Saturday, October 29, 2011


Set out this morning intending to climb Pala Barzana (842m) from Poffabro.  I rode through Maniago, then the fantastic gorge of Bus di Colvera, and up Val Colvera.  A few months ago when I descended from Pala Barzana the main road was closed from Pian della Merie to Poffabro, and traffic was diverted through Valdifrini.  So today just before Poffabro I decided to take the deviation through Valdifrini in case the main road was still blocked.  The narrow lane has been recently repaved and is quite nice.  Still steep as the dickens for about a half kilometer though- as you can see below, it surpasses 16% at points.  I was compelled to stand which was a good test of my back's recovery- didn't feel any pain.   

At the junction with the main road another surprise.  They were having some sort of timed car race over Pala Barzana to Poffabro, so no one was allowed to turn westward.  Luckily I had arrived a few minutes before the start, so they let me ride east through Pian dell Meria to Poffabro.    It was a lovely autumn day with the leaves turning color so I still enjoyed my ride.  Especially pleasing was the roar of white water through Bus di Colvera following recent heavy rains.   And I made it home early enough for a nice hike with the pups on our local pista ciclabile.  Nice Saturday!

Torrente Colvera roaring through Il Bus

Autumn leaves along the old road above Bus di Colvera

Water-carving rock in progress

Forest of Monte Jouf above west wall of Bus di Colvera

The near-vertical forest lane through Valdifrini

Elevation profile

Sunday, October 23, 2011

After the fall

I wish I had a more exciting story to tell about my injury, like this fellow:
But my accident was quite lame.  I'm on a drug to control my brain tumor, and among other side-effects it causes postural hypo-tension, similar to standing up too quickly and feeling dizzy, but worse.  So a few weeks ago I woke up in the middle of the night and got up to go to the bathroom.  The stairs are adjacent to the bathroom door, and I apparently blacked-out and plummeted down the stairs (15 in all).  I came-to lying on the ground floor, with a loud ringing sound in my head.  Marilyn was woken by the clatter and helped me back to bed.  The next morning I was sore all over, with bruises, knots and lumps everywhere.  The worst was my mid-left back which was very sore.  I took it easy, hobbling around stiffly and felt a little better after a couple of weeks, though sadly unable to ride on those cool, clear October days.  One day I took an easy flat bike ride to Maniago and Vajont, which went well, and took the dogs on some long walks around the local pista ciclabile.  They are great physical therapy aides.

Finally today I felt fit enough to try a bit of climbing.  I decided to try the longish gradient up Val d'Artugna, which starts easy and very gradually steepens to 8%, then 10% and more, before slacking a bit past the barrier above Il Chalet restaurant.  Pavement ends around 560 meters.  I did not push myself at all, nor did I stand on the steeper bits because I wanted to avoid pulling upward with my left side.  No problems noted.  

I'll be trying to commute to class in Pordenone (14 miles) when the weather cooperates.  I put street-shoe pedals on the old Trek, and may even add a rack and fenders if I get inspired (it has mounting eyelets).  It's a slightly upgrade ride home and should help strengthen my weakened back muscles.