Sunday, July 31, 2016

Crode di San Tome

The climb from Dardago to Crode di San Tome is a good place to check out the Fedaia's climbing ability: long sections of steady gradient with sparse traffic and beautiful scenery.  The bike is very  comfortable and feels light on the steep gradients.  At end of pavement I turned around and checked out the handling at speed: steady as a rock.  The only thing missing on this climb are lots of curves, so I headed to Mezzomonte to try those.  Unfortunately a hellacious wind storm struck: tree limbs were falling everywhere in the windblown rain.  I turned around at 230 meters and tried to get down intact.  

Back on wide-open Via Pedemontane things were even worse, with wind blasts almost knocking me off the bike several times.  I rode clinching the hoods and bent with my shoulder turned toward ithe blasts.  That seemed to help and I only veered off into the verge once.  After Piancavallo turnoff it got less windy, though still drizzling.   A parade of beautiful red Ferrari with tops down came by, headed toward Piancavallo.  That was a pleasant surprise.  On the final climb past Hotel Royal the bike powered up as if it had a hidden electric motor.  Great climber.      

Val Grande above end of pavement

When an artisan signs his work it means he's proud;
I could sense that when speaking with Marco Bertoletti

Beautiful forcellina: this one customized for QR 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Legend Fedaia First Impressions

Been dreaming about this for 3 or 4 years.  Then last winter when descending from a local peak with my hands knotted in arthritic pain I decided I needed discs.  Marco Bertoletti makes steel road frames with discs (also carbon or titanium but out of my price range) so I ordered one.  The result exceeds all expectations.  Very comfortable, with no stem changes, steerer spacer stacks etc.  Marco is great to work with, like talking with another rider/mechanic, not a salesman.      

Anyway the ride today was a flattish loop to Cordenons and back.  Practiced di2 shifting: getting better but still mixing it up sometimes.  Also did the little climb up to Giais with some packages picked up at the post office.  This bike is a good climber.  Not sure how much heavier it is than the Maxima but it doesn't feel heavier at all.  Climbed up past the Royal like it was nothing.  Anyway more to come as we get familiarized.

Disc side view in the garden

Official portrait at Bergamo factory

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


I drove to Slovenia, through Tolmin, past Most na Soci to Dolenja Trebusa.  Instead of the paved road to Gorenja Trebusa this time I took the left dirt fork marked Oblakov Vrh, a beautiful 670 meter pass.  I was on my road bike because I couldn't determine if the road was paved, but the hard-packed dirt was no problem to ride.  After the pass the road eventually became paved, though it was quite rough further down.   The road winds down further to Spodnja Idrija, where it joins the main highway to Idrija.  I passed through this brief trafficked zone and then found the well-paved climb for Vojsko.  It ascends steeply with no rest, reminding me a bit of Dolada.  Finally around 800-900 meters you get some flattish spots alternating with short steep ramps.  Tops out around 900-1000, but I turned toward Mrzla Rupa shortly before the highest spot.  

Now you're on another steep hard-packed dirt road, no trouble with 23mm slicks as long as you keep braking to avoid speed.  After Mrzla Rupa I was on familiar turf: the long steep dirt descent to Gorenja Trebusa.  This seemed much longer on a road bike because of the glacial pace: on MTB it feels like a ski run.  Finally asphalt again near the bottom, then the fast curvy road back to Dolenja Trebusa.

This area of Slovenia is one of the prettiest places I'ver ever been.  Want to try riding to Bohinj lake soon.

Looking back down the dirt road toward Dolenja Trebusa

From Oblakov Vrh back toward Dolenja Trebusa

Over Oblakov Vrh toward Kanomljica

View east from Vojsko

View north from Vojsko

Easy dirt climb to Oblako Vrh

Hard paved climb to Vojsko

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Monte Dolada

Another annual rite:  the climb of Monte Dolada. I rode to Vittorio Veneto and over Passo Fadalto.  After descending to Farra d'Alpago I rode a new approach to Pieve d'Alpago.  Seemed easier.  Then up to Plois and the climb to 1500 meters.  Very hard today, not sure why. I descended to the turn off for Schiucaz, a shortcut to Tambre.   Continued to Spert then down to the bridge and the short hard climb to Campon in Cansiglio.  Lots of vistors today, which is great because maybe they will help preserve this area.  Descended to Sarone them home.  Tired!

Monte Dolada ridgeline from the climb.

