Sunday, December 30, 2012

Castello di Caneva - Osigo - Castello di Cordignano

Perfect winter day-  headed down Via Pedemontane Occidentale to Sarone.  Lots of cycling clubs out today, including 70-100 GC Meschio guys riding through Giais.  From Sarone I rode up past Castello di Caneva and then down to Caneva town.  From there to Sarmede, where I took Via Fracas toward Fregona.  I ascended this last Spring, but took a right turn and climbed to Montaner.  Today instead I rode through Busa and then up Via Borgo Danese to Osigo.  This was a good climb but not a killer like Borgo Canalet to  Montaner.  From Osigo the main road follows the cliffside to Montaner and then you continue to Rugolo.  Here I turned upward again, on Via Rugolet past Castello di Cordignano.  This is more of a ruin of a castle, unlike Caneva which is quite well preserved.  La Conca between Caneva and Vittorio Veneto is  a great cycling area because there are so many combinations of small to medium climbs you can create.

The ride home surprised me- there are several hundred meters of climbing on the way home so I was happy to have plenty of energy and never got tired.  A good finish to 2012.
Castello di Caneva

Eastern edge of the prosecco wine district

Osigo with Col Visentin in background

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Clauzetto - Orton - Campone

Cold but sunny out, so I left just after 0900 for Travesio.  From there up Valcosa to Paludia, then the road heads up the gorge of tiny Rio Molino.  Around 400 meters you climb above the shadow of adjacent hills and the sun begins to warm you.  The switchbacks end at Clauzetto (500m) where you begin the climb to Orton.  You ascend to Cristo (710m) then down to Orton.  Here you head downhill to Gerchia (517m) and then upward again toward Piani di Clauzetto (665m).

After descending to Campone you reach the coldest part of the ride- the Valchiarzo gorge.  The sun doesn't reach down here in winter so it just stays frozen.  Finally it empties out by Lago di Tramonti, and you skirt the shore to Meduno.  Easy ride home from here.  

Note: I brought my Viner Maxima down from the trainer for this ride.  It felt great- I think this bike just fits me better than the Merckx.  I'm going to leave it off the trainer and try to ride it all winter.  

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Another cold clear day- headed to Meduno, then Lago di Tramonti, then crossed the dam, pedaled to Chievolis and began the climb.  This road is very cool- lots of hard steep ascents with steep descents in between.  On a near-freezing day like this you end up alternately roasting and freezing.  On the descent down to Lago Ca' Selva I nailed a pothole with my rear tire and thought "That's going to go flat."  But I kept going, across the dam, over the stretch of dirt road, and started the paved killer climb to Panuch.  Then the tire finally went flat so I pulled over to change it.  Quite nippy standing in the shade of the mountain around 0℃ while I changed the tire.  I resumed the very steep ascent, made more fun by a thick layer of slippery beech tree leaves, and periodic drainage grates with 30mm wide slots (must cross at nearly a right angle).  Eventually I made it to the top, gasping the frigid air due to stretches of 20% gradient.  My view of the lake was blocked by beech tree limbs (even when devoid of leaves) so I didn't get a lovely photo of the lake with sun shining on the dam.  After a very slow, careful descent I continued with the fun ride home.

Note:  I think I will make the Merckx into an indoor trainer bike for the winter, and also use it for local flatter rides in summer.  The temporary derailleur hanger is a bit fiddly when changing the rear tire, and I seem to get many more flats in the mountains.    

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Monte Valinis (almost)

Short ride to Meduno and then up toward Monte Valinis.  Just after the beginning of the climb a man pointed in the direction I'd come from and teased 'that way it's all downhill for 30 meters.'  Nice workout up to 800 meters or so but then it got too icy where the snow melts and refreezes everyday.  A man was blocking the road with his tractor towing a long beech tree so it seemed like a good time to turn around.  Nice descent and flattish ride home.

12% gradient ice rink at 830 meters

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Valle Pedreit (Mezzomonte)

Mezzomonte is a favorite local climb, a good 2-hour ride after work in summer or weekend mornings.  It's steep enough to be challenging but not so long that you end up knackered.  Today as usual I stood for the first steep half-kilometer above Coltura and then remained seated for the remaining series of switchbacks up to Mezzomonte (475m).  It's a dead end so I turned around to begin the ride home.  A lady joked that I should stop, I'd already won the prize money.  They must find us odd riding up this steep road to their village then immediately returning. 

