I drove past the Grifoni Riserve at Lago Cornino to Alesso, west of Lago di Cavazzo. I parked, got on my bike and turned left onto the narrow road marked loc. Armentaria. It starts climbing steeply immediately: 3.5 km averaging 12.6%, at times reaching 20%. The pavement ends and a nice gravel road continues gradually rising. There's a great lookout point with 300 degree panorama at 7.5 km: tree-covered mountains in all directions. This valley is almost completely undeveloped, with only a handful of houses on thousands of acres.
The gravel road ascends to Forchia Armentaria at 800 meters. Here you take the right fork and begin descending. The loose gravel isn't too bad when descending, and they've concreted/asphalted some of the worst sections. This descent continues to around 480 meters, with some saliscendi to keep you from getting complacent. After crossing Torrente Palar you ascend steeply upward again, till Stavoli Palar around 520 meters. Like me, a friendly Italian MTBer was concerned with the disparity between the map and the actual road, but we both made it eventually.
The climbout is another killer, 2.3 km averaging 12.3% with points of 18.5%, about half of it on gravel. I'm omitting the saliscendi ascent because it's too complicated to calculate. Once you make it to Forchia Armentaria it's a fun ride from then on.
I want to come back here and try a dirt road that heads up to Monte Flagjel around 1300 meters. Also another looks like it connects with Valarzino near San Franceso. Splendid area for riding.
|Start of the climb in Alesso|
|Monte Chiadins to west 1051 meters|
|Northwest Monte Piombada, 1744 meters|
|Close up Piombada|
|View down Valle di Palar toward Alesso; |
left, Monte San Simeone, 1505 meters
|Close up Alesso|
|Downstream Torrente Palar|
|Toward headwaters of Torrente Palar|