Sunday, August 30, 2015

Kromberk - Lokve

I love riding in Slovenia.  It has a wild feeling, like nature is still in charge and the human settlements are little islands of civilization in the wilderness.  Today's ride is no exception.  I parked in Gorizia and rode into Nuova Gorica, quickly arriving at the start of the climb from Kromberk via Breg to Ravnica.  There are numerous ramps of 14-15% which is surprising given it's a military road.  At Ravnica you join the excellent road to Lokve, which gradually ascends to a a ridge line at a constant 10%.  This changes at Trnovo, where you begin a rolling ride along the top of the ridge with beautiul meadows interrupting beech and fir forest.  At Nemci you begin another steadier ascent till you reach Lokve.

Lokve seems an extension of Cepovan to the north: miles of lush green pastureland in a high valley between forested hills.  I don't blame the residents for keeping the road to the south unpaved-  this special place should be kept remote and pristine as long as possible.  The 10km dirt road isn't too bad on a road bike: on the climb I hardly noticed the difference and even on the steepest descents I avoided crashing.  Just above Predmeja the asphalt resumes and suddenly I was on one of the steepest most-fun plummets ever.  Very curvy and fast.

At Lokovec I turned to the right on a shortcut to Cesta.  From here I took the wide flattish, rolling main highway 444 all the way back to Kromberk and the car park.  Very fun ride.  In his guidebook Fulvio Babich recommends the triangle connecting Lokovec, Predmeja, and Ajdovscina so I will try that climb/descent on my next visit to this area.

Kromberk castello's vineyards 

Lokve green pastures

Edge of the forest

Through the gap Julian Alps are visible

Beginning of dirt road heading south

10 km later the asphalt returns

Near Predmeja looking down toward Lokovec

From Lokovec looking back at the mountains to the north

Last 5km of this climb are on dirt road

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