Friday, December 19, 2014

Stavoli Sopracengla

Monte Prat is a fun area to explore not too far east of here above the Tagliamento River.  I rode from home to Forgaria and then began the climb.  Not a killer but still challenging.  A bunch of University of Udine geology students were hammering on rock cliffs along the road.  Around 750 meters my rear tire went flat and I changed it quickly to avoid getting cold.  

Soon I reached the altopiano and pedaled easily, resting from the climb.  At the old hotel turn right through the forest.  Before long you reach an intersection with Via Agar, which heads northwest to Cjanet and Peonis.  To the north is the road for Monte Pedroc (900 meters).  But the road I was looking for was Via Ledrania, to the south.  Almost immediately it began plunging down the escarpment toward Lago Cornino.  After a few small groups of restored stone houses I reached end of pavement at 530 meters, below Stavoli Sopracengla.  From here a hiking trail descends to Lago Cornino.  I'll hike it someday.

I turned and headed back up the escarpment at a snail's pace: it's 2 km averaging 13% with ramps over 18%.   I made it but I was toast.  The decent was fun but the long ride home was tough.   After a month or so of rain it's time to start rebuilding my fitness.   

Via Agar toward Cjanet and Peonis

Road climbing to Pedroc and Cima Pala

Via Ledrania heading down the escarpment

Restored rustico near end of pavement

Tagliamento to south; grifoni were circling almost at eye-level

Tagliamento to east

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Deferred Maintenance

Last year I noticed the Viner's left downtube cablestop adjuster was frozen solid with corrosion.  I just used the rear derailleur screw instead and forgot about it.  Then a few months later I tried loosening it with penetrating oil, whacking it, and finally applying some torque, but the adjuster screw broke in two.   The cable had an odd angle but it seemed to shift ok so I kept using it despite being broken.

Then last month the rainy season arrived and I decided to finally fix it.  The aluminum screw remnant wouldn't move so I drilled it out and installed some nice Jag-wire steel adjusters.  The shifter cables were trashed so I replaced all the cables and housing, then rewrapped the bars with Cinelli cork ribbon.  I even scrubbed the frame (I think that may have been the first time I've done more than hose the mud off). Simple stuff but now it feels like a new bike.  If it doesn't rain tomorrow I'll give it a proper test ride.

Edit: went for a spin to Malnisio and San Martino- shifts smoothly as new.  About the only difference I feel with the new setup is the brake cable housing on the back of the bars instead of front.   This routing made it easier to get rid of the crossed-derailleur cables under the down tube.  Never did care for those- looks much cleaner with cables parallel.

This is the side I drilled.  Luckily I didn't drill out the threads.

Close up of Jag-wire adjuster

New Cinelli cork ribbon

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Casera Valfredda MTB

Beautiful cold clear weather has finally arrived.   I MTB'ed from Costa up through Rifugio Bornass to Castaldia, took the back road toward Col Alto till Candaglia and then turned onto the gravel road.  A little snow and ice but not bad.  I intended to continue to Forcella di Giais or Ronciade but ran out of time at Casera Valfredda (1385 meters).  I'll have to return and finish the loop later.  Many good trails in this area.

Monte Cavallo from Casera Valfredda

Panning out to show the area

Skirting around the left side of this hill (1500 meters high with
microwave relay towers)  you arrive near Forcella di Giais

Pretty little conch valley below Casera Valfredda

View east of Julian Alps near Slovenia

Friday, November 28, 2014

Monte Costa di Paladin MTB

Another turnoff I've passed many times but never ridden.  I warmed up climbing from Tramonti di Sopra to Passo di Monte Rest (7.5 km averaging 7.5%).  At the turnoff onto the gravel road, a young fellow was using a crane to stack logs on his truck.  He asked if I was doing a giro (loop) and tried to help by warning that the road was blocked ahead, but I said I'd just turn around when I reached the barricade.  The road quickly gets steep switchbacking and then climbing along the ridgeside to 1415 meters (4.6 km averaging 8.9%).  I carried my bike over an obstacle as the man had mentioned, a small avalanche across the road.  Other than that the only delay a was fallen tree whose big limbs had to be crossed carrying the bike, but no problem.  Maybe further along something bigger like a landslide was blocking the way?