I stopped by the walled cemetery on the edge of town to see if I could get a photo, and noticed the turn for the cemetery didn't stop there, it kept going.  Intrigued I followed the narrow paved road, which quickly turned steep and began switchbacking.  There are galvanized steel drainage troughs every 50 meters or so, very slippery (I was inattentive and almost fell over in one).  I had no idea where I was headed but the road just kept going up and up- it was clear it was headed for the top of the ridge, which connects Piancavallo and Il Cansiglio.  Above 800 meters there were increasingly snowy patches where small trees shaded the roadway, but with a little care they were easy to traverse.  Finally at a tornante at 890 meters the snow looked like 23mm slicks wouldn't be adequate- I'd need some wider knobbier tires.  So I turned around and gingerly returned to the cemetery, then descended rapidly down the switchbacks.  

On the way home I was climbing the hill toward Budoia when I heard a strange wheezing behind me, similar to the sound the stray cat in our cortile makes.  It got louder and I realized someone was drafting on me and possibly in respiratory distress.  I pulled out of the way and slowed and a fellow in GC Meschio garb passed on my right.  I was very impressed by his bike, a Bottecchia Ottavio carbon frame, handmade by Sarto near Venezia.  Beautiful frame!

Here's a hiking site describing the road I "discovered"- I may try walking it soon with the dogs- they'd love it!

I gave up here at 890 meters

Looking down at the switchbacks on the road down to Coltura

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sella Chianzutan

Coldest day of the year so far but the sun is spectacular and I couldn't resist.  I headed through Pinzano, up the switchbacks to Anduins and then into the gorge of Val Arzene.  The road was closed to traffic by a landslide before you reach Pielungo, so I tried scrambling over the debris carrying my bike.  An Italian hunter asked if I was trying cyclocross instead of bici di corsa and I laughed and agreed.  

I continued to San Francesco where the climb begins.  The road emerges from the shady narrow gorge into bright sunlight with roaring white water of Torrente Arzene in the canyon below-  wonderful scenery.  Higher up you begin a series of switchbacks through snowy beech forest.  It finally reaches the sella, flanked by the peaks of Monte Verzegnis and Monte Piombada.

I froze on the descent and only warmed up a little when I reached the rollers near Pinzano.  By the time I rode through Lestans I was beat and struggled the rest of the way home.  Very glad to have a hot bath and coffee when I got home.      

Monte Piombada (1744m)

Beautiful ice sculptures along the climb

Close-up of ice fall

Rounded shapes of ice formed around a plant's branches

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Monte Prat

Nice weather today, but just above 0℃.  My neighbor Nerina saw me getting ready to ride and cautioned me to cover myself well against the freezing air.  This is one thing I love about Italy.  Even if you've lost your grandmother or mother, someone in the neighborhood will speak up and make sure you're taking care of yourself.

I bundled up and rode out through Pinzano to Forgaria.  Here you start the climb up to Monte Prat, the easternmost of the prealpi pordenonesi.  It rises directly above the Tagliamento River, which separates Pordenone and Udine provinces.  The sun was out and glistening on the scenery along the climb.  Above San Rocco beautiful chocolate brown sheep were grazing, and across the road 2 lovely alpine horses with reddish-brown coat and splendid blonde manes were prancing around their pasture.   As I climbed higher a huge flock of griffon vultures circled above the cliffs.  I was surprised, as I thought the thermals the griffons glide on wouldn't rise on such a cold day.  But they were out in even greater numbers than usual.

Past the meadows of Monte Prat I continued on the narrow road to Val Tochel.  It had patches of snow, which grew more frequent until the road was covered with snow around 896 meters.  I put back on my winter gear and headed down.  Great ride- the sun stayed out and the wind was still all the way home.

Val Tochel (896m) dusted with snow

Monte Chiampon (1709m) to north

Monday, December 3, 2012

Giro della camera da letto

Rainy week so I finally gave up, brought the trainer down from the attic and mounted my bike on it.  It's good exercise but I need to move the wheel speed sensor over from the Merckx so I can quantify the effort.  Of course I'll still have the Merckx to ride when weather permits.

1988 Performance Trainer with Minoura magnetic resistance