Saturday, January 25, 2014

Monte Castelir

I noticed this side road heading up the mountain near Rugolo last week.  So today when the sun finally popped back out I headed over to try it.  After warming up riding to Caneva I turned uphill at Villa di Villa, climbed past Castello di Cordignano, over the hill and down towards Rugolo.  Just before you descend to Rugolo turn right on the road marked Chiesetta Alpina di Monte Castelir.  It's steep immediately but not too bad.  Then the nice smooth pavement ends, and it becomes crumbling concrete alternating with rocks stuck in tar, tilting up into the +20% range.   This would be a good workout on a mountain bike.  In fact, during one of my numerous stops to hang my head over the handlebars to gasp, sputter, and pant, a mountain biker wobbled by me and appeared to be struggling with the hellish gradient as well.  Eventually I made it to the closed church gate and walked up from there.  I was having trouble even walking this stretch, having forgotten my cleat covers.

The little church at 626 meters and surroundings were beautiful and I really enjoyed the visit.  Then I descended with brakes in a death grip: going fast on this broken surface would likely send me flying headfirst over an embankment.  When I reached Rugolo my legs felt rubbery so I went home the easiest way possible.   Arrived just in time for a nice cool down walk with Marilyn, Teddi and Honey.  Will return soon with MTB- from Monte Castelir a trail continues to Col Alt and the Strada della Patriarca (the ancient road from Villa di Villa to il Cansiglio).

The lovely start of the climb, with olive grove and prosecco vineyard

Chiesetta Alpina di Monte Castelir 626 meters

Front view

Hazy view west across Sarmede,Vittorio Veneto,
with Monte Cesen in background

Memorial to the Alpini (mountain soldiers)

Hillside town of Montaner with its huge campanile

Snow-capped Col Visentin

The killer climb

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