Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Monte Namlen

The area near Cividale is full of bike rides and climbs.  Today I tried 2 new ones.  The first starts at Ponte di San Quirino, at the south end of Val Natisone.  Usually I ride up the main road through San Pietro al Natisone, but today's climb is on the opposite (west) bank of the river.  It starts flat but heads upslope by the time you reach Tarcetta.  The road has excellent cycling itinerary markers but I missed 2 in a row and rode right through Tarcetta, ending up in Lasiz.  This was a dead end so I returned to Tarcetta (200m), found a marker for San Giovanni d'Antro and headed steeply upward.  This leads to a church I've seen from miles away but never visited, which is by a grotto with religious sculpture, paintings.  I instead headed steeply upward again toward Spignon, and continued above it to a T-intersection (650m).  Left turn goes to Puller, but turn right and head for Masarolis/Tamoris.  

This road is marked at each end 'closed for frane' (landslides) but it's no problem on a bike.  Absolutely solitary cliffside road through the woods overlooking the gorge  above Torreano.  At the end you join the switchbacks leading upward from Torreano/Masarolis toward Tamoris (800m).  The switchbacks continue upward, and I must have looked tired because a road crew clearing fallen rocks/limbs bid me "Coraggio- non manchi tante!"  Shortly after I arrived at Madonnina del Domm (945m), which was being logged.  Lots of tree waste in the road but the fresh-cut spruce smelled great.  I descended to Bocchetta di Sant'Antonio (789m) and started ascending again.  This road carries you up above Porzus  (907 m) and then down to a sharp right turn just above Subit (723m).  

Here begins my second "new" climb, a wonderful old military road that traverses in solitude for chilometri along the forested mountainsides to Monte Namlen (1005m), then down to the road with a big goat farm above Taipana (750m).  Here you go left, descending past Taipana to the road for Nimis, but on a whim I branched left on the road to Torlano.  This was a beautiful un-trafficked road which ends up in Nimis.  I got all turned around here (instead of consulting the map in my backpack) and went down on the plain along Torrente Torre toward Cividale.  It avoids all the up and down of the foothills on the main road, but I probably went several km out of the way.  Still it was fun after all the climbing/descending to just get in the big ring on the drops and cruise.  Seemed to be a good cool down for the legs too, which often ache after much climbing.

This is a wonderful ride and you could do any of 4 or 5 segments of it included in with other routes.  Prealpi Giulia is one of the best Friulian cycling areas. 

The cliffside road from Spignon to Masarolis

The beautiful old military road up to Monte Namlen

View from Monte Namlen of surrounding hills/valleys

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