Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Piancavallo from Barcis

This is one of the prettiest rides around here.  From west shore of Lago di Barcis up the gorge of Torrente Caltea to Piancavallo, all wilderness.  And you get a good workout, 13 km of 7.5%.  It was  a little icy up near the top where previous light snowfalls have melted and re-frozen.  A couple of times I had to hop off and walk along the edge for maybe 50 meters where the ice and steepness prevented rear wheel from getting traction.  Much less snow than normal for this time of year.
Descended down the main road to Aviano, much less traffic than usual because of fewer skiers.  

View north of  rocky Monte Resettum

Closer up

Monday, December 28, 2015

Passo San Osvaldo

I enjoyed riding through the 4 km tunnel by Barcis on Saturday so much I returned to ride through it twice more,  this time from Montereale Valcellina / Lago di Ravedis.  I continued past Barcis to Cimolais and climbed up the little pass of San Osvaldo (848 meters).  The return ride is one of the sweetest around here: 40km almost all downhill.   Hard to describe how good that feels after burning your muscles all the way up there.

Some of the peaks of Val Cimolana 

Note the rock towers along the ridge, a local specialty

San Osvaldo's little chapel,
with the first snow I've seen this year

From the pass, more Val Cimolana eye-poppers

Close up of rock walls high above

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Pala Barzana

Pala Barzana is a good training ride from east to west (Poffabro to Andreis), and slightly harder in the opposite direction.  Today I took the easy way, up through Bus di Colvera and Poffabro.  Quite chilly in the shade of the mountain but the climbing kept me warm.  At the top (854 meters) the road was frosty and I felt some slippage so I rode very slowly.  Good job too because it got frostier and even a thin dusting of snow above Bosplans.  

There were a few sightseers enjoying Santo Stefano but not enough traffic to be a bother.  Finally I reached the less-steep and -frosty road by Andreis and tried riding fast as possible to warm-up but it was useless:  I was frozen.  The 4 km tunnel was a bit warmer and I got a little warmth on the short climb to the tunnel above Montereale.  I hurried home and pulled off my shoes and socks to warm my block-of-ice feet by the heater.  I'm still feeling a little cold but a warm bath will cure that.

Monte Raut above Pala Barzana

Beautiful peaks above Andreis

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Piani di Clauzetto

The cloud cover broke and I headed for the hills.  From Meduno I followed the rolling road along Lago di Tramonti until the turn off for Campone, beside Torrente Chiarzo.  Here you begin a winding climb to Piani di Clauzetto (3 km of 7% reaching 686 meters), a curvy rough descent to Pradis di Sotto (526 meters) and a steepish climb to Pradis di Sopra (3 km of 6.5% reaching 722 meters).  From there down through Clauzetto and home.

Cima Lareseit from Piani di Clauzetto

Monte Taeit from Pradis di Sotto

Saturday, December 19, 2015


I left home feeling energetic but by the time I reached Caneva I was really feeling the hard climb of yesterday.  I avoided the usually hilly approach to Villa di Villa and took the lower route.  After Sarmede there was no avoiding the inevitable, so I just stood and gutted out the 1.5 km of 10% (again with +15% ramps).  Afterward, I stopped and pretended to photograph the countryside, whilst softly whimpering and moaning in pain.

Once I regained my composure I continued along the saliscendi of the hillside road.  It's a beautiful conch valley, with starting points for many steeper climbs up toward Il Cansiglio.  At Fregona the road heads downward, leveling out around Cappela Maggiore.   Again I was doing my best to stay on the flats, and succeeded all the way to Marsure where again there's just no getting around it.

BTW at the industrial zone of Polcenigo I tried a shortcut to Budoia which ended in a dirt road and a flooded gravel pit.  I rode through the woods on some muddy singletrack but the highway bridge in the distance was still on the wrong side of the water.  I hiked through the woods carrying my road bike and finally reached  the bridge.  So don't turn into the industrial zone at the Cimolais sign, wait till you see the SEDIT sign (that road leads to Budoia).
Olive groves and vineyards in Rugolo 

Sheep and lambs enjoying the sunshine

The view west toward Monte Cesen

Friday, December 18, 2015


I started this ride running some errands: the bank, the post office, etc.  But my final stop, the pharmacy, wasn't stocked yet so I killed some time with a training climb.  The ride from Costa to Rifugio Bornass is another contender for best training climb of Pedemontane  Pordernonese, but with a caveat: it starts with a kilometer averaging 12% up to Santuario Madonna del Mont, with some +15% in there.  Once you get past that it's as sweet a climb as you'll find: 7.5 km of 6.1%.  A bridge washed out a couple years ago so you must hop off and walk a few meters, but it's really a net plus because no cars come through anymore.  At the rifugio I turned onto the wide, smooth beautifully-switchbacked road from Piancavallo to Aviano.  One of the funnest descents I know of.

