The climb of Cervara and the Laga Mountains
A very demanding route, during which we will face one of the hardest climbs in the whole region: Cervara of Ascoli Piceno, located in the Laga Mountains. First, however, we will travel almost 70 km of never flat roads with breathtaking views of Mount Ascensione and the Sibillini ridge.
|Estimated elevation gain what’s that?
|GPX track tutorial
|Costa dei Guai (Villa Curti-Venarotta-Bivio Palmiano)
|Croce di Casale from Comunanza
|Cervara from SP207 Vecchia Salaria
I set the starting point in Mozzano, near Ascoli Piceno, at the bridge over the Tronto river. First of all because it is easily accessible, given that near this inhabited center the new SS4 Salaria flows into the old road. Furthermore, given the difficulty of the route, I wanted to give the possibility of a less demanding alternative: starting from the center of Ascoli and going along the old Salaria to Mozzano you can go to climb the Cervara climb directly and go back following the present route; in this case the total kilometers will be about 60 and Cervara will be the only climb to face.
With the traced route, I also wanted to include the beautiful Costa dei Guai and the climb of Croce di Casale, two of the most scenic roads in the area, which will be a “worthy starter” for the “main course” of the day: the infamous Cervara climb. We start with a few kilometers of warming up along the old Salaria up to Ascoli Piceno, more precisely at Borgo Solestà, where we take the ramp for Venarotta-Force. The road starts to climb with absolutely non-prohibitive slopes towards Villa Curti, where it flattens, before starting the first effort of the day: the climb of Costa dei Guai. It would begin at the crossroads for Cerreto after Venarotta, where the tight hairpin bends (that probably give the name to the road) begin, but for convenience I wanted to call it the whole climb.
As can be seen from the altimetry, up to Venarotta the climb is not absolutely demanding, to increase in difficulty after this inhabited center, but not in a constant way. The slopes never exceed 10% and the very tight hairpin bends follow one another in a series that seems endless.
After the fork for Palmiano the road becomes flat and the view opens up. On the right the Mount Ascensione, with the most suggestive side, and the steep valleys with the characteristic badlands. On the left the Sibillini mountains in all their beauty and majesty. We continue with small ramps and restful descents, before the last effort, a climb of a kilometer and a half that leads us to the pass of Monte La Torre. Here another landscape opens up. The village of Force, the coppersmith’s village, appears as if by magic and seems to be waiting for us as we descend at high speed. You can also see the profile of Montefalcone Appennino, on the other side of the Aso valley.
A sharp left (Attention!) and you face the descent of Villa Pera for Comunanza. Along the descent one cannot help but admire the skyline of Mount Vettore and Mount Sibilla, behind the hills with cultivated fields. In the summer, the sunflowers at the roadside are a real sight with their yellow against the blue sky. We pedal for a few kilometers on the bottom of the Aso river valley and reach the crossroads for Croce di Casale.
The climb is not particularly demanding and you can arrive without difficulty at the Croce di Casale pass. Once this was a very busy road, but with the opening of the variant and its tunnels cars can avoid this stretch of road full of curves. So this road has become a real paradise for cyclists, in particular, the Roccafluvione side, which we face downhill here and which we will go uphill on another occasion. We reach Roccafluvione and continue downhill practically up to the SS4 Salaria. Being very careful, we cross the main road and exit immediately taking the old Salaria, for Taverna di Mezzo. We now have two and a half kilometers of an almost flat road at the bottom of the valley, slightly uphill, with an almost uneven surface.
The ascent of Cervara begins practically immediately after turning left from the old Salaria road following the indication for Cervara-San Gregorio. By observing the altimetry, you can immediately get an idea of the difficulty of this climb. Initially we have almost 3 km with an average gradient of over 10%, in which peaks of 14%, but also 15% are reached often and not for a few meters. At the end of the first hard stretch, the view opens onto the spectacular Laga Mountains and the narrow road cut into the sandstone takes on the appearance of a terrace. Suffering temporarily leaves room for wonder. Before the inhabited center of Colloto, the slope becomes gentler, but then return to double digits several times and for not negligible distances.
After Cervara the view also opens on the right. The segment that begins at km 7.7 is particularly hard. It is practically a long straight, almost one kilometer long, with a constantly double-digit slope, characterized by a beautiful view of the Sibillini mountains, with Mount Vettore in the foreground with Forca di Presta and behind Mount Sibilla. Then the road flattens and we reach the the ridge, with an open view on both sides. We are in the middle of green meadows. We breathe and enjoy the view until the pass.
The downhill is regenerating. We descend alongside a small valley with beautiful green meadows. The road is lined with trees, but at certain points the view opens. We find stacks of logs and freshly cut wood. Towards the end of September or the beginning of October, the colors are wonderful and the beauty of nature repays the effort made.
A kilometer of not much easy ascent, with a couple of hairpin bends, then we reach the pass of San Paolo. A long restoring and panoramic descent begins. The road surface is good enough and the gradient is gentle. We don’t brake and pedal almost no more until the beautiful village of Ponte d’Arli. Then we always follow the Old Salaria road, to the starting point.
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