Friday, December 16, 2016

Troi dei Mui

Today's ride is also a hike.  I had previously attempted it from the opposite direction  but turned around when the dirt road turned into trail.  That was less problem today with Fedaia's 28mm tires and disc brakes.  

I started by climbing the classic Val di Croda from Dardago up to end of pavement at 585 meters.  I then rolled back down to the trailhead at 557 meters.  I picked my bike up and heard panting, turned around and a gigantic black Newfoundland strolled up.  His owner soon appeared and they headed up the trail first.  Then I climbed up the nearly vertical stairs and headed onto the ascending trail.  This section I had hiked previously (pushing a MTB) but my objective then was to the north  .

Today I continued climbing, pushing Fedaia to the south till 734 meters.  The trail levels off here with lovely views of Croda di San Tome.  Someone with cyclocross handling skills could probably ride this section but I continued walking.  Suddenly the trail veered away from the cliff and I had the feeling I'd been here before.  I was certain this was where I'd turned around back in 2013.  I began riding brief stretches and before long I was on the dirt road.  This was excellent riding and later it turned  to asphalt.  A few minutes later still  I joined the road down to Mezzomonte cemetery.

The descent was cold and fast and I rode all the way home without thawing out.  Wonderful ride.    

Trail to the right goes to Val di Lama
and trail to left goes to Mezzomonte 

Gorgeous view  of Croda di San Tome

The hiking part

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Sella Chianzutan

Got a late start so drove to Lestans and rode from there.  The gorge of Torrente Arzino is one of my favorite places in Friuli, and today I rode almost the full length of it.  I was lucky to get some warm sun along the way, though many stretches are in perpetual shade and stay frosted over.  After you turn away from the Arzino toward the Sella you ride through a gorgeous forest of big beech trees (faggio) similar to Pizzoc.  The pass is grassland, hopefully snowy soon but today bare.

The descent was great fun with Fedaia's disc brakes and intuitive handling.  The 28mm  tires were smooth riding and never slipped, even on the frosty bits.  Wonderful ride.   

On the switchbacks below Anduins

View north from the pass toward Tolmezzo

Beautiful autumn grassland of the Sella

The climb from Rio Rugoni landslide to the Sella

Thursday, December 8, 2016


I wasn't sure how high I could go but I was hoping to reach Casera Casavento, near the dinosaur footprint.  As it turned out I was freezing even with 3 thermal layers on top.  I tried standing on every little hill, pushing harder than I usually would, but I was frozen.  So I kept going and decided I would turn around at noon regardless how far I rode.  I made it to Claut and then down the road toward Lesis.  My drop dead time arrived so I stopped and took some photos on the little bridge across Torrente Cellina at Mattan, then headed home.  It's mostly downhill so I just put my head down and gutted it out.  Very happy to come home and jump in a hot bath. 

The snowy peak in background is Col Nudo

The view toward Passo di San Osvaldo

Gorgeous Val Cimoliana peaks  

Panned a bit more to northwest

Water vapor crystals on Torrente Cellina bridge 

Another view

Torrente Cellina flowing west

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Monte Rest

Again today I visited a favorite pass before the the snow arrives.  The approach through Val Meduna was quite shady and chilly.   At the the top of Lago di Redona the road begins ascending steeply giving me a chance to warm a little.   Finally above Tramonti di Sopra the saliscendi  ends and the climb starts for real.  Beautiful tornanti, streams, trees, rocky cliffs make this climb very special.  Saw a couple of deer and a hiker, otherwise deserted.  

On the descent I froze again and never really thawed.  Instead of feeling dopey from the hypothermia today I felt exceedingly calm.  Quite pleasant actually.  A wonderful ride.

Near the pass 

Close up of a pinnacle on the cliff face

Good workout

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Pala Barzana

Cold morning but I needed to get a ride in before Marilyn went to the urne (poll) to vote.  I headed up through Valcolvera  to Poffabro and then over Pala Barzana.  Saw a little animal with ring pattern in its fur running through the woods.  UPDATE:  I looked through my Mammiferi Friulane  and it was a lynx.  Very cool to see one in broad daylight.  I've heard one once before on climb to  Pian delle Femene in Veneto.

Very cold on the descent: I think I needed a thicker underlayer.  The 4km tunnel was slightly less frigid.  Got home and was a bit hypothermic, felt even dopier than usual until I got a nice hot bath.  Fun ride.

Preview of Monte Raut from  Valcolvera

Chiesa di San Nicolo at Poffabro ( San Nicolo was nowhere
to be found- maybe busy loading the sleigh for Christmas Eve)

Piazza Poffabro

Mountains above Andreis

Valley fog north of Bosplans

Foggy valley stretching toward Barcis

Good climb

Friday, December 2, 2016


There are 4 paved routes to Piancavallo and this is one of my favorites.  It starts at Costa, about 6 km from home.  Almost immediately it gets steep and zigzags past Madonna del Monte and then coasts down to the washed out Torrente Ossena crossing.  You need to walk a few yards at the frane then remount.  From here kilometers of solitude switchbacking up the forested slope to Rifugio Bornass.  You join the main highway to the ski resort for a few kilometers up to the antenna farm at Castaldia.  Here you turn onto the narrow lane to Collalto, probably the best scenery on the ride.  

On the descent I prefer the main highway, which is better paved and switchbacked.  It's very fun despite the cold, and Fedaia's stable handling was confidence-inspiring.  Great workout.  

Beautiful gorge above Val de Croda with gravel switchbacks of
Venezia della Neve road 

Slovenian peaks seem to float on sea of clouds

Good climb