Friday, January 27, 2012

Jerry visits our local area

I was so happy to see Jerry of Sweden's ride report from our area last summer.  Very entertaining.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Passo di San Lorenzo

Today the haze blew away and the skies are absolutely clear.  I headed west via Anzano to Vittorio Veneto, then up the switchbacks to Passo di San Lorenzo (417m).  So peaceful up here, then gliding down the wonderful switchbacks toward Tarzo.  Just above Tarzo turn left onto the Strada Panoramica, a narrow mountain lane that descends steeply through the prosecco vineyards.  Join the main road south of Tarzo and roll rapidly down to Corbanese, then turn left and climb over the ridge and down to Cozzuolo.  This whole zone is covered in prosecco vines, continuing down the valley and up the next ridge above Conegliano.

Entering Vittorio Veneto again I was still in ecstasy from the gorgeous hills and misjudged a roundabout and slid down.  Popped right back up, and the car behind stopped and asked if I was ok.  Very nice of them.  I headed on via San Martino to Cordignano, and must have had a tailwind because it felt like I was flying.  After Fiaschetta there's a little rise- I downshifted and noticed the derailleur cage was striking the spokes in the 4th cog.  So I stopped and saw the derailleur hanger was bent.  Without thinking I grabbed it to unbend the soft aluminum and snap, the derailleur fell off.  So I called my wife, who was getting ready to go to a doctors appointment, and she saved the day by coming to pick me up.  I walked a mile or two down the road while waiting to shorten her trip.  A fellow on a bike stopped to ask if I needed help, but I showed him the damages and he knew it was a lost cause.  People are so thoughtful to stop and try to help.

Tomorrow I'll try to order a new derailleur hanger- in the meantime I'll be riding the Trek 1220 Clint was so kind to give me.

Looking north toward snowless Col Visentin (1763m) in background
 and Col Bressen (859m) center 

Lovely Santuario di Santa Augusta, a good hiking destination

Chiesa di San Lorenzo (380m)

The poor broken derailleur hanger

The twisty climb, from right to left

Saturday, January 21, 2012


After a few days of fog, cloudy cold and rain the sun finally re-emerged this morning.  I warmed up through Maniago and turned toward Fanna.   Just before Fanna is a left turn for Via Vals.  It's an unusual mountain road- very wide, well-paved with broad switchback ends.  These accommodate huge open- hopper trucks carrying rock from the open-face mine on Monte San Lorenzo down to the cement mill near Fanna.  The remnant of poor Monte San Lorenzo appears ready to collapse at any  moment.

It's a good climb, scaling 240 meters in 3.3 km (around 8%).  At the top is the trailhead for Chiesa San Lorenzo, on the lovely unscathed western side of the mountain.  A bit further is a turnoff for the cliffside road to Vals, a tiny settlement of a dozen houses.  The pavement ended here so I headed back, then turned right to descend steeply to Valcolvera.  The little river was frozen solid along here, quite pretty (decided not to bring my camera today.  Doh!)  Just after the turnoff for Frisanco I headed right down Val Muié.  Beautiful even in winter, with its stream frozen over as well.  After Navarons I crossed the Meduna, then headed home via Meduno, Fanna, Maniago.  Nice ride!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


A few cyclists were out on this cold weekday. One young lady on a bike seemed so happy to see another biker she yelled "Ehilà!" at me across the road.

After an easy ride down Via Pedemontane Occidentale through Cordignano, I turned right after Pinidello at the Green River Bar (on Fiume Meschio).  Climbed gently to Anzano outside Vittorio Veneto, then turned right on the road marked Il Cansiglio.  This climbs fairly steeply up through Fergona to Osigo (359m).  Here turned right and curved along the cliffside road to Montaner, then at the stop sign turned right again and began the steep descent to Sarmede on a lovely switchbacked road.  From Sarmede it's a rolling ride to Caneva, then up Via Pedemontane again to home.

The drought continues- even Monte Visentins (1760m) has sparse snow- just a light dusting at the top.   Cold ride, but fun.   

 Fancy mobile goat feeder; they also have turkeys and chickens

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Monte Prat

Warmed up through Pinzano, climbed the switchbacks to Forgaria (256m) and turned left toward Monte Prat. A steady climb to San Rocco (388m), and then up the beautifully rebuilt road to the meadows of Monte Prat at 762m. Leaving the meadows you take a narrow mountain lane through the forest to the crossroads at 910m. If you turn right you go to Cuel di Forchia and Avasinis, or you can turn left for Val d'Arzino.   Above this crossroads towers Monte Cuar, with ten griffoni spiraling high above. They must have well-insulated down plumage to soar around at these temperatures.

I returned down the fantastic curvy road, smoothly-paved with well-banked switchbacks. I was quite frozen on the ride back to Pinzano, and did not thaw out until Lestans. After Sequals there was a headwind and I was very tired, so rode home slowly.