Back down in the "real world" I picked up some prescriptions then headed home.  Maybe tomorrow another escape into fantasy.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Forchia di Meduno

Another good training climb, this time from Meduno to Forchia di Meduno: 4.2 km averaging 8.1%.  There are many options from Forchia: on road bike to Monte Valinis where you can watch paragliders leap off the precipices and try to land in the wind, or you can descend steeply to Campone and go up to Piani di Clauzetto.

If you're MTBing you can continue on the gravel road up to Monte Cereis, with option of rock-scrambling to top of  Monte Chiarandeit (haven't tried that yet).  Then a bit further down the road is a turn off for Monte Mulon I want to try next year.  If we continue snowless maybe I could do that in the next month or two.

View northwest from Forchia showing gravel road up Monte Cereis

Monte Mulon from Monte Valinis/Campone junction

Friday, December 11, 2015


A cold, clear, windless day.  I bundled up and rode down Via Pedemontane to Coltura (Polcenigo).  Here you head up the best training climb in the province,  Mezzomonte:  4.3 km averaging 9.5%.  You might say it's too steep but it's short and the pavement is smooth and switchbacked perfectly.  I think that makes it seem easier.  Wonderful climb.

View from Mezzomonte of Budoia, Aviano, far-away Julian alps

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


For some reason I always pass through Clauzetto instead of visiting there.  It's really a lovely place though.  The climb up is good training, 6km averaging 6.5% gradient.  And there are numerous deviations and side trips you can take.

Today though I rode up to the road junction to Pradis di Sopra at 600 meters.  Perfect weather, light traffic because of the holiday, and several huge packs of rides, Meschio and some other clubs I didn't recognize.  

I was ravenous when I got home but luckily I'd made some pizza dough and put it on the heater to rise while I was gone.  So I had hot pizza 40 minutes after returning.  A perfect day! 

Looking west from Clauzetto

Monte Ragona from near Clauzetto chiesa

Campanile on the edge of the ridge, visible for miles

To the southeast: hills of Castelnovo del Friuli and Tagliamento River

Clauzetto from the town church, with mountains to northwest

Campanile from southwest

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Castello di Caneva

Yet another local training climb.  Today I climbed to Castello di Caneva from the easier side (Sarone), though you can also ascend directly from Caneva (steeper).  The weather was cold and clear, pretty much perfect, with several large bike clubs riding up Via Pedemontane to take advantage. After descending to Caneva I took a little road Paul Kim once showed me, which crosses beneath 2 large aqueduct pipes bringing the waters of Fiume Meschio down to a hydroelectric plant at Stevena.  I continued west to Villa di Villa and Sarmede, then wandered south and east till I finally ended back at Caneva.  Nice ride home.  Now I'm exhausted.

Castello di Caneva from the south

Closer up

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Monte San Lorenzo

Another favorite training climb.  Like Val de Croda, Monte San Lorenzo is not too long and just steep enough to really make you work without injuring yourself.  To reach it go east past Maniago toward Fanna and turn left on Via Vals.  It's very wide smooth pavement for the huge rock haulers running between Cava San Lorenzo and the cement mill by Fanna.  On Sundays the road is deserted. 

At the crest 500 meters I stopped to take photos then descended north to Val Colvera.  A short ride from there to outskirts of Poffabro, where you take a right along Val Muie, a favorite road of mine: rolling hills, tumbling streams and beautiful wilderness scenery.  At Navarrons descend to Torrente Meduna then up to Meduno.  From there back across the Meduna, through Cavasso Nuovo, Maniago and home.  Great cold, clear weather ride.  

East toward Colline di Sequals

The pretty woods you climb through to Monte San Lorenzo

Monte Raut to the north

Friday, November 27, 2015

Giro del Dentista

Rode down to Marsure to see the dentist.   On the way home I rode up through Budoia to Via Pedemontana and home.  All big ring seems to be helping.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

First Commute of the Last School Year

Picked a good day for the first commute of the year: sub-zero℃ temps with crystal clear skies.  I bundled up and was warm.  Luckily the forecast 18 kph winds didn't materialize.  That would have been tough on the way home.  Note: tried my Castelli Estremo gloves in sub-zero weather for the first time: they're toasty without liners.

