Tuscany

In the heart of the Apennines with Selle Italia

Start

Pontremoli (MS)

Finish

Pontremoli (MS)

Distance

119 km

Total vertical climb

2.300 m

Maximum altitude

1.255 m (Passo del Cirone)

Difficulty

High

A challenging ride over 100 on the Apennine Ridge on the Tuscany-Emilia borders, with tough climbs and harsh environments. An excellent road test for the Max SLR Gel Flow by Selle Italia.

 

120 km in total, 2,300 m elevation, 3 tough climbs, almost 6 hours in the saddle: not an impossible feat but still a pretty challenging course, considering that for long stretches the asphalt is really bordering on dirt road quality.

We are in Lunigiana, in the heart of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. Two of us set out from Pontremoli (MS) towards Aulla and after 20 km we turn left following the signs for Passo del Lagastrello, the access pass between Tuscany and Emilia. Heading towards Tavarnelle, the real climb begins after a few kilometres and continues for about 11 km with 1,100 metres of elevation and an average slope of over 7%. The scenery is wild and picturesque: first through thick chestnut woods, then out into open terrain, the endless hairpin bends cutting through pastures and windswept heathland.

 

First steps

At the pass it’s freezing. Motorcyclists are pumped up with heavy jackets. We are in shorts and soaked in sweat, with just our rain capes. Colds after this for sure.

A descent that sends chills up your spine, in every sense. After 15 km we arrive at Monchio delle Corti, where the climb starts to Passo di Ticchiano, in Alta Val Parma. Nice scenery, very pleasant at the start with sheep and horses grazing, then it gradually gets more and more rugged and forested. The slopes aren’t too severe but suddenly we come to stretches getting up to 12%, on really difficult road surfaces: in these cases it’s as if the slope had increased by 3-4%. So they say.

A total of 7 km with 500 meters elevation. Another descent and the clock on the computer already says 4 hours-plus.

 

Good news from down below

The feeling is still great, and as far as I am concerned I am really satisfied with the signals from the saddle, the “historically delicate” point of contact with the bike. No problems, no numbness, no irritation, no abnormal pressure. The Max SLR Gel Flow by Selle Italia is behaving very well. Apart from the excellent vibration dampening system, cancelling out the hardships of rough asphalt, what I really appreciated in this model is the dense padding, distributed in all the right places.

In the first few kilometres it seem a bit harsh, but the feeling of comfort gradually increases over time. Indeed, keen cyclists are well aware that padding should be chosen according to the time spent in the saddle: softer cushioning is suitable for short outings, whereas trips over 2 hours need reduced thickness for maximum comfort. Just after 6 hours and the padding should be a bit more generous again.

 

The last push

After fifteen kilometres tortuous enough to make your head spin, we get to Corniglio (PR) and the last tough challenge of the day: the Passo del Cirone, the highest point on the route (1,255 m) and the road that will set us on our way back to Tuscany.

12 km and 600 m elevation, average slope 4%, but with a few gravel stretches at 8-9% where it is difficult to ride because of rear wheel slippage on the gravel.

Just grit our teeth and somehow we’ll make it. Fatigue has now set in, but fortunately we can see Magra valley down below, our parched throats ready for that well-earned beer.

Summary
In the heart of the Apennines with Selle Italia | Discover Italy with Selle Italia
Article Name
In the heart of the Apennines with Selle Italia | Discover Italy with Selle Italia
Description
A challenging ride over 100 on the Apennine Ridge on the Tuscany-Emilia borders, with tough climbs and harsh environments. An excellent road test for the Max SLR Gel Flow by Selle Italia.
Author
Publisher Name
Selle Italia
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