Saturday, April 28, 2012

Pala Barzana -Piancavallo

Today was a nice change from my usual solitary explorations.  Three friends Doug, Joe and Naz came along too.  From Maniago's Piazza Roma we cruised to Poffabro and on up to Pala Barzana (842m).   From here we descended to Lago di Barcis (400m) and up the lovely northeast side of Piancavallo  (1300m).  A lovely warm day for a ride and fun having someone to chat with on the long climb.

Note: The elevation gain, moving time, distance below are erroneous (I had the Garmin in standby while waiting for the folks' arrival at Maniago and forget to turn it back on until after Poffabro).  You can compare to previous trips on this route: and

3 or 4 sets of tornanti ease the steepness
The 2 climbs

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cornino-Monte Ragogna

After a week of rain I'm finally back in the saddle again.  Got off to a slow start- my muscles weren't tired, it just felt as if I didn't have any energy.  Luckily after Sequals I suddenly recovered and felt great.  There were many cyclists on the road because of the holiday.  At Pinzano I decided to head up the west bank of the Tagliamento to Cornino.  Here I crossed the rain-swollen river and gently climbed to Muris.  This is the start of the short but steep ascent of Monte Ragogna.   I stood on the 12% to 17% sections and remained seated the rest of the time.  At the top is a flattish kilometer along the ridge, which is nice after a steep climb instead of always steeply descending immediately.  After the descent I continued on the twisty road back to Pinzano.  I raced a group of tall black thunderheads all the way home, narrowly missing the rain showers.  Fun ride!  

The rushing waters of the Tagliamento
skirting Monte Ragogna in the distance

Note the silt-laden rain runoff joining
the normally aquamarine-colored Tagliamento 

A couple of the tunnels drilled (blasted?) into the
World War I fortress within Monte Ragogna

10% average gradient for 2.75 km

Some of the steep stretches

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Two sunny days in a row so I tried returning to my new program of riding flat short rides in between the climbs.  I headed down the lovely straight stretch from Vajont through Dandolo to Vivaro, completing the 8 kilometers of smooth, slightly downhill highway in 15 minutes, or about 32kph.  That felt great.  After a short eastward section, I headed north on the farm road through Tesis to Maniago Zona Industriale.  This is the flip side, slightly uphill and bumpier but I tried to keep my average speed up as best I could.  Ended up with average moving speed of 27.5 kph for 1.5 hours, which is fast for me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Monte Valinis 2012

Another favorite nearby climb today- from Meduno up to Monte Valinis.  After a quick warm up ride to Meduno I rode up the switchbacks through a couple of small borghi to Forchia Meduno at 650 meters.  I was quite hot by now, despite being in short sleeves.  The 1.5km false-flat through dense spruce forest to Forchia Piccola cooled me off a little too much.  Luckily I immediately started a 3 km ascent at 10% gradient to Valinis- that heated me back up despite the coolness.  The asphalt ends at 940 meters, but I continued on the gravel road to 1000 meters, where the parapendio launch.  There was a mini-bus from  Germany and at least 10 parapendi swooping around the cliffs and the grassy summit.  I quickly donned my windjacket and descended to escape the cold.  Excellent ride! 

Parapendio returning to strafe the launch area

4 or 5 parapendi riding thermals along the cliffs here

Monte Cavallo (2250m) and other peaks to the west

Monte Raut (2025m)

Monte Rest (1780m) to north

Monte Verzegnis (1914m) to northeast

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Piani di Clauzetto

Woke this morning and the rain had stopped again- blue skies in every direction.  Outside my bedroom window the mountains were bright white with fresh snow.   I got on the bike and headed east toward Meduno, then north along Lago di Tramonti.  The lake had been quite low before, but now is brimming.  Waterfalls are tumbling down the hillsides, and Monte Rest and Monte Valcalda are coated with snow.

Near the north end of the lake I turned east toward Campone.   Lovely ride along Torrente Chiarzo roiling with white water, followed by the climb up to Piani di Clauzetto (670m).  From here I rode down to Gerchi and the rushing headwaters of Torrente Cosa.  Then another little climb up to the town of Clauzetto, and down the lovely switchbacks to Travesio.  Watch out for lots of little catkin flowers on the curves- they are wet and slippery.

Flat ride home was a little windy with threatening black thunderheads covering the sky.  Somehow I made it home before the rain started- good ride!  

View from my bedroom window this morning

This cascade was completely dry 2 weeks ago

Lago di Tramonti full to the brim

Monte Rest and MonteValcalda snowy again

Rode clockwise

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sarmede - Il Cansiglio

Our prayers were answered last week with several days of rain, including some serious gullywashers.  Today the sun was out for the first time in a while, so I seized the opportunity and jumped on my bike.  It turned out to be quite windy, but luckily 2 guys heading toward Treviso slowly edged by me and I followed them all the way to Caneva.

After Caneva I turned toward Sarmede, but to my surprise at Villa di Villa they were getting ready for a bike race.  There was still a bit of time before the start so they kindly let me continue on the race course.  At Sarmede I wanted to try a climb I've descended a couple of times but never ascended- the backroad to Montaner.  It soon got very steep- 18%-19%.  It sure didn't seem that steep when I've descended it previously.  I made it up the first ramp, and then a little way up the next, but I couldn't get enough air so I stopped to pant for awhile.  I rode by a house where the family was waiting for the racers and the man announced "Il signore numero uno!"  Don't know if you've ever cracked up laughing while hyperventilating, but I managed it.

Finally this torture ended at the west end of Mantaner, and I joined the rolling cliffside road, an easy chance to rest until Osigo and the start of the climb to Il Cansiglio.  I've only ascended this route once a couple of years ago.  It's a main road from Vittorio Veneto, very well engineered and maintained, but also quite busy on Pasquetta, the Italian version of Easter Monday.   It got quite cold toward the top at La Crosetta, and I hadn't brought a balaclava or shoe covers.  As I began the descent toward Sarone, the frigid wind on my forehead gave me an ice cream headache.  Luckily my head soon went numb and I survived.  Nice climb home through Budoia and Marsure, though I never warmed up.

Here's more info on the bike race- I saw one team car I recognized, Katusha, but there were many from less-known teams.
Giro del Belvedere

Sarmede-Montaner climb

Some of the steep spots on Sarmede-Montaner climb

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Malga Monte Fara

The forecast called for rain (which we need!) but I looked outside this morning and the sky was crystal clear.  So I tried another nearby lungbuster, the ascent to Malga Monte Fara.  After warming up through the 4km tunnel toward Barcis, I turned off at Andreis and rode along Torrente Alba.  Next turn right onto the climb for Bosplans.  After Bosplans  continue climbing up to 660 meters, where a gravely road enters from the right.  After the gravel the road is paved but quickly gets very steep.  I stopped to go under the barrier (for cars I presume) and continued upward.  Quite a lot of loose rock so must be careful not to lose traction when standing in the pedals.  I stood most of the way and almost ran out of breath but made it to the top (964m).  

Descending I just gripped the brakes all the way, as the gravel made gathering speed dangerous.  I rejoined the main road and resumed climbing to Pala Barzana (850m), then down the other side.  Took the shortcut through Val di Frina instead of Poffabro.  After Valcolvera I checked out the newly refurbished tunnel- very well-lit and paved now.  I'll definitely use it more often.  Continued home through Maniago and the bridge at Ravedis.  Great ride.

The steep gravely climb to the malga

Pala Barzana climbed from left, over the top and down toward the right