Looking down at Alpago conch

Campanile di Pieve d'Alpago above Lago Santa Croce

Monte Dolada

The climb to Tambre

Friday, July 22, 2016

Sella Chiampon

This is a beautiful local ride with several climbs to keep you in shape.  First you ride up Passo Monte Rest followed by descent to the Tagliamento.  Quite a hilly road from here to Priuso, where you join the main highway.  Shortly afterward you turn off for Socchieve and Preone.  Climbing out of Preone you reach a fork in the road, the right side of which I'd never explored.  Turns out pavement ends in about a km with an interesting gravel road continuing on.  Backtrack and then descend to Torrente Seazza.  The climb out from here used to give me nightmares but all this working out seems to be helping.  After Sella Chiampon I headed down Fiume Arzino, through San Francesco and Pielungo to Anduins.  I took the shortcut below Vito d'Asio marked Celante which bypasses the climb to Clauzetto.  From Travesio I took the usual route through Arba to Campagna and home.  Fun ride.

View west from Monte Rest descent

End of pavement on the unknown road I checked out today 

Torrente Seazza

From Val Preone: the gap I MTB'd through last year to Malga Pezzeit

View from Val Preone toward Sella Chiampon

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Barcis - Valle Friz

Rode up through Valcellina to Barcis and then headed up Valcaltea to Piancavallo.  Cool shady climb on a midsummer morning.  Next I passed through Piancavallo and began climbing up the road to Casera Campo and I Fanghi.  A few km later I stopped at end of pavement (actually pavement continues down to Mezzomonte but the road to Il Cansiglio turns to dirt).  Fantastic descent to Aviano  then home.

Peaks above Lago di Barcis

The normally-placid dam had its sluice gates wide-open this morning

Thundering cascade

The gorgeous hills at end of pavement

The flock keeping Valle Friz trimmed

First climb Barcis to Piancavallo

Second climb Piancavallo to I Fanghi

Sunday, July 17, 2016

5 Hills

5 local hills strung together to make a ride.  Rode to Travesio and headed up to Clauzetto.  Then I rode down to Pradis di Sotto and up again to Piani di Clauzetto.  From there down to Campone where I visited the water mill, and up again to Forchia Piccola.  That was the steepest part.

I descended to Meduno then crossed the river and rode west to Monte San Lorenzo.  Steeply down to Valcolvera and then through Poffabro to Pala Barzana.   I descended down to the tunnel connecting Barcis with Montereale then headed home.  Good ride.

View from above Clauzetto toward Monte Valinis

From descent to Campone looking west

Mulino at Campone (originally built in 1600)

View of the waterfall

View from mulino north toward Tamar 

Pastureland on descent from Forchia Piccola

Monte Raut from Monte San Lorenzo

View north from Pala Barzana descent

View west from Pala Barzana descent

Forchia Piccola climb

Friday, July 15, 2016


I drove to Merano near Bolzano and looked for a good starting point for this big climb.  Even at 0900 on a weekday the road was already quite crowded with cars and occasional tour buses so my plan to start in Merano fell through.  I headed upward in the car hoping once I passed some of the popular tourist villages things would quiet down.  I ended up miles above in St Leonhard, where it was calmer and eventually I found a spot where I could park.

Like the rest of Alto Adige this area is stunningly beautiful: steep mountainsides covered with fir trees, lush green pastures with bell-ringing cows, sheep, goats.  The residents are Austrian so everything is tidy and neat.  The weather was unusually cold for July, but felt good on the climb.  After an hour or so of climbing you leave the protection of the forest and head up a stack of exposed switchbacks.  Now the wind was too cold even with my exertion so I stopped and put on arm and leg warmers and wind vest.  That felt great and before long I reached the top, or rather the opening of the tunnel to Austria (2400 meters).  I decided not to ride through this 1 km tunnel (and back), as the wind was whipping up and even standing still in my descending gear I was freezing.

I rode back down carefully and was surprised by the number of riders I saw headed upward at midday- maybe 50?  I finally reached the car, frozen, shaking too hard to put the bike on the rack.  Eventually I thawed sufficiently and headed down, driving very slowly.  I think my brain freeze finally ended somewhere between Trento and the autostrada for Venice.   Must try this again, starting in Merano and riding into Austria.  Maybe autumn would be the best time?      

The forested mountains

Godforsaken windswept switchbacks

The top, with Austrian flag and tunnel

The climb

Monday, July 11, 2016

Via Regia - Mezzomiglio

Through Val Cellina, over Passo Osvaldo, down to the left bank of Piave River on Via Regia bike trail to Farra d'Alpago.  Up Mezzomiglio climb to the turn off on gravel road to il Cansiglio and Palughetto. Descend from La Crosetta to Sarone then home.

River descending from Vajont dam to the Piave

Muddy trail from Soverzene south

Yes, you walk your bike through this muddy tunnel

Cliffs above the trail

Farra d'Alpago Via Regia bikepath bridge

Bay on Lago Santa Croce (Monte Dolada in background)

Rowboat rental with Col Visentin in background

Death-climb up Mezzomiglio