Thursday, June 23, 2011

Porzus - Madonnina del Domm

Finally a break in the rainy weather, so I headed back to the central Julian Prealps north of Cividale.  I decided to park at Faedis so I could warm up for the steep climb to Porzus. But it turns out the road from Faedis to Attimis  is itself quite hilly- starting out with a 10% knoll followed by a set of rolling hills.  So I arrived in Attimis as ready as I'd ever be.

After Attimis the narrow lane for Porzus branches right from the road to Subit.  Almost immediately, the lane enters a lovely dense forest and tilts to 10%- it maintains this 10% average grade up a series of switchbacks for the next 4 km.  Now you reach the edge of the village of Porzus, with some lovely hay meadows.  The road for Malghe di Porzus turns away from the town and heads up the wooded hill toward a group of TV and microwave repeaters.  This section is even steeper, with much 14% grade.  I stayed seated except to stretch.

Finally at 910 meters you reach a T-intersection.  Left takes you to Plan del Jof, right goes to Malghe di Porzus and Canebola.   I turned right and enjoyed a kilometer of -3% descent, an opportunity to catch my breath and rest my back.  Now a sign on the left indicates the turn off for Malghe di Porzus.   And now you face a wall of 18-20% concrete road.  It has transverse grooves to improve traction, and despite all the rain, I only spun the rear wheel once.  The bike stopped in its tracks until I got on top of the other crank arm and firmly (but not too hard) pressed it down.   The wall ends, there's a flattish stretch through spruce forest, now another wall, repeat again, and you're at the end of pavement (968m).  Lovely views here of the surrounding valleys and mountains, though today the valleys were full of cloud and the mountains appeared to be floating on top.

I rolled back down this wall and turned left on the road for Canebola.  Nice descent down forested slopes.  Now you arrive at Bocchetta Sant'Antonio, a solitary church in gorgeous meadows full of wildflowers. There's a junction here: one road leads to Montefosca and Slovenia,  another descends to Canebola and Faedis, and a third climbs to Madonnina del Domm.  I chose the latter, which climbs through more glorious wildflowery meadows and  spruce forest to Madonnina del Domm (960m).

On the left I saw a packed gravel road for Monte Joanaz, which was pretty rideable though squishy from the rain.  After a half km it turned into a jumble of gullies so I stopped and walked through the wildflowers covering the embankment till I reached the ridgeline.  Fantastic views of the mountains to the east, valleys etc.  Really nice place.

I originally planned to descend to Faedis, but the sunny weather and views of Torreano valley made me want to try that way.  It was was quite rough until Masarolis, then improved- lots of fun tornanti.  Eventually it empties into a slightly downhill valley mouth, and then you turn north toward Faedis.  I misread a sign along here and did an extra 200 meter climb to Colloredo, but it was a smooth road with nice switchbacks so I can't grumble too much ;-)

Love this area and will be returning soon.    

Steep switchbacks from Attimis to Porzus

Lovely hay meadows by Porzus village

From Malghe di Porzus the sea of clouds 

Bocchetta di Sant'Antonio

Looking up the meadows toward Monte Joanaz

Near Madonnina del Domm looking down at
Bocchetta di Sant'Antonio and Canebola

From Monte Joanaz looking east into Slovenia

Map of ride

Close up Attemis to Malghe di Porzus

Close up from Bocchetta di Sant'Antonio to Madonnina del Domm
and down toward Torreano

The two highest points

The steepness above Porzus and up toward Malghe di Porzus

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