Sunday, October 15, 2017


We're enjoying Indian Summer, or l'estate di San Martino as they call it here, so  I seized the opportunity to climb some passes along the Slovene border.  I started from Chiusaforte and climbed through Val Raccolana to Passo di Selle Nevea (1195 meters).  Startled to see a couple MTBing up this pass with their well-trained dog trotting alongside their bikes on a lead.

Now you descend steeply down to Lago del Predil then climb up to the Slovene border at Passo del Predil (1160 meters).  Some interesting fortresses here from the Austria vs Napoleon war in early 1800s.

After a long descent you end up at Kluze fortress from the same period, and finally the Soca River.  This begins the longest part of the ride: beautiful scenery with saliscendi stepwise rising to 600 meters.
It just seemed long because I kept anticipating the main event: the climb to Passo di Vrsic.  Eventually I reached the start of the pass, with a 49 tornanti sign.  Slovenia adds both sides of the pass together, so the climb from the south really had only 20 switchbacks or so.

After about 4 tornanti I pulled over, stripped off my long sleeve jersey and winter tights, then proceeded in bike shorts only.  Either that or heat stroke, I was in survival mode.  I managed to reach the pass without stopping at 1603 meters.  It was quite crowded with tourists taking advantage of the warm weather.  The descent was easier of course but quite torn up with construction.  This older road was built by Russian prisoners in WW I with cobblestone pavement.  Slovenia is preserving this history, which I admire and accept the added maintenance delays.

Finally I reached Kranskja Gora and turned toward Italy.  This is another interminable road which mercifully leads to the Alpe Adria bikeway at Tarvisio, built on the roadbed of a disused railway.  So wonderful riding with only other bikers and walkers away from the traffic.  This peaceful path continues to Pontebba and on to Grado on the Adriatico, but today I was tired and took a shortcut on SS13 after Ugovizza.  So relieved to reach the car again at Chiusaforte, stanco di morte.

View from Selle Nevea toward the north

From Sella Nevea looking south

Mangart from near Lago del Predil

Golden trees at Vrsic

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Vrsic climb

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