8) Valico della Crocetta
In 12 kilometres the road climbs 549 metres in height and can be divided into three main stages. The first includes 2.4 extremely challenging kilometres that must be cycled using very low gears (we suggest 39/28 in.). It then continues for 2.5 kilometres through a series of climbs and descents in and out of the forest. Finally, in the last 4.5 kilometre stretch the road climbs fairly regularly and mainly through the forest: here we suggest 39/23 inch gears. The road surface is all right and the traffic scarce. One water fountain can be found 2 kilometres from the start (but it is on a slope and often dry), and another in Mangona. The average time it takes an amateur cyclist goes from 40 to 50 minutes, while an excursionist may take from 1 hour to 1’15”.
The tour leaves Barberino di Mugello and runs for 1.5 kilometres along the road that goes to the Futa Pass. It then turns left towards Montepiano. The road narrows but it remains level and we continue past the Stura river.
Once past the bridge that crosses the Torrente Aglio (2.7 km), we reach the ascent. It’s immediately challenging with gradients of about 10%, which decