Sunday, June 18, 2017

Zoncolan via Priola (almost)

The usual paved routes up Monte Zoncolan are from Sutrio and Ovaro.  Today I'm trying the less-used route from Priola.  I tried to find it last year and missed the turn, plus I later read the road was closed for repairs.  But luckily this time I found the road, and the repair work being done was no problem for a bike to circumvent.

This road is definitely steeper than the beautifully switch-backed highway from Sutrio.  I'm not sure it's comparable to the Ovaro-Zoncolan classic but it's pretty darn steep.  In fact my original intention was to reach the top, but by the time I reached the road coming up from the ski resort I was done.  I stopped to pant and guzzle Gatorade at Rifugio Cocul, then turned around and rode down the same way.  This time I could stop and enjoy all the wild gorgeous scenery up here.  I met only four mountain bikers climbing as I descended, looking stunned to see a road bike up here.

This is definitely a ride I want to repeat next year; maybe I'll be able to reach the top by then.

A rare opening in the dense fir-covered slopes
revealing mountains to the east

Just above Priola, meadows with goats, asini, and tame deer

Another view of mountains surrounding Priola 

Steep, with no flat spots

Close up of the climb (purple line)

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