Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Korada - Kolovrat MTB

Korada and Kolovrat are a couple of WW I battlegrounds along the Italian-Slovenian border.  I've visited them on the road bike before but I'd heard with a mountain bike you can make them into a loop.  I parked at a pretty vineyard village called Mernicco and crossed into Slovenian via a new (to me) entry point.  It's a bridge across Torrente Judrio leading to the village of Golo Brdo.  From here I began ascending a paved road toward Senjk, which I skirted past in route to the dirt road for Korada.  This dirt road has a decent surface (but not road-bikeable), climbing continuously up to 660 meters where it joins the paved road coming up from Drnovk.  At Korada I rode on a paved then dirt road to a meadowy area at 740 meters.  Great views from here, though it was beginning to get hazy.

Next I headed toward Lig.  For some reason I thought this was only partially paved, but it's a gorgeous well-paved road.  From Lig I continued on the winding forested route to Kambresko.  Now I headed toward Srednje on an older but decent surface.  The pavement finally runs out about 3 km from Kolovrat, though it's still a very good gravel surface.  In fact a road biker was headed downhill on it as I ascended.  I think I could climb it on a road bike but would need low gears to ascend while seated.  Maybe I'll try it with the 34-30.

At Kolovrat you rejoin pavement and many tourists visiting the Pot Miru Outdoor Museum, a collection of rebuilt trenches and outdoor exhibits.  I rode the MTB through a little dip in the ridge on a trail leading to Bivacco Zanuso road along the western Italian side.  From here I coasted down through Passa Solarie to the Drenchia road, where I turned left then soon turned off for Clabuzzaro.  I'd read a MTB trail started there, but saw no signs so I guessed where to go.  I headed down a freshly paved road marked Casa Erdiel.  There was a huge Prepotto sign pointing down a rough steep hiking trail.   After a group of a couple dozen hikers climbed out I headed down.  One of the hikers said she'd ridden it before and after the steep beginning it was fun.  It was crazy steep at the beginning but I managed not to crash.  Then it turned into the most fun I've had on a bike in years: rock formations, vegetation, mud bogs, crazy steep counter ascents followed by long fast downhills.  Every time another surprise popped up I started laughing, it was just too much at once.

Eventually it settled down some, still hugging the steep edge of Torrente Judrio's beautiful gorge but becoming less unpredictable.  After a few kilometers I reached Ponte Clinaz, where the trail/road appears to have been paved decades ago but almost all of it is washed away now.  Then finally at Mulino Vecchio it becomes a regular dirt road you could drive your car on.  Further still it becomes paved and continues down the wider valley of the Judrio, covered in vineyards.  Wonderful ride.



Beautiful stone house at Mernicco

Chiesa di Sant'Elena, Mernicco


Looking back from Golo Brdo at Mernicco

SV Marija na Jezeru, Golo Brdo

View west from dirt road climbing Korada

Forested hills rising from the meadowy slope

From Korada looking northwest

The view south, Soča River and Banjsice mountains 

Hazy view of Santuario Castelmont

From Srednje tall mountains to north

Kolovrat trenches and WW 1 artifacts

Torrente Judrio cascading over exposed sedimentary strata 

Clabuzzaro MTB trail becomes dirt road at Ponte Clinaz

Lower Judrio, flowing like a river, to the sea


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