San Pelegrino in Alpe s(u)

This point is a short distance above Passo di Radici. But traversing this summit point is a much different experience. Only from here do you get a monumental view of the Alpi Apuani (which are not part of the alps, or geologically speaking of the Apennin mountains for that matter). From the vantage point of this summit they actually seem not that high but still very vertical.

The other outstanding memory I got from crossing this summit, is the unusually steep direct approach from Castelnuovo, guaranteed to wear out break pads on a loaded touring bike downhill, or make you push uphill. I did the first, and met a brave mother and daughter team from Boston, trying to get their fully loaded mechanical donkeys to the town San Pelegrino before it got dark. The mother was leading the race by a few hundred meters, as I passed with screeching brakes in the other direction. Even walking, this is a substantial workout, just a different kind of workout. Apparently the names "Passo di Lagadello" and "Passo de Pradaccio" are also used for the summit by some.

There is also a Passo San Pelegrino in the alps. Both are named after the same person who is said to have died in this village. He is not a saint according to the catholic church. But some localities don't seem to be bothered by this.

1.(550m,00.0km) START-END EAST ALT: low point on Via Vaglio below Montecreto
2.(700m,07.4km) Riolunato
3.(790m,12.0km) START-END EAST: Pievepelago
4.(1510m,28.4km) route turns left on Passo delle Radici
5.(1600m,27.8km) TOP: San Pelegrino s(u)
6.(1510m,29.6km) San Pelegrino
7.(383m,43.2km) START-END WEST: Castelnuovo Di Garfagnana; profile turns left
8.(105m,105.0km) START-END WEST ALT: Borgo a Mozzano

Approaches

From East.
There are three different ways to get to the top of Passo delle Radici. I profiled the one I took, It's a pleasant curving road, backgrounded by gentle but ever higher Apennin mountains, still with veins of snow in late May. At the top of Radici is an Albergo, a few ski lift artifacts that may still work, but seem quaint and pleasant in today's world of industrial quadchair skier mass transportation.

A narrow straight road climbs noticeable steeper along a sheer curtain of trees, behind which the high snowy mountains approach eye level ever more. Then the road suddenly turns east, and shortly after that presents a stunning panorama of a steeply falling landscape, with one more wall between here and the sea, the Apuani Alps.

From West.

(described downwards) The quickly descending road quickly reaches a favorite scenic spot. This is a place, where one can observe otherwise quite conservative looking people take "selfies", using the cameras on full sized laptop tablet computers with the scenery in the background. If it makes you do that, it has to be unusual. But this spot is better in early morning light.


Leaving the scenic ridge behind, the road quickly touches an entry spot into the town. But from the road there are no points from where this town is easily visible, at least I did not see any. But at the summit, tourists congregated on a low ridge next to the road to the north. My guess is they were there for a reason. As for my own situation, time was getting very short to complete the loop in daylight. So I didn't check it out.

This descent is amazingly steep. Regular sets of ramps switch off with longer ridgeline traverses. There are fine views of the Apuani Alps, but they are better in morning light and look like a paper cutout in my case. Also, looking back San Pelegrino is hard to find. The mountain road descend ends in Castelnuovo de Garfagagno, which may make up for having missed the details of San Pelegrino. The profile continues down valley along the Serchio River to Borgo in Garfagagna on the west side of the river. This is a busy road with a good shoulder, a sort of commute to get home from the good part of the ride. The upper part of the road on the east side of the river seems to be closed to bicycles.

The descend really ends at point 7. I included the ride down the valley on the west side of the river Serchio. The other side has less traffic, but is longer and more hilly.

A dayride with this point as intermediate summit is on page: Foce a Giovo

History: After dragging a bicycle up or down these steep switchbacks on the direct approach, you would never guess that the route is part of an old historic road, the Via Vandelli, which was built in the 18th century bettween Modena and Massa-Carrad on the coast. But builder Domenico Vandelli chose to make the road very steep (yes he did!), and the usability suffered because of that. The biggest crossing of the Via Vandelli is a hiking route today, Passo Tambura in the Alpi  Apuani mountains.

 



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