I apologize for not taking any pictures- it was still snowless and dull brown. Send us your snow!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Passo Sant'Osvaldo

Frigid and crystal clear morning.  Rode up through Montereale Valcellina and the tunnels to Lago di Barcis.  The lake was surprisingly full compared to others I've seen lately.  Fiume Cellina also had a decent flow- not sure how because it's been very dry this fall/winter.

I headed up the gorge and was quite cold, despite the mostly upgrade route.  In shady areas there were several frozen waterfalls on the sheer rock walls.  After Cimolais I commenced the actual climb from 660m to 850m in 2.5km.  There was even a dusting of snow on the forest floor up here, but much less than normal.  Let's blame the jet stream.

On the descent I rode as fast as I could to generate heat.  Only thing that froze was my right foot, despite windstopper shoe covers.  Maybe I need ski socks.  The tunnels actually feel warmer than the ambient air this time of year, so they're a welcome relief.  Fun ride despite the chill.  

Condensing water vapor rising from the Cellina settles on
bare tree limbs and freezes into crystal candelabra shapes 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lago Cà Selva

Lago Cà Selva is a mountain lake north of Meduno.  Turn off the main road at Lago Redona (aka Lago Tramonti) and cross the dam.  Follow the lake shore to Chievolis and here the climb begins, from 320m to 558m in 6 km.  Doesn't sound much, but it's quite steep (with gradients up to 13%), and lots of ups and downs in between.  

Didn't take any pictures because there's been no snow this year, the vegetation's all brown, etc.  The lack of precipitation also has lowered the lake level and reduced the normally-thundering rapids of Torrente Silisia to a trickle.  Still a good workout though, and I'll try to ride it more often this year. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Val Cosa-Orton-Val Chiarzo

A cold bright morning, with lots of cyclists out and about. I warmed up through Arba and Travesio, then headed up Val Cosa. The actual climb starts at 257m and climbs at 6.5% through Clauzetto to Orton (723m). After dipping down to Gerchia and then back up to Piani di Clauzetto (674m), you descend to Campone and Val Chiarzo. Up to this point it was cold but the sun was shining and it never felt frigid. But Val Chiarzo runs east to west, with a south-facing mountain range blocking out all sunlight. It feels like a deep freeze for several kilometers. There was even a frozen waterfall on the gorge wall.

Finally I escaped the cold and headed along Lago di Tramonti to Meduno. From there it's a fairly flat ride home, but a never really got warmed back up. Cold muscles do not work well.

Sorry no pictures, but there was no snow and everything was a dull brown color. Pray for snow!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Epifania ad Osservatorio Astronomico Montereale Valcellina

On the eve of Epifania, every village hereabout has a big bonfire or falò.  Villagers gather round the inferno and have pan e vin or bread and hot wine.  The wood is mostly fir, so lots of pops and flare ups, and the whole pile is laced with firecrackers to add to the fun.  Little children run round and round in a pyromaniacal trance.  At the top a witch, Brutta Befana is burnt in effigy, in nostalgia for the good old days of the Inquisition.

The next morning all the surrounding cars and homes are blanketed in ash like a volcanic eruption.  Normally the collective smoke from all the villages hangs in a blue pall over the region, but luckily a cold front rolled in overnight and blew all the smoke away.   So it was quite clear this morning, though windy with gusts above 40 kph.  I decided to take a short ride,  and there is none shorter than Osservatorio Astronomico Montereale, which is only a 5 km warm up to start of climb, 5 km of climbing from 300 to 687 meters, and back home.

It was chilly so overheating wasn't a problem.  The climb felt great and the view was beautiful.  A little snow on the road above 650 meters but not bad.  When I returned to our cortile my neighbors' visiting granddaughter called out "Buona Epifania, Bill!" Very sweet.

The osservatorio with mountains in background

Mountains along the Slovenian border 

Close up Monte Canin (2587m)

Beautiful snow-capped range to the northeast

Windblown snow-plume atop Pala d'Altei (1528m)

The falò at Grizzo still burning 14 hours later- the stump is all
that remains of the center pole, a fir tree maybe 15 meters high

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Buon Anno Monte Jouf

Finally got around to climbing this little route again. After crossing the Cellina I turned off for Maniago Libero, then cruised a few hundred meters before taking a sharp left.  At this turn there's a bar or café beside a narrow lane heading steeply up the hill.  I stood for much of this, winding upward through the forest for 1.8km, averaging 8.8%, with one stretch of 14% and another of 15%.  Around 487m there's a level bit, with a gravel road turning left up the mountain.  

The paved road then descends steeply through forest and the ruins of Castello di Maniago, dating from the 1300's.  At the bottom I entered Piazza Roma, then headed back through Maniago Libero and home.  I'd like to try this other way round next time- the descent seemed quite steep and should make a challenging climb. 

Mountain bikers headed toward the top of Monte Jouf (1203m)

Evocative ruins of Castello di Maniago

The high front wall

Another view of the ruins

Remnant of fortifications further down the hill

An arco (not far from Piazza Roma) leading to castello

Rode this clockwise