Sunday, October 12, 2014

Col della Luna MTB

Meduna River valley has numerous side roads to explore  and today's ride is a new one for me.  After warming up through Valcolvera to Poffabro and Torrente Muie to Navarons, I rode north along Lago dei Tramonti and onward to Tramonti di Sopra.   Here you turn left off SR 552 and immediately turn left again at a sign marked Picnic Area.  You descend to a large park along the river, then continue descending to a bridge across Torrente Meduna at 342 meters.  This is the start of the climb.

The road is paved at first and quite steep.  At Pradis a meadowy area affords you good previews of the mountains you'll be ascending.  A little further along there are Proprieta Privato signs on both sides of the road so I asked the guys working near their house if I could pass through.  One said of course, then added "Ma non va troppo veloce sulla salita" and laughed.  10,000 mountains in Italy and I have to choose the one with the comedian.   The road now gets crazy steep, around 20%, but it's paved and has occasional switchback ends where I could catch my breath.  As you grapple higher the road becomes leaf-strewn and wet from all the rain, so it's impossible to stand in the pedals without loosing traction.  

Around 700 meters elevation pavement ends but the packed gravel road is pretty good.  Still wet,  leaf-strewn though, which was no problem except for hidden metal drainage channels: on your power stroke if you are slightly inclined your rear wheel suddenly skews sideways.  It's a little disconcerting inches away from a long, steep embankment.   At 800 meters you reach a fork: a flat road straight ahead, but more steep switchbacks if you turn left.  I went straight but it ends after a couple hundred meters: I think this may be start of the hiking trail to Forcella di Pria.  Back at the fork I headed up.

This is the toughest part of the climb: the wet leaf-strewn dirt road now steepens, the gravel is less packed and traction is a challenge.  But I eventually made it up to end of the road at 1030 meters, where a step narrow unmarked trail begins.  I do not know if this is the best route, but there must be a  hiking path somewhere leading to the summit of Col della Luna at 1422 meters.          

I now began descending which was great fun.  To my surprise I encountered another MTBer pushing his bike up the trail.  Very friendly guy.  On down the hill and back up to Tramonti di Sopra and home.  Weather looked very threatening from Montreale to Giais, but only a tiny spruzzata.

Torrente Meduna at bridge below Pradis

Monte Giavons to north

Monte Crepa to south

The start of steep dirt switchbacks at 800 meter junction

Cloudy Monte Frascola from around 900 meters

End of the road at 1030 meters

Monte Frascola from Pradis

Monte Giavons from Pradis

Yellow line indicates the road I was on   

From Torrente Meduna to end of climb

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