I left home intending to climb up to Altopiano del Cansiglio, and then continue with the short steep climb from Piancansiglio to Monte Candaglia. I reached Sarone and headed upward- it was already uncomfortably hot at 0830. The climb went well despite the heat, and I survived to reach the cool beech forest at 850 meters. From here things got easier on up to La Crosetta at 1118m. I noticed traffic was unusually heavy on this beautiful June Sunday and began doubting my plan of climbing the narrow lane to Monte Candaglia. The prospect of descending through a swarm of hikers headed upstream wasn't inviting. So on a whim I continued to Campon at the north end of il Cansiglio to check out a side road I'd seen on a map.
At Campon you turn left on a narrow road signed Mezzomiglio. I've climbed to Mezzomiglio from Lago Santa Croce previously, but never knew there was another way. This paved road continues left at the next junction, ascending steeply. The pavement ends, then there is a fork, with the right signed Mezzomoglio and the left marked simply Sentiero Naturalistico. I impulsively went left. The dirt road was well-packed and not bad at all on 23mm slicks. After awhile it leveled out around 1300 meters and a mountain biker caught up with me from behind. He was very friendly and we laughed about me riding this bici di corsa on a mountain dirt road. I asked on a hunch if it went to Monte Pizzoc and he said si, and confirmed that the strada was bene all the way. He urged me on "Forte!" and rode away.
For several years I've eyed a nice dirt road turning off the Monte Pizzoc paved road around 1340 meters. I figured I'd hike it or mountain bike it someday. Now I was on it, though starting from the opposite end, pedaling through solitary, dense beech forest, going slow so I wouldn't hit a random boulder or gully. It continued uninterrupted like this for 8.5 km of pure joy. There was only one tough patch, just before joining the Monte Pizzoc paved road there's maybe 100 meters of 12%, big rocks, loose gravel. I stood, kept loosing traction, sat and mashed the pedals over the obstacles. Then it gets nice and gentle again. I did have a sort of mechanical problem- the rear water bottle cage kept loosening from all the shaking. I'll Loctite the bolts- don't want to overtorque those inserts in the carbon.
Descending on the paved Monte Pizzoc road was crowded with gawking cars and motorbikes. Sad to see Italian vehicles have now gotten so fat that two of them can't pass without one or both going onto the verge along the pavement. Why so big?
The descent from La Crosetta was much better- no traffic problems. The ride home felt like I had a tailwind (despite the heat). This is a wonderful ride- I'll do it the opposite direction next time.
|Strada del Taffarel through beech forest|
360˚ of beech tree forest
|The road passes through several nature reserves|
|Steep paved road from Campon up to start of more-level dirt road|
|Strada del Taffarel from Km 49 to 57.5|