Saturday, February 26, 2011

Osservatorio Astronomico Montereale Valcellina 2011

This is another very close climb to our house- less than 5 km away.  At Grizzo in Montereale you hang a left and then take a right onto a narrow lane marked Motel Spia.  After a bit of climbing the grade eases at Motel Spia (which has a restaurant and nice views of Montereale and Torrente Cellina).   Then it tilts to 14% for a couple of stretches, followed by several km of 8-10%.  Excellent workout.

At first you're riding in the woods encircling Monte Spia.  You can see the new dam on the Cellina at Ravedis and the steep river gorge to your right- more about this in a moment.  Then the road starts on long switchbacks along the side of Pala d'Altei, completely exposed to sun on the south.  I got  behind a slow tractor doing logging but he pulled over to let me pass when the road widened a bit- very kind of him.  Then a brief downhill, followed by a climb back into the  woods, through Val de la Roja, and finally end of pavement, after 5 km of climbing, at the astronomical observatory (670 meters).      

Beautiful descent- I tried to ride the dirt road which skirts around to the north to an overlook above the Cellina gorge, but after half a kilometer the road became too steep and rough for skinny road bike tires.  Maybe I will take the dogs for a walk up there tomorrow.  Should be a lovely view.

Frozen water trough

Catkins on hornbeam tree.  These are among the earliest flowers of Spring

Dirt road to overlook of Valcellina

Pala d'Altei, 1528 meters, from Montereale

Pala d'Altei from our house (further southwest) 

The climb from above

The grade, note 14% stretches 

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