These three passes are in beautiful, wild western Friuli along the boundary with Veneto. I started from Mediis, just below Ampezzo, about 0630. Warm-up rises gently from 450m to 725m till the right turn where the Passo del Pura climb begins. Shortly after the climb begins a long series of switchbacks with 10-12% gradient (except for the turns at the ends). You continue up the forested slope until reaching the large grassy area of the pass at 1528m. The descent toward Lago di Sauris is steep and fast, through dense, dark fir forest. At the lake (960m) you pass through a well-lit wet-floored tunnel, which empties you out onto the dam top.
Now you begin the run up towards the second climb, Sella di Rioda. This road has been freshly paved and has a wonderful smooth surface. After skirting around the lakeshore you leave the lake and climb across lush grass slopes to Sauris di Sotto (Dorf) and then Sauris di Sopra (Plozn) at 1400 meters. After climbing out of town the road passes through a rugged, rocky environment, and begins a stack of 8-12% switchbacks up to 1720m. At the top you continue climbing less steeply to Sella di Rioda (1800m). This high point was previously unmarked (as far as I can remember); instead there was a lower pass further along marked Sella di Razzo . After descending briefly through more meadows with spectacular views, you climb again to Sella di Ciampigotto at 1776m.
Here you begin a long descent into Veneto, with horrible pavement but pretty surroundings. The descent empties into tourist-filled Laggio di Cadore (945m). I vaguely remembered the route from here, but it's not well-marked. You head toward Vigo di Cadore, then down a long straight descent to Pelos (785m). Now follow signs to Lorenzago (920m), and you run into SS52, the road back to Ampezzo. This last climb up to Passo della Mauria (1298m) is very gentle- one of the easier passes I've ever climbed. The descent is fun though, down the upper Tagliamento valley through Forno di Sopra then Sotto. After a long tunnel where the lights were out for the first kilometer (735m altitude) you climb again, up to Cima Corso at 867m. From here another fun descent through Ampezzo to Mediis. A tiring but beautiful ride.
|Monte Bivera (2474m) in early morning light|
above Lago di Sauris
|Monte Tinisa (2120m) in morning light|
|Monte Tinisa above Lago di Sauris|
|Monte Brentoni (2548m) and Creta di Mimoias (2301m)|
flanking valley of Rio Acqua Rossa
|Monte Pupera Valgrande (2513m)|
|Creta di Mimoias close up|
|Alpine meadows above valley|
of Rio Acqua Rossa
|Passo del Pura|
|Sella di Rodia climb|
|Traverse to the Passo Mauria road|
|Left to right- Passo del Pura, Sella di Rioda, Passo della Mauria|
|9% average gradient for 6.8km on Passo del Pura|
|9.2% grade on the upper 3km of Sella di Rioda|
|Much gradient above 10%|