After school I biked over to Policlinico San Giorgio to see my friends' newborn baby.  Beautiful tiny girl.

Again used big ring the whole time.  Hoping this will help regain my strength by Spring.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Via Pedemontana Occidentale

The overcast has lifted and now we can see a dusting of snow on the mountains.  I cruised down the foothills road to Caneva and then onto the plains.  At Budoia the climb begins, through Castello d'Aviano  and Marsure to home.  Another good big ring ride. 

Fiume Livenza looking north

Livenza flowing south to the sea

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Colline di Sequals

November weather has finally arrived: overcast and cold.  No problem though, just bundle up and go.  I rode almost to Meduno again, but headed further east to Toppo and almost Travesio.  Then to Usago and the road to Sequals.  Saw quite a few groups of riders which is always heartening.  Good big ring workout.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Val de Croda

The climb from Dardago up through Val de Croda to end of pavement is one of the best local training climbs.  An easily accessible, wide, well-paved road, little traffic, 5 km averaging 7.5% and beautiful rugged scenery make it hard to beat.  At end of pavement (445 meters) a gravel road/trail (Venezia delle Neve) continues to Piancavallo for MTBers / hikers.

Val Grande with trail to Valle Friz

The Croda (cliffs) above San Tome church and Torrente Artugna

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Budoia furnace

Another short loop, this time down Via Pedemontane.  I stayed on the big ring the whole time and stood in the pedals on hills.  Brief but hard workout.

Disuesd furnace at Budoia

Monday, November 9, 2015

Solimbergo Hill

Another flattish loop workout.  This one has a bump in the middle, Colline di Sequals.  Above Solimbergo they've built a short tunnel to make it easier.  The old road over the top still exists though. I need to try it.  Again my shoulder feels good as new.  I tried standing in the big ring for all the rises and felt no pain in collarbone.  Weather again was splendid.

Wheat field, with mountains to the north

Mountains to northeast
Sequals campanile

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Collarbone Ops Check

I fell and broke my collarbone 7 weeks ago* and today decided it was time to give it a try.  Rode the flattish circuit to Montereale, San Foca, San Leonardo and home.  Collarbone felt fine and even withstood pulling up on the bars when climbing out of the saddle.  The weather is stupendous this week: temps in the low 20℃ range, dead calm, and clear.  Feels like September.

*Very strange accident on a road I've ridden thousands of times through Marsure, after the strettoia at intersection with Via Wassermann, where the road surface changes to pavé and some decorative squares of round cobbles for a few meters.  Don't remember what happened: I came to on my left side, still clipped in the pedals.  I staggered to my feet, put my chain back on the ring and rode away.  No road rash, just a scraped elbow and knee.  I continued on with my errands but noticed my left arm hurt when I raised it so I stopped by the base clinic. They X-rayed me, put my left arm in a sling and I called my wife for a ride home.  7 weeks later it's good as new except for a weird bump sticking out of my upper left chest.  Doc said the bone shifted (doing too many heavy chores when I should have been resting).   Anyway, thanks to the nice folks at the clinic, my friend Zoran and Dino who carried a dryer upstairs to help me, and my friend Larissa's mamma who made me some magical herbal salve in the mountains of Montenegro.

The aquedotto from Lake Barcis empties
into the irrigation canal network here  

View northeast toward Monte Raut

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Castello di Cergneu

This is a rolling ride along the hills north of Udine, stretching from the Tagliamento at Pinzano to Nimis, not too far from the Slovenian border.   I tried it last April as well, but things went smoother today.  About the only surprises were an art market in the centro of Tricesimo which required walking the bike for a kilometer, a bike race blocking the route at Colloredo, and a flat tire at Maniago.  Not bad.

Near Nimis I visited the ruins of 13th century Cergneu castle.  The restorers have done a lot of work and the site looks very good.  I'l try to come back here via MTB descending from Monteprato: looks like a fun ride. 

Castello di Cergneu

Note the archery slit on the outer wall

Close up of archery slit

Cappella di Maria Madelena below the castle

3 entry arches on front entry of chapel 


This church at Qualso reminds me of Napoleon's tomb