Sunday, February 23, 2014

Torrenti Muie, Chiarzo, Arzino

A gorgeous clear day with chilly temps that warmed up in the afternoon.  I rode a series of climbs along torrents in the nearby mountains.  The first, Bus di Colvera, rises from Maniago toward Poffabro.  From here down Torrente Muie to Fiume Meduna, then north to Torrente Chiarzo.  This road follows a gorge up to Campone, then over a little pass at Piani di Clauzetto.   Now I descended to Pradis di Sotto and climbed again to Pradis di Sopra (near Orton).  The wonderful road down to Pielungo had a deviation at one point because of a slump, but is passable on a bike.   I stopped briefly at Forno with its tiny German cemetery from WWI- maybe 10 meters by 10 meters.  Some little girls were playing there with their little dog Bella.  At Pielungo I joined Torrente Arzino and followed the gorge to Anduins.  Now I headed up toward Vito d'Asio, but turned left toward Celante before reaching town.  This soon reached the curvy road from Clazetto to Travesio, which follows Torrente Cosa.  Now I was on the pianura, and rode through Toppo to the bridge over Fiume Meduna, down through Fanna and Ravedis to home.  Very fun scenic ride.   

Heavy flow through Bus di Colvera

Monte Raut snow

Monte Rodolino above Poffabro

View above Navarons toward Monte Raut 

Beautiful waterfall along Lago Tramonti

View of Monte Valcalda from shore of Lago Tramonti

Monte Rossa from Forno WWI cemetery

Waterfall along Torrente Arzino

Falling water from sulfurous spring,
Rio Barquet after Anduins 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Concordia Sagittaria

Another beautiful Spring day in February.  I intended to ride down to Bibione on the Adriatico coast. However at Pordenone I got mixed up trying to find the road to Portogruaro SR251.  I rode around in circles in a couple of neighborhoods then the industrial zone.  After squandering 45 minutes and 15 km I realized I'd been on the right road to begin with and shouldn't have turned off.  I decided to truncate the ride as I didn't want to ride home in the dark.

So instead I rode to Portogruaro and then Concordia Sagittaria.  This is a pretty town along the River Lemene, with some interesting Roman ruins and a very early Christian church.  The sun was out, the weeping willows along the banks were covered with new spring foliage, and the sunshine was warm.  Didn't want to leave, but bore down and rode home as fast as I could.  Very fun ride!

Cathedral di Santo Stefano, finished in 1466

The 11th century baptistry

View from piazza behind church

Colorful marble columns from Roman era

This was the original 3rd century church, next to/below the new one 

Portion of Roman pavement mosaic

Another mosaic 

The campanile is built upon an earlier foundation

One of many sarcofagi, with beautiful carving
Another sarcofago

Little chapel with bits of Roman ruins in the brickwork

Baptistry and campanile

Fiume Lemene with weeping willows

Palazzo on the piazza along the riverfront

Looking across from the east bank

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


A surprise sunny day with many hibernating bikers emerging, blinking from their dens.  Decided to look for a road I've seen from the climb up to Pian dei Grassi above Vittorio Veneto.  When looking across the gorge toward Monte Pizzoc I've noticed this road and some houses about halfway up the hill.  Never could figure out how to get there until today.  North of Vittorio Veneto, about 100 meters before you turn left toward Valdobbiadene, there is a small street off to the right marked Santa Giustina.  Immediately after the bridge over the Meschio you reach the 12th century church, and then head left up the hill.  The road is beautiful with nice switchbacks climbing up a couple of km.  Then after a brief easy gradient comes a series of steep ramps, topping out at 424 meters above the settlement of Maren.  A concrete road to your left ascends very steeply, and on your right a semi-paved road which descends to a stream and turns to mud.  Both of these look fun to mountain bike, and might connect to the roads above Grotto di Caglieron.  The ride home was fun but long. 
Turn right here

