Thursday, June 30, 2016

Alpe Adria Ciclovia

I rode up Strada di Bottecchia from Pinzano to Gemona then continued on SS13 up to Pontebba.  Almost all the through traffic uses the autostrada so the wide smooth roadway of SS13 is great for cyclists.  Today I was looking for something else though:  the recently completed section of Ciclovia Alpe Adria from Pontebbe to Moggio.  Just before you enter Pontebba on your left is a cemetery and chapel on a hill.  Arriving there you continue following the signs (including a very steep ramp in the high teens).  Soon  you begin encountering tunnels, lit for cyclists by solar arrays near each tunnel entrance.  The construction is to very high standard: asphalt is smooth, the numerous bridges are very tight metal grid deck so smooth I never even noticed with 23mm tires.  Heading south is slightly downhill so very easy even for folks with touring bikes, MTB, families with kids on their little bikes.  The scenery is spectacular.

At Resiutta (across the river from Moggio) the bikeway ended where they are constructing the next section.  I rode SS13 down to Venzone where I noticed another new section of the path at least to Gemona (may go even further).   And I still need to do the section from Pontebba to Tarvisio.  Maybe one day I'll complete the Austrian section to Salzburg.

Mountains above Resiutta

View west toward Val Aupa

Start of ciclovia south from Pontebba

Left: Gorge of Fiume Fella
Center: SS13 highway
Right: Bike path on roadbed of old Austrian railroad to Trieste

Crossing Fiume Fella on old railroad bridge

3 tunnels in a row.  So many I lost  count

4-decker waterfall on side of gorge

Yet another of numerous cascades

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Podbela Napoleon Bridge

This is my third attempt on this ride.  The weather was perfect when I left at 0530 and before long I reached San Daniele.  This starts a long stretch of saliscendi along the foothill towns.  At Faedis begins the long ascent to Bocchetta San Antonio.   Then you descend to the Slovenian border at Robidische, where the plummet to Torrente Natisone starts.  Along the deserted road a stone bridge suddenly appeared and I hopped off to explore.  It's a lovely area and very shady even on this sunny day.

The ascent back to San Antonio was tough but I survived.  Then the long descent to Faedis, featured in the Giro d'Italia 6 weeks ago.  Ride home was long but not unpleasant.  Perfect day for a long ride.

World War I memorial at Ragogna

View south from San Antonio

View north of Julian Alps

Napoleon Bridge over Fiume Natisone

Another angle

Climb from Faedis to San Antonio

Climb from Napoleon Bridge to San Antonio

Friday, June 24, 2016

Passo Mauria

I've been wanting to ride the Monte Rest-Passo Mauria-Passo San Osvaldo loop but never got around to it.  Today was my chance.  After Monte Rest you descend and then climb through Ampezzo to Cima Corsa.  Next pass through the long tunnel to Forni di Sotto and climb to Forni di Sopra.  Here you start the climb up past Sorgente di Tagliamento fino a Passo Mauria.  Descend to Lorenzago and then Lozzo di Cadore.  The traffic was lighter than expected here, maybe still too early in the season.  

At Pieve I climbed up through town to avoid the busy tunnels below.  Descending to Sottocastello I joined the via ciclabile and headed south.  They have really fixed up this bike route, pretty impressive.  Down the Cavalera to Perarolo and south on the deserted old route of SS51.   This is shady and less hilly which I was very glad of because I was close to bonking.   Luckily I reached a bar in Ospitale where I bought 3 more liters of cold water.  I thought it might be too much but no, I drank it all on the way home.

The bike route again follows a new route down to Longarone, where they've added a stretch through the gorge of the  Piave.  This would be a great place for a walk/ride with the family.  Soon you reach the final challenge up the switchbacks to Vajont dam and the baking-hot rocky cliffs below Casso.  San Osvaldo was very easy by comparison.  Mostly-downhill Torrente Celina felt like a cool-down ride and  soon I was home.  My neighbor Silvano had arrived from Venezia and baked me a fresh ciambella.  A perfect ending.  

Torrente Chiarzo at Lago di Tramonti

Lago di Tramonti

Torrente Tagliamento from Monte Rest

Cascate above Torrent Tagliamento 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Monte Pizzoc

Finally a break in the rain so I headed for Monte Pizzoc.  Cold air felt great during the ascent but at 1400 meters clouds rolled in and it got nippy.  Still a great ride.   Such a beautiful place.

Hole in the clouds revealing Piancansiglio

The climb from Sarone

Monday, June 13, 2016

Piancavallo-Mezzomonte Paved

Clear sunny morning so I took off for Piancavallo.  I decided I'd continue on to Casera Campo and then turn around at end of pavement.  When I got to the spot however the pavement didn't end.  It kept right on going up the formerly deep-gravel-and-rocks road, past Casera Valle Friz and all the way to the paved road coming up from Mezzomonte.  This is great news because now you can climb up from Polcenigo on a road bike then descend via Piancavallo Road.  Previously the rough descent back to Mezzomonte sucked unless you were on a MTB.   The gravel road toward Il Cansiglio remains, which is probably a good thing if it keeps the car traffic down.

Casera Campo

Casera Valle Friz 

The newly paved road between Campo and Friz

The gap where the hiking trail to Il Cansiglio passes

Heading up toward Col Palse

The turnoff for Mezzomonte

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Last commute to school

Last commute to school this year.  We'll see if I go back in September.  Just won't be the same without Maestra Raffaella, who's retiring.  To mark the occasion I rode home the back way like I used to do.  Slower but more peaceful.

Wheat field near San Foca

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Lago di Verzegnis

Today I rode up Strada di Bottecchia to Lago di Cavazzo and then continued northwest to the start of Sella Chianzutan climb  About half way up I turned on a road marked Lago di Verzegnis.  It's a beautiful turquoise lake surrounded by forested mountains.  After crossing a bridge the road forks and  I chose the one marked 12%.  This turned out to be the average gradient, not max.

Eventually I reached the junction with the main climb. After the sella I headed down to Val d'Arzino with spots of light rain.  At Anduins I turned west and traversed to Clauzetto.  On the descent I hit a pot hole and flatted.  The Zonda front rim was easy to change tubes: not sure about the rear because the sides are taller.  Had a brief rain shower at Grizzo.  Very tired when I got home.
The bridge across the lake.,

Lake view to east

Not Mt Etna;  Cuel di Spirual

Even more volcano-looking

Hmm, think I'll go left

Village above the lake

The deadly climb out of Lago di Verzegnis 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Castello San Salvatore

Today is an Italian holiday so no trucks on the roads: perfect for routes normally too busy to ride safely.  I took off down SS13 (La Pontebbana) toward Conegliano, but deviated to ride some back roads below Bodega di Sant'Urbano.  Predictably I lost my way a few times but it was still fun.  At Conegliano I turned south toward Susegana.  Just below town there's a sign for Castello San Salvatore so I headed up the hill.  The castle is immersed in prosecco vineyards and beautiful trees.  The entrance was closed but possibly the owners allow visitors a few days per year.  I'll look in to it.  

I decided to stay on the main road for the return trip.  Lots of giant black thunderheads looming toward the mountains.  Finally at Sacile it rained moderately and continued until Castello d'Aviano.  I dried out a little on the remainder of the ride.  Great place to visit.

The castle

Prosecco vineyards

Lovely gate tower

The castle tower

The front gate

Prosecco vineyards to the west

Some of the beautiful trees on the castle grounds