Now we are getting serious with over 5 hours on the saddle and a long tiring climb in the middle. This was one of my 3-round preparation rides for IM Nice and one of the challenges was nutrition: the consumption it’s nearly 5000 calories thus the need on keep refueling the body every 30-45’. It starts from the valley road cause I wanted to exactly replicate the race profile and the long warm up gets you to Borgo a Mozzano (towards Lucca) then backwards to Castelnuovo, so it goes the first hour and 30+ km of ride. From Castelnuovo we turn left up instead of entering the city to climb the Monte Perpoli ascent from the Northern side: short (2-2.5 km) but intense, between 8-10%. Down to the valley on the winding road, opposite direction of the first climb of Track 1 and again heading to Barga. From the bottom lowest point this next segment is roughly 19 km long, with an initial easy 4% part (6 km), followed by a slightly tougher section at 5% (6 km) to finish strong at 7% for another 7 km. Overall the climb is never extreme but lasts around 1:20’-1:30’ and it can become demanding if under estimated or if you forget to eat and drink while going up. Past Barga you’ll be embedded in the typical Tuscany vegetation, riding “solitaire” barely crossing anybody or any car. Renaio is over 1000 mt high so the total ascent is around 900 mt with increasing steeper slopes. From there you can go back to Barga from the same direction or by taking the narrow track that merges to the main road just before the town; be careful if you choose this option cause the tarmac is not in perfect conditions. During my ride I added another 50 km of semi-flat profile by going up and down the valley road at easy pace. Plenty of water stations, bars and coffee shops anywhere except past Barga where everything becomes definitely wilder. I recommend using the small front gear in the long climb because, although the first 10-12 km are never too demanding, I believe there is no need to overload the legs and had to pay the consequences when they are needed most. Other than that, like I said, planning the nutritional schedule is as important as push the pedals. Ride hard and enjoy it.
Round robin Gallicano-Borgo a Mozzano-Castelnuovo-Barga-Renaio-Castelnuovo-Calavorno-Gallicano
Distance: 140 km
Elevation: 1729 m