Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lago Ca' Selva - Panuch - Val Bassa

Sometimes you return to a familiar climb and you discover the place all over again.  Today my routine local ride  to Lago Ca' Selva was like that.  As Jack puts it "Eppure esistono salite belle ed impegnative anche vicino a casa, e può capitare che passino anche un paio di anni prima di salire sulla vetta di certe montagne; ed ogni volta che ci si torna si scopre il gusto dell'esplorazione, dell'impresa, della scoperta e la fatica pare sempre più di quella reale. La bicicletta non dovrebbe trasformarsi in routine, per non perdere il gusto della prima volta."

It began normally enough- I warmed up through Maniago then through Bus di Colvera toward Poffabro and down Val Muie to Navarons.  At Lago Tramonti dam I turned and headed toward Chievolis.  Here the climb starts up Val Silisia, as usual a good workout.  At the first mid-ride summit a family of deer were having lunch.  The mother stayed by the gorge cliff-edge, while 3 babies (quite clumsy and cute) and a yearling crossed the deserted road for some food. I stayed away and used zoom to take a foto, then the mother got spooked, headed downslope, and the yearling and babies jumped over the guardrail to follow.   

The Lago Ca' Selva dam was peaceful as always.  I thought I'd cross over and go a few hundred meters up the dirt road toward Forcella Clautana.  Suddenly the dirt road gave way to pavement, not new but still in good condition.  Not sure why I haven't seen this before- I may have and I've forgotten (my memory is pretty spotty).  The narrow road begins climbing, getting steeper and steeper until 653 meters near Panuch.  There is a trailhead here.  Then you descend through a stupendous beech tree forest with big dolomite stone cliffs.  On the other side of the narrow lane is the back end of Lago Ca' Selva, normally hidden from view.  I finally reached the bottom of this descent and continued to the  stream crossing  at Val Bassa, where pavement ended.  The gravel road looks pretty good, so I may come back later and try to go further.

Now back over the hill again, down to the lake, up the other hill, and down the road to Cievolis.  From here I took the main road through Meduno and Maniago to home. 

Note:  Had another flat on Vittorio Diamante Pro tire near Val Colvera- I'm swapping it for a Michelin Lithion tonight.  

Mama deer, left edge, 2 baby deer in road

Lago Ca' Selva back end from Panuch,
with Forcella Clautana in background 

Overview of the climb

The new (to me) paved road to Panuch and Val Bassa

A km of 13.6% to Panuch

On the way back from Val Bassa, a km of mere 12.2%
Steep ramps leading to Panuch

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Passi Praderadego - San Boldo

Previously rode this double climb in June 2011 .  This time I decided to try it in reverse direction, with Praderadego first, then San Boldo.  Definitely easier this way.  I was lucky and 2 cycling friends, Doug and Paul wanted to go.   We cruised out past Vittorio Veneto and then turned at Valmareno toward the pass.  It's a very wild landscape with stone cliffs and dense forest.  The previous dirt road section has now been paved and is in perfect condition.  We descended the steep north side to Gus, then continued on the main Belluno-Feltre road until Trichiana.  The San Boldo climb from this side was new to me and is beautiful and a bit easier.  After the pass we descended the scala of tornanti with U-shaped gallerias at the ends down to Tovena.  From here Paul, who's a very strong cyclist, wanted to climb Passo San Lorenzo from Tarzo to Vittorio Veneto.  Afterwards I was toast but continued pedaling as best I could the rest of the way home.  Doug was very kind and accompanied me to Giais to make sure I made it up the hill.  Another great ride with perfect weather and excellent company!