Anyway above 1400 meters the slight drizzle got a little harder and the road confusingly began descending with switchbacks.  I needed to look at the map but wasn't going to get it soaking wet, plus my turnaround deadline was nigh (Marilyn needed a ride to the store), so I turned back.  I'll try this again next Spring.  Pictures I've seen of the view from Monte Costa di Paladin (1700 meters) are pretty dazzling.  

Turn left on this road after crossing Passo di Monte Rest

Casera Feletta

Fiume Tagliamento; in background Monte Bivera (2474 meters) 

The avalanche

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Maloria is on a side road I've passed dozens of times but never explored.  Today the weather is stupendo so I thought I'd ride to Maloria and then trailblaze to Via Patriarca above Villa di Villa.  I should  have taken my MTB for the dirt roads, but I needed to ops check a shorter stem I'd installed on the Merckx so I rode it instead.

After warming up on Via Pedemontana to the turnoff for Sarone I headed up the road toward Il Cansiglio.  At 550 meters elevation turn left toward località Maloria.  Almost immediately turn left again at the road marked Bambini al Pascolo(!)  Continue bearing left until you head steeply down a curving concrete ramp.  Here you reach end of pavement and a couple of houses.  I walked around trying to figure where to go but the map was no help.   I rode back up the hill and at the Bambini al Pascolo sign turned left.  This paved road  winds steeply up to Posta Cavarzerani  at 674 meters.

I returned to the curve where the road starts to head steeply downhill because my map showed a dirt road branching off there.  A lady trying to herd her barking dogs told me to watch out, it's steep.  Turns out it's a hiking trail, not a road and she was right about the steepness.  I carried the bike on my right shoulder down the bouldery trail, encountering a large group of hikers.  This continued for a half kilometer till I reached a grassy area with a house.  I hopped on the bike and rode through the grass till I arrived at a concrete ramp.  I descended, it turned to dirt and then to grass and went up a grassy knoll.   Pretty view of the plain from here, but no road.  So I retraced my route to a turnoff headed east.  I was pretty sure I was lost now but amazingly this road soon turned to grass and ended with the same group of houses at the dead end I'd explored a half hour before.  I'd been at the right place after all,  I just didn't know to follow the grassy area till it turned into a road.  Next time I'll be ready!

I headed back down the main Cansiglio road to Via Pedemontana and continued toward home.  At the crest of the climb to Budoia a guy caught up with me and was drafting until I blew a shift and he veered around me.   He slowed up and I went around.  So the rest of the way home instead of loafing I tried to keep the pace up so I wouldn't get in his way.  Good training for my legs after the long rainy spell.  

The turnoff at 550 meters.

Turn left here to Maloria Basso; go straight for Maloria Alto

Bear left for Maloria Basso

Posta Cavarzerani at 674 meters

The steep hiking trail joins a grassy pasture here

Friday, November 21, 2014


Rode my Merckx to Travesio and then up Valcosa to Clauzetto.  From Clauzetto I continued climbing toward Pradis di Sopra (Orton), but turned right at 720 meters on road for Zuaniers and Ropa.  Shortly afterward I turned right again: can't remember if it was marked but there's photo of the junction below.

This narrow forest lane meanders up and around through logging waste to 757 meters.  A man driving a tractor pulling a large tree trunk stopped to tell me to "sta attento al lavoro."  Very nice of him to stop and warn me; further up the road some men had the road half-blocked chopping tree-falls.

The lane is paved for the most part until near Corona, where it turns to dirt, though still road bikeable.   Some nice restored stone farmhouses surround a grassy meadow at Corona, then you arrive at the paved road from Vito d'Asio to Madonna della Neve which I climbed last year.  Lovely ride home on this sunny fall day, though I was tired from the climb.   

Note: Installed the 1995 Campagnolo front brake on the Merckx last night and ops checked it on these descents.  Works great. 

