Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Casera Cruden

Another climb in Alpago, a bowl-shaped valley surrounded by mountains north of Vittorio Veneto.  I started with a cruise from Serravalle (135m) up over Sella Fadalto (487m), along Lago di Santa Croce to Farro, then up through Cornei (471m) to Lamosano (640m).  

Instead of taking the bypass around Lamosano, I rode into the middle of the village, and took a right for Funes, Irrighe and Chies.  After a bit you pass the left turn for Funes (and Casera Crosetta- future ride!), then shortly after the high bridge at Molini (701m), the main road begins descending to Chies.  Instead you turn left  up a little lane marked Villaggio Tamera and Col Pian.  This lane is quite steep, but I stayed seated because I knew worse was to come.   After over half a kilometer averaging 12.9% I reached beautiful Irrighe (832m), and the grade eased briefly.  After passing the church, the lane gets even steeper than before, averaging 13.7% for another over-half km to Tamera, a tiny collection of houses.  

After this, things only got worse and I had to stand, first for a half km of 15.7% average grade (with sections over 20%).  The lane is now engulfed in forest, beautiful and cool, though the dampness and fir needles, etc combine with the loose pebble surface to limit traction.  Finally there is a brief flat spot at a turnoff  for some vacation A-frames (Villaggio Tamera).  I stopped here and hyperventiated awhile.   I had to roll downhill to restart and clip in, then headed upward again.  But it's now even worse, a half-kilometer averaging 17.4%, with points of 25 - 31%.  I stopped and hyperventilated awhile at another "flat" spot.  Finally made it to Casera Cruden at 1130 meters.  

After a long rest, I rode around a bit and checked out the trailhead to Pian Formosa, etc.  The lane appeared to continue eastward as a trail to Forcella Federola, and the first half kilometer was newly paved.  It was too steep for me to ride (+30% in parts) so I pushed my bike up.  The pavement finally ended around 1200 meters, where the grade lessened.  I rode down this very carefully because of the concrete drainage channels every 10 meters or so.  

I continued down the way I'd come to Irrighe, then turned off for Chies.  There was a light climb, then after the town, a fantastic descent on wide, newly-paved roadway with long steep straights and excellent tornanti.  Very fun descent to Puos, then into a headwind along the lake (what is up with that?) over Sella Fadalto and down more twisties.

This is a great ride with beautiful scenery.  I'll be coming back to climb Casera Crosetta (1156m) before long- hard to stay away!

Torrente Funesia downstream
from high bridge at Molini
Upstream, with ruin of old mill on right,
ruined arch of old bridge over the rapids

Pieve d'Alpago left, and Plois right, on shoulder of
Monte Dolada 

Mt Venal (2212m) above Casera Cruden

Casera Cruden and Monti Mol (1534m) 

Col Visentin (1763m) across Lago di Santa Croce,
with Irrighe (832m) on right 

Irrighe, with Mt Venal , Mt Santander (2184m)
and Mt Messer (2230m) in background

Meadows and forest with Monte Cavallo (2231m) in far background 

Il Cansiglio with Mezzomiglio meadows (1270m) at upper right

Altimetria of killer gradient
25.8% and 31% gradient on climb to Casera Cruden

The climb from Irrighe to Casera Cruden

The climb and descent from Torrente Tesa to Irrighe 

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