12th-century Santa Giustina 

Vineyard below Maren; in background Col Visentin on left,
Monte Dolada on the right 

On the opposite side of the gorge, the climb up to Pian dei Grassi

Close up Col Visentin

Lovely stone building over the crest on Via Scarpedal

Revine Lago across the gorge

Noisy stream along the road

Details of the climb

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Vivaro - Cordenons Loop

Yesterday, the morning after snowshoeing, my legs were hurting in places I didn't know existed before.  So I decided to take an easy walk with the pups on the bike trail to Malnisio to help get the kinks out.  Then today they felt a little better but it was threatening to rain so I picked a short local ride.  I cruised down the long straight slightly-downhill road to Vivaro, then turned west and crossed i Magredi della Cellina to San Foca.  From here cruised down to San Quirino and the back road to Cordenons.  I turned west   again trying to reach the main road toward Villa d'Arca, but turned too soon and got lost on dirt roads.  It was kind of fun, like a mini-Eroica ride.  I eventually blundered back onto pavement and headed north to San Quirino, San Foca, San Leonardo, and Malnisio.  Fun ride! 

Nothing to do with today's ride, but here are pics from our walk on the bike trail yesterday:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ronciade snowshoe

While it was raining down here the past few weeks it was snowing in the mountains.  I drove up the hill to Piancavallo this morning to check it out.  Parked at end of plowing above Col Alto (1300 meters) and walked to the trailhead.  You must climb a 5-foot high vertical wall of snow to get up to the trail, but luckily someone made a toe hold in the snowbank to get you half way up.  I donned my snowshoes and got underway but promptly encountered a team of sled dogs and their musher who were training on the trail.  The musher turned them around and headed off in the opposite direction.  The trail has been packed down by the dogs and sled to the point you could probably walk it in hiking boots, quite stable.  After a bit you reach an open snowy meadow where you cross the Passegiata delle Malghe.  The dogs were coming back toward me now so I got off the side of the trail and the musher walked the team holding their harnesses, pulling his sled by hand.  The dogs were beautiful, well-groomed and fluffy. 

After another kilometer or so the sled trail ended and the route was now covered with deep virgin snow.  No human footprints, only rabbit and fox prints.  The snowshoes sank down only mid calf- deep, making walking much easier than sinking to your waist.  The trail skirts around Col Spizzat, ascending a bit but not too steeply.  At 1400 meters I reached an opening in the faggio (beech) forest and the sun briefly lit up Monte Cavallo.  After taking its portrait I turned around and retraced my steps.  The snow meadows were now obscured by dense low flying clouds in a 360 degree white out.  Without following my snowprints I would have had no idea where to go.  

Will come back soon and try some of the many variations- the snow should be here another month at least.

Sign to let you know sled dogs are training and
not to bring any other dogs on the trail
The dog sled trail through the snow

The dogs and their musher in the snowmeadow

The view north; note the incoming cloudbank

Dangerous abyss along the road- just stay in the center

Monte Cavallo (2251m) through a clearing

Virgin snow trail; the pillow shapes are from
 partial melting when it's sunny 

Thursday, February 6, 2014


The eye of the storm passed over today, and the sun finally shone after a week of steady rain.  My neighbor advised me to "Profitta dal sole, perche domani torna il brutto."  I left a bit late because I needed to wash the dogs, but once underway I rode hard as possible.  After reaching Pinzano I headed north along the Tagliamento to Peonis, a town on the slope rising from the river.  My original plan was to climb a narrow lane which switchbacks up the mountain to Cjanet, but I ran out of time because I needed to get home to walk the dogs by 1430.  So I rode home as hard as possible too.  Didn't bonk or collapse and had the fastest average speed  I've ever ridden for such a long  rolling ride- 26 kph.  Got home just in time for the dog walk- mission accomplished!  

Rain-swollen Tagliamento with snowy peaks behind 

Close up of the river

Rio Tremugna cascading down the mountainside