Unmarked turn off on road to Zuaniers 

Hiking trail to parish church San Martino: must try it

Start of San Martino trail: later it's flanked by thousand-year old walls

Monte Pala above to north

View west of Monte Cavallo

A wider view of Monte Cavallo gruppo

To east: Monte Cura left, Madonna della Neve
right (tiny white spot)

Friendly dogs at Agriturismo Paradiso

Dirt road from Corona joins road to Vito d'Asio

The dogs sat down to wait while I took some pictures

Hungry baby asino hoping to get some milk

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Again the waters have parted and people are daring to venture outside.  I rode the spare Merckx (the Viner is awaiting a new set of cables) and it worked fine.  After Meduno I rode northwest briefly until the left turn for Preplans.  This little road passes a hydroelectric plant, then descends steeply to Torrente Meduna  at Ponte Paludana.  This is a narrow bridge, but it's paved and has guard rails- not bad.  After the bridge you head steeply up a couple of switchbacks: half a kilometer reaching 18%.  At the end of the road is Borgo Preplans, a group of stone houses.  I had tried reaching this from above  earlier this year but the trail turned into a steep slide- hate to think what going up would be like.

After taking some pictures I recrossed the bridge and went up the steep east bank: this one is merely 14%.  My intention of returning via Val Muie and Valcolvera fell through when I noticed the front brake sticking: I had to reach down to reopen the caliper after each stop.  Started working on it when I got home: heavily corroded.  I may cannibalize the brake from my Trek 1220 (originally on 1995 Pinarello Dyna).   

Churning Torrente Meduna north of bridge

Ponte Paludana with switchbacks

View north toward Monte Rest

Snowy Monte Raut

Navarons across Val Muie

Friday, November 14, 2014

Monte Celant MTB

The torrential rains have paused briefly so I leapt at the chance for a ride.  I drove to Tramonti di Sotto and started rustily pedaling the MTB.  I turned east on Via Cima Riva and then through localita  Comesta (a house with a barn and a mule).  Soon the narrow lane descends toward Torrente Tarcenò and pavement ends.  I was worried about the guado being overfilled from all the rain, but it was only maybe 10-15 cm deep.  The cool water felt good on my feet and calves.

Now the packed gravel road gets steep- lots of ramps with gradient in the high teens, with a median  13.4% slope for 2 km until 580 meters.  Then you descend slightly to Stavoli Tamar, ruins of an abandoned settlement.  I descended a bit more and then saw a sign for Monte Celant, which I'd only seen previously from the south near Campone.  This road was in surprisingly good condition- I expected a washed-out, muddy logging road.  The gradient is steep, but alternates with easier stretches so you can catch your breath (3 km averaging 11%).  

Around 965 meters the road levels out and then descends some.  It abruptly ends, with a blazed trail  to the summit (1093 meters).  I was in a hurry though and headed back down.  The descent was a blast: even the counter-climbs at Tamar and the Torrente Tarcenò felt good.  I will come back and try variations to Campone and Stavoli Palcoda, another abandoned village.

The first guado on a branch of the Tarcenò
Double guado crosses Tarcenò twice

Abandoned houses at Stavoli Tamar

Painting on side of ruins

Close-up of the flower painting

From near 800 meters: Tramonti di Sotto on left, di Mezzo on right,
and di Sopra in background; Torrente Meduna on left

Waterfalls along Torrente Tarcenò

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Croce d'Aune

Finally made it to this famous climb.   I left home late and parked in Feltre on the road for Pedavena. This is a good short warm-up as it gently slopes up to start of the climb at 350 meters.  The next couple of kilometers are quite steep so I took it easy.  The roadway is very wide and well-paved.  Eventually the gradient lessens somewhat and the road winds up a densely forested mountainside to Croce d'Aune (1022 meters).  I didn't even slow down though: I continued climbing up to Monte Avena (1267 meters).

From Monte Avena I couldn't find the road down to Ponte Serra, where I'd intended to ride up the busy highway to Ponte d'Oltra then climb up Croce d'Aune from the west (the hard side).  So I followed the only road I saw (unmarked) which descended back to the Pedavena-Croce d'Aune road at 719 meters (junction marked Col Melon).

I was running short of time now so I did the next best thing- climbed back up to Croce d'Aune and took some photos a short distance down the west side.  I'll have to come back and try the full climb from the west later.  As it was I had a great descent to Pedavena, where lots of folks were out enjoying the fine weather.   Will come back here soon.

Mountains to northeast from Monte Avena

Mountains to north from westside of Croce d'Aune

View northwest from Croce d'Aune

View west from Croce d'Aune