.
After the pretty meadows you enter a lovely beech tree forest on a narrow mountain lane. It ascends meanderingly to 903 meters at Val Tochel, a meadow at the base of Monte Cuar. Monte Cuar is a very distinctive mountain you can recognize from far away, because it is shaped like a symmetrical arc of rocky cliffs with identical peaks at each end. There are 3 ways to descend from here- west to Val d'Arzino, north through Cuel di Forchia pass to Avesins, or back the way I came, to Forgaria. I turned around and headed back. After Monte Prat the great descent begins, wide sweeping tornanti, and my favorite, chicanes where you lean hard right then quickly flip over and lean hard left as you enter a 180 degree turn at the end of a switchback. The silky smooth pavement ends at San Rocco, and the road becomes rough, but still steep and fun. After Forgaria more newly paved switchbacks to play on till you reach Fiume Arzino.
From there it's a longish ride home, but the warm weather and sun made it seem easier. I'll be repeating this ride (or some variation of it) soon.
|Fuzzy baby asinino|
|Monte Cavallo 2251 meters|
|East peak of Monte Cuar 1477 meters|
|West peak of Monte Cuar|
|Monte Musi (1870m) across the Tagliamento River valley|
|Cuel di Forchia pass between Monte Cuar & Monte Covria|
|Frozen pond atop Monte Prat|
|Beautiful chocolate brown sheep-|
click to enlarge and see black baby lamb