View from Passo Praderadego toward Valmareno
and prosecco hills

Rock tower below Paso Praderadego

Climb up Praderadego, bottom to top

Passo San Boldo climb, from top to bottom
The third climb is Passo San Lorenzo

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Canal di Cuna

Another in the series of uncompleted rides revisited, this time from January 2011.  I warmed up through Meduno and along the shore of Lago Tramonti, and then began the steepish saliscendi up to Tramonti di Sotto.  As you leave town hang a right on the road marked Tramonti di Mezzo and after more climbing you arrive.  As you enter town take the first right, climb some more and then take the first right again (via Canal di Cuna).  This is a narrow mountain lane with bad pavement.  Continue rolling along and then cross the bridge over Torrente Chiarchia.  After a bit the climb proper starts, a long series of steep tornanti.  I stood on much of these, careful to cross the drainage grates at an angle, and avoiding the loose stone, wet fir needles and other debris.  I continued past the place I had dismounted and started walking last year, and reached end of pavement at 750 meters.

Here I donned a pair of Bike Skins cleat covers to see if they would work for bike-hikes.  The gravel is quite deep and washed out with channels, etc.  I pushed my bike up to a big open switchback at 807 meters.  The Bike Skins worked well but this deep gravel requires hiking boots, I think.  I will try driving next time to start of climb, and then hike with boots up to Canal di Cuna.  More info on the hike here  

The descent was slow due to bad pavement.  Afterwards I sped up a bit and enjoyed the scenery.  At Tramonti di Mezzo there was a small forest fire where I'd ridden through earlier.  After escaping the smoke I enjoyed descending the saliscendi to Lago Tramonti, but the winds picked up (white caps on the lake!) and the controvento opposed my progress all the way home.  Very tiring, but good resistance training.

Torrente Chiarchia with valley, mountains in background

Torrente Chiavalara tumbling over the boulders

Panorama to west showing valleys of Chiarchia and Meduna,
mountains in background

Monte Caserine Alta (2306m), Monte Frascola (1961m)

Cuesta Spioleit (1687m) to north

Sign pointing to a spring with best water I've ever tasted

Friday, May 25, 2012

Giro di Giais

I was getting ready to shave when my phone beeped.  A text from my teacher "Oggi non ci sarà lezione."  Now my lovely commute to Pordenone was cancelled.  Our dog Honey gave an opportune jingle of her dog tag- "Hey, we wouldn't mind going for a walk."  So we headed out on the grueling circuit through the countryside south of our village.  The morning sun was already blazing at 0900, but we deftly kept to the shady side of the farm roads.  Quite noisy out, with all the chirping insects, tree frogs and songbirds.  Alas, I don't have an iPod so I had to endure it.  We made it home just in the nick of time for the girls to take a nap on their bed in the sunspot in the hall.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Monte Pizzoc da Villa di Villa

This climb is really 2 climbs in one. The first, from Villa di Villa to La Crosetta gains 1037 meters in 15 km. After a short descent the second, Monte Pizzoc gains 438 meters in 6.5 km, reaching altitude of 1549 meters.

I warmed up on Via Pedemontane to Caneva, then headed toward Sarmede. At Villa di Villa you just keep heading uphill. You climb along the rim of a cava or open pit mine and then enter a zone of cespugli or scrubby trees. They give a little shade here and there, quite welcome on this hot morning. Finally around 700-800 meters altitude you enter a deeply shaded forest of beech and spruce trees. Always feels like cool, refreshing twilight along this stretch. The pavement through here is pretty torn up- better suited for a mountain bike. At 980 meters you join the well-paved road coming up from Sarone-Caneva, and continue through the shady woods until La Crosetta at 1118 meters.

After a short downhill stretch you turn left and hit the steep start of Monte Pizzoc climb. They have repaved much of this road since I was last here and it's excellent, both to climb and descend. Before you had to dodge crumbling pavement, craters etc which made fast descending terrifying. This is one of the prettiest forests around here- very tall, wide beech trees with lots of space between them. The trees give way to alpine meadows at 1350 meters, with great panoramas on clear days. You continue grappling up the slope until 1530 meters where pavement ends. I continued on dirt to the flat summit at 1549 meters.

The fast descent felt great. I continued down to Sarone, where it was quite hot, and on toward home.

Terraced meadows at 450 meters

The hazy valley of Revine Lago and Cison di Valmarino

Col Visentin 1763m

Il Cansiglio with Monte Cavallo in background

Beautiful area between Vittorio Veneto and Monte Pizzoc
 I need to explore this

Rode clockwise

1450 meter climb in 22 km
(including the short descent after La Crosetta)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Our rainy weather finally broke for a few hours so I took a quick flattish ride up to Meduno, down to Travesio, across through Sequals to Arba and home.  Nice tailwind heading out but I paid on the way home- all headwind.  Good workout though.  Hopefully we'll get another patch of sun on Thursday morning so I can head for the hills.

Rode clockwise

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Casera Casavento hike

No bike ride today, but I continued on foot my interrupted bike ride in March to the end of pavement above Val Margons:   Today I brought along our dogs Honey and Teddi and began the hike just past Lesis (above Claut).  We ascended the steep tornanti in full forested shade; the cool morning air kept us from over-heating.   The gravel road after the tornanti isn't bad at all- should be fine on a bici di corsa, unless it has fancy wheels or tires which might be damaged by †he rocks.  You soon reach Pian de Cea then cross a wide gravel wash on a stone roadway.  You re-enter the forest and continue to gently climb until reaching the alpine meadows surrounding Casera Casavento.  Beautiful place, with tall cliffs and dense forest on 3 sides.  A few minutes later you arrive at the site of a fossilized dinosaur footprint in a lovely mountain stream below a waterfall.  Quite a wonderful location.  After exploring a bit we headed down.  Much easier in this direction.  We passed very few people along the way.  I imagine on Sundays in the summer it's crowded, but today practically deserted.  In summer they charge you to park, the road is only one lane wide so someone must backup if 2 cars meet, etc.  Best to go off-season or weekdays.  

Narrow headwaters of Torrente Cellina from Pont de la Sala

Looking upstream toward la sorgente del Cellina

Peaks to the north beyond Grave da Giere

Casera Casavento's lovely setting

Across the alpine meadows of Casera Casavento looking west

The creature who left his footprint here

A grafical explanation of how it all happened

Storied paleontologists Honey and Teddi examine the fossil for clues

Tried to use shadow and exposure to make this footprint visible.
It's about as long as my foot, but wider.

Ciol de Ciasavento waterfall above the fossil site

From Lesis to Casera Casavento

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bosco delle Penne Mozze

A freak mid-May snowstorm blanketed the foothills/mountains in white yesterday. Doug went up to Piancavallo to run and said the snow was 9 inches deep. Today it was crystal clear, without haze, nice and cool for our ride.

Doug and I rode to Vittorio Veneto and then west on Strada del Prosecco to Cison di Valmarino. We turned off the main road and up through the lovely little town.  The narrow lane climbed steeply through the forest, past the Penne Mozze Alpini memorial, and finally to end of pavement at 512 meters. The gradient touches 18% on the last stretch of the climb. A hiking trail commences here, continuing upward to Rifugio di Loff at 1134m. A hiker told us the walk takes about 1.5 hours.

Very pleasant ride home. We even stopped at San Marco Cafe in Piazza Foro Boario in Vittorio Veneto for a caffè. I felt civilized for a change. We continued to Caneva via Anzano, Cappella Maggiore, Sarmede, and Villa di Villa. Much less traffic this way.

Stupendous weather, good ride and great company- more rides like this, please!

The view from my bedroom window this morning

Close up of Crodon del Gevero 1254m

Gap through ridgeline

Sculpture honoring Penne Mozze (gli Alpini morti) 

Casera Vallon Scuro 1286m

Stone arch ponte over Torrente Rujo

A view up the road toward Bosco delle Penne Mozze

Castello di Cison- a climb for next time