Saturday, July 28, 2012

Most na Soči - Lokovec - Čepovan

Bike rides like this are why I love Slovenia so much.  A well-paved mountain road, winding through isolated forests and meadows, not knowing exactly where I'm going but always discovering new surprises.

I started at Kobarid and warmed up on the road along River Soča. After Tolmin I continued on to Most na Soči (175m), where the Soča and Idrijca Rivers join, found the obscure turn-off marked Lom, and headed uphill.  The first road turned out to be a deadend, so I retraced my steps and tried the other road- immediately it tilted to 20%.  I stood in the pedals and ground away until it lessened to a mere 12%.  From there it continues climbing unabated between 9%-15% through the forest for the next 4km.   Excellent workout! Afterwards you reach Tolminski Lom (595m), a meadowy area with a few farm houses.

You soon cross into another meadowy area at Kanalski Lom (570m), with a lovely little church.  There are many small farm roads in all directions but only a couple are vaguely marked.  I just looked around and chose the one that looked best.  Another very steep ramp of 16% carries you up out of the clearings, and then a series of sun-exposed tornanti.  Thankfully around 750 meters some trees crop up and soon you're climbing through a beautiful shady beech tree forest.  Still mostly around 10% but it seems easier in the shade.  I came to another intersection at 885m, and on a whim chose the only road that continued to climb.  At 910 meters it crossed the crest and started to head down, but I couldn't see where it was going for the trees and decided to turn around.  Back at the intersection I headed for Lokovec, which descended briefly then resumed climbing to 950 meters.

From here I began descending down long switchbacks toward Čepovan, a gorgeous valley around 600 meters elevation.  I only rode through the north end of the valley, but it extends for miles between tall ridges.  I then descended down the long curvy road to the Idrijca valley, and then on to Most na Soči.  I rode pretty quickly on the 20 km back to Kobarid, and arrived in only 50 minutes.  Must have been a powerful tailwind.

This ride leaves me wanting to return for more- I'd love to try Solkan to Cepovan or Kanal to Lokovec soon.

Most an Soči lake

Meadows at Tolminski Lom

Toward the church at Kanalski Lom

Kanalski Lom meadows from the steep tornanti

Lush meadows above Kanaski Lom

Looking down at gorgeous Čepovan valley

Map of the circuit

The climb and descent

Close up of the upper section

Initial 4km at 10%

The steep gradients

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