Friday, June 15, 2012

Kolovrat da Volče

Drove to Ponte San Quirino just past Cividale and warmed up on the bike through Val di Natisone.  This is an easy gradient over the border to Slovenia, with scarce traffic and great scenery to get you into a Slovenian state of mind.  In Slovenia the valley widens out into wide meadows, where farmers were turning their drying hay by hand with pitchforks.  This area feels like 70 years ago, except a newish casino in the middle of nowhere, which seems as out of place as a bear in a glass factory.  

At Kobarid I turned right along the Soča River, and followed a luscious green valley through the surrounding forested mountains.  At Tolmin, I turned right through the little village of Volče, and began to climb.  This is a great road, wide and well-paved,  engulfed in shade for the first few kilometers.  The shade felt great today, with the sun already warm at 0930.  After around 3 km of average 10%, you get a break for a kilometer or so, then it tilts upwards again at 570m.  The big shade trees thin out now, and the heat from climbing exposed to the sun adds to the challenge.  I was lucky today- partly cloudy skies rolled in, keeping me out of vapor-lock.  I'd recommend climbing this hill very early in the morning in summer.

Eventually at 975m you reach the ridge road of Kolovrat, a World War I fortress the Italians tunneled into the mountain's cliff face.  The ridge road continues climbing up to 1165m, with spectacular views of Soča River valley and mountains in all directions.

Sadly the great pavement degenerates here, and you must death-grip your brakes down the pot-holed slope to Livek 675m.  Back over the border into Italy, a steep descent and then brief climb up to Cepletischis.  Don't take the left turn marked Drenchia- it's the wrong road and is hard to climb back up when your legs are already rubbery (don't ask).  From Cepletischis the road becomes wonderful again: well-paved, steep and curvy.  Very fun.  Before long I was back in Ponte San Quirino and began the leisurely drive home. 

Val di Natisone near the border crossing

 Kobarid's Chiesa San Antonio atop ossario
where 7,000 Italian soldiers are entombed

Eastward view of Soča River
Southeast: mountains surrounding Most in Soči 
From 1160m: northward up Soča River 
Meadows to the south at Livske Ravne 1045m

Mulino di Cepletischis

Clockwise ride

The ascent


17%, 19% early in the climb

1 comment:

  1. Beuatiful Scenery. That blue Soca River looks like it sprang from a glacier. Too bad about the casino. Appalachia near Boone is covered now with them too. No more Cherokee Village. Now the Indians are getting the white man drunk and taking his money. Excellent payback in my book.

    Bob W.