Saturday, November 12, 2011


The torrential rains have finally stopped. We were very lucky though, with no flood victims as in Genova.  We escaped with only some landslides; among them the popular cycling road on Piancavallo from Madonna del Mont to Rifugio Bornass (see ).  So I decided to celebrate with a ride in the pre-alps.

I parked at Faedis, north of Cividale, and prepared to ride.  Then I noticed I'd forgotten to transfer the seat bag (with spare tire tube and levers) from my commuter bike to the Merckx.  I thought about returning home but decided I would trim the ride back to the single climb to Valle-Pedrosa (instead of including Plan del Jof as well).  That way I'd only have to walk or roll on the flat tire back to the car if I got a flat.

After warming up to Campeglio (134m), I turned left and began the moderate climb (8-10%) through the forest up to Colloredo (273m).  Here the forest opens into hillside vineyards basking in the sun, and for a few hundred meters the road is flat.  Then you return to the forest and hit a steep wall, which forced me to stand immediately.  After a hundred meters or so the grade slackens to 10-12% for maybe 40 meters, then tilts upward again.  This repeats a number of times in a series of stair steps continuing for perhaps 3km.  There is a brief flat around 600m, then the grappling starts again.  These steep ramps carry you up 350m in 3km at an average 11.5% gradient.  The pavement is excellent with plenty of shade for summer climbs.

At the top you reach Valle (735m), a deserted town this time of year but full of vacationers in summer.  I did hear someone working on a house.   There is an adjacent town, Pedrosa, but the turn off was covered in big rocks for a hundred meters and I didn't want to risk flatting.  The views up here would be spectacular on a clear day, but it was quite hazy today.  I headed down the narrow backroad toward Faedis with trepidation- maybe it would be covered with rocks which could cause a flat.  Surprisingly it was very good pavement and mostly free of rockfalls, though it was completely covered with leaves.  Nice descent down pretty forested slopes into Canal di Grivo.  Here you join the road coming down from Canebola which I originally intended to climb today.  Shortly I was in Faedis and returned to the car.

I'll explore this the other way round next time, as these fellows did:  Canebola, Porzus, Valle e Madonnina del Domm

Campanile di Valle

The chiesa di Valle

Looking back at Valle from the descent

The steep, uneven gradient

The elevation profile

Rode counterclockwise 

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