August 2022

View on Mangart

There has been a bit of a buildup of miscellaneous, non-Carinthian trips lately, so a little break in rides and trips to describe here. And then I finally got a new road machine, which also had to wait a little while to be retrofitted, until finally we could hit the road.

This route goes a bit beyond Carinthia, but since part of the pleasure of living in Villach is that Italy and Slovenia are around the corner, I would visit them more often,

Sella Nevea is a place that until now meant absolutely nothing to me, and frankly, it is still so, maybe with a little exception that you can do a reasonably reasonable road loop there. However, as I found out, it is a good starting point for Kanin, one of the higher (2582m) and more interesting mountains in the area.

Tiny village ahead of Tarvisio

My standard route to Italy is via Arnoldstein, along the southern slope of the Dobrtasch mountain, then with a turn south to Tarvisio, exactly the same route I described as the best bike route. Just before entering the city, it bounces back towards Bovec / Sella Nevea, where it gets much more serious when it comes to climbing.

Lago di Perdil

Some 10km later and after an ascent of about 250m, one reaches the lovely little lake Lago di Predil. Here the road splits again: to the left and up it goes towards the Slovenian border, to Bovec or further to Mangart, and straight on just to Sella Nevea.

The road still undulates, a little up, a little down as if it can’t decide when to start climbing, until finally the moment comes where it’s clear that you need to get to work.

It was a weekend, so a lot of motorcycles and cars, but it was somehow not particularly disturbing. And then again a climb of about 250m ,but over a distance of less than 5km. Not a very difficult climb, but it gives you a bit of a burn.

Serpentyny na wjeździe

At the top, there is a ski resort, a gondola to Kanin and in general a lot going on: there are hotels, guesthouses, etc. And further down – the route down.

Some hotels on the top

At the beginning very steep, full of serpentines and amazing views, a few tunnels and views again. I had a hard time photographing them, because you have to keep your hands on the brakes, and there’s not much way to stop, because the road is narrow and busy. After another 5km downhill, the gradient drops a bit, but I still admired those in the opposite direction, from Chiusaforte, because from there it really gives you a blast: 17km uphill with an elevation gain of 700m, with the last few being almost 10%. I’ll try it later, especially since a slower pace will be conducive to admiring the views: waterfalls, escarpments, etc.

Steepy to Chiusaforte
Repepelt waterfall

Finally, the aching wrists could rest and one enters Chiusaforte. This town is located on the Alpe Adria bicycle route, and as such is equipped with several eating establishments that are open all the time, which is not at all so obvious in Italy.

Crazy restaurant dal Vito

I ended up in a place so Italian that I don’t think it could get any more so. The waiters and waitresses completely randomly chose the tables they approached, the menu was sometimes available, so not everyone could get it. Fortunatelythe waitress had written down what for today.on a crumpled piece of paper. As soon as I finished eating my pasta, they brought me another, telling me that I had just ordered that, but I couldn’t get my drink at all. The waiters were also trying to organize the space around them: they were telling who could put their bikes where, because a little earlier they had blocked access to the rack with an extra table, which no one wanted to use because it stood between the bikes. In the end, in order to pay, one had to enter the bar, where the cash register was breaking down, and the guessing of what who ordered and how much to pay was done on the basis of the waitresses’ notes, which were dropped into the compartments of the box with the table numbers – needless to say, not the right ones – and the testimony of the waitresses and the objections of the customers. 10 minutes of standing in line. Italians!

The food was ok though.

Having rested and amused by the observation of the Italian organization, I took the road back; I knew it because I had already driven it several times in the opposite direction. However, I didn’t expect that it would give me such a hard time.

The views seemingly familiar, but in the other direction different. Different lights, different lookings ahead.

Old rail bridge on the way
Between Chiusaforte and Pontebba

And the ride itself? Seemingly such 2-3% gradients, seemingly such slight hills. Yet without exception, permanently and relentlessly for 25km. In addition, the new bike has a different shape of the seat, kneaded me more than usual, baked my butt and baked my calves. A torture of sorts.

Resting place with pumptrack

I guess I deserved a short recovery stop, with a delicious beer whose name I did not recognize, and on to Tarvisio, because just before, as I remembered, it was already downhill. Phew, what a relief.

The whole route is 130km and 1500m of elevation gain in less than 5 and a half hours. Nice, although more difficult than it looks on the map

Route picture taken from