We are heading into the heart of Dinaric massive, deep into the forests, one of the most mistic places in our Slovenian country, the Kolpa river gorge. Heavy forested land with more than 80% forest coverage, with brown bear, wolf and lynx population present, is perhaps the most neglected cycling area in our land.
Medio fondo Costella is relatively easy ride for the first half of course. It will be possible to ride in a big bunch for first 57km for majority in the group. And for more experienced riders drafting the group for first 65km, until main climb of the day, shouldn’t be a problem either. The start of the fondo is high on a plateau, aprox. 250vm above Kolpa river walley. First 15km are slightly uphill with few shallow drags, which might be a bit too much for weaker riders, but generaly most should be able to survive and stick with the blob until long descent into Kolpa gorge. Once we hit the bottom of the gorge, the road follows the river upstream and is twisty but mostly flat for almost 40km. However, there is a smal but very nasty drag somewhere around 57km where road doesn’t follow the river but does a short steep ascent to crest the natural bottle neck obstacle in the gorge. For the strongest riders, these first 65km won’t be hard at all, exept for the concentration on long descends to not loose the draft of the blob and fall of due lack of concentration. Everything else will be easy. Then comes the main objective of the day, Strma reber climb.
This climb is unbelivable scenic and is a real beast. About 30min long climb for 5wkg riders, is increasingly steep as it progres up the hill. In the middle part it is relentless for few kilometers with gradients constantly around 12% and more. This one is for pure climbers. They will enjoy it. And they can build minutes to less capable or heavier riders. And they will need those minutes for good, since it’s still fair amount of distance to cover until the end and heavier riders might find their mojo there to catch back escapee’s if the gap won’t be large enough.
It is expected for the fastest riders to cover the fondo in ~3h. For a bit slower riders there might be 3h30 or even 4h needed to complete the full ride.
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