Sunday, January 6, 2013

Artegna - Stella - Tarcento

The climb from Artegna to Stella is way over on the other side of Friuli.   I rode there via Pinzano, Cornino, Majano, Buja.  Finally at 57 km I reached Artegna and approached the climb.  It was a sunny, calm winter day, and in the piazza loudspeakers were playing Pavarotti arias.  I decided I would dedicate the climb to Pavarotti, which came in handy later.  After Artegna (203m) you follow signs for Montenars, and after crossing the bridge over Torrente Orvenco begin a crazy series of switchbacks.  They have very steep curves at the ends (+16%) and less steep straight stretches in between (12-13%).  Not that I'm complaining- I was desperate for any relief I could get.  Then there are long straightish stretches at 16% as well.  Toward the end of these I was dying and wanted to get off and walk in a bad way, but I thought about Pavarotti and kept going, despite seeing stars from lack of oxygen to the brain.  This madness ends at 662 meters

The road follows the ridge eastward, with great views of mountains to the north.  It's an interesting saliscendi, around every curve lies another unexpected climb or descent.  At Stella (647m)  you head down a curvy road, averaging -9.6% for the next 4 km.  The front tire flatted but I found a nice sunny spot to change it.  It was almost a welcome break.

The end of descent is Tarcento, a pretty town with hundreds of people out enjoying the sunny day.  From here back through Buja, etc.  The weather was so nice there were people sunbathing down on the sand bars in the Tagliamento River (in long sleeves and pants).     

Looking northeast toward the Julian Alps

Monte Musi (1878m)

Monte Chiampon (1709m)

0.5 km stretch average 16%

Gradients approaching 20%

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