I survived and continued up past 1100m and reached the turnoff for Strada del Taffarel. This less-steep dirt road turns away from the foggy alpine meadows of Malga Mezzomiglio into the spruce woods and soon reaches a junction- left or straight? I picked "straight" and the rocky road quickly became too steep for me. So I hopped off and pushed. Eventually it leveled off and entered a lovely meadow, with clean, happy-looking cows ringing their bells as they walked. The road petered out and I followed a path up to the right alongside the herd. This was blind luck, because the man tending the cows was very helpful. He had a handmade wool cloth hat, shaped exactly like those roundish-cone hats you see people wearing in medieval paintings. Very cool. I asked how to get to Strada del Taffarel and he pointed toward a trail through the forest below. I asked what if I continued on my present path and he said it went to Monte Pizzoc but I couldn't ride on that (pointing at my bici di corsa), stating that a mountain bike was needed, and even then one must carry it on their shoulder much of the way. So I thanked him and headed toward the trail through the forest below.
This was no longer a bikeable path (though much of it could be ridden on a MTB). It was narrow, muddy from the constant mist and cloud up here, with much bare rock, fallen trees, etc. So I carried the bike some and pushed it the rest of the way. My cleat cover kept getting sucked off by the deep mud, but I managed to recover it. The path crossed the ridge at 1366m and soon I sighted Strada del Taffarel below. Unlike last week, the road was now quite muddy and kept clogging up my narrow road brakes. I just cleaned them out each time and kept going. This side of the ridge was sunny and cool, perfect riding weather.
After reaching pavement below Monte Pizzoc I descended fast, with no traffic to hinder me. Then after La Crosetta I took the road toward Vittorio Veneto, and continued quickly sweeping down through the curves.
This was a fun ride of exploration, but I'll have to return soon and ride the missing link from Campon to Malga Mezzomiglio. Then I'll coast down that 10% grade to the lake, laughing all the way.
Turn-off for Strada del Taffarel
|The little valley where I encountered the helpful man with cows|
|Helpful man pointed out this path|
|Path soon grows rougher with tree-falls, etc|
Ridge line, with red spruce trees on the west slope,
beech trees on the east slope
Hallelujah! Strada del Taffarel
Looking back up the trail
The inevitable cowbell video
|Ascent toward Malga Mezzomiglio|
|Close up of the mulattiera (mule track) through the forest|
|7.5km of 10% average gradient|
|The worst: 800 unending meters of 14% average gradient|