Sunday, September 14, 2014

Passo della Forcella MTB

Steeper than Zoncolan?

I first heard of this climb a few weeks ago.  Apparently it had been recently paved and improved, so my first thought was to try riding the road bike up it.  Then I saw the altimetria and knew I would need MTB gearing for the attempt.

Today the rain finally stopped so I had to give it a try.  I parked at Villa Santina (325 meters) and crossed Torrente Degano to Raveo. This west side of the river is less trafficked, more scenic and hillier than the main road.  I continued north through Cella to Luint, where the route turns south again for Mione.  It's a tough climb just to reach the village of Mione at 730 meters, then you find the fountain with the rooster, where the real climbing begins,

The road is a narrow lane immersed in red fir forest.  It's smooth fresh asphalt, with well-designed drainage channels to prevent wheel damage.  It really is one of the best roads I've climbed around here, surprising given its remoteness.  I continued twisting up the hill without respite until about 1200 meters when I stopped to pant.   I restarted and made it up another steep stretch, to 1400 meters where I stopped again.  I decided to push the bike awhile but that was not much easier.  I started riding again and gave it all I had to about 1600 meters and then I was done for.  After a break I slowly pushed the bike up the even-steeper concrete section.  A guy herding cows teased and ask why I wasn't pedaling.  He likely walks up and down this road every day, pushing cows uphill when they want to stop for a nap.

The pass at 1800 meters is grassland with great views in every direction.  I took some pictures, caught my breath, and put on my cold descent gear.  Luckily I had bled the brakes the other day because this was one long brake-torture test.  They held up though.  At the bottom I crossed Torrente Degano to Ovaro and rode the busier east bank highway back down to Villa Santina.  Luckily all downhill so my legs survived.

Try this climb if you get a chance- you won't be disappointed.  

Pieve di Gorto near Cella

The iron rooster atop Mione's fountain

View from pass of mountains to the west
Close up view to west

View to north (below pass)

Close up to north of Monte Crostis (right)

Zoncolan ski area to the east

To southeast Torrente Degano and Tagliamento

Very old iron cross at pass, grape and wheat designs 

Read this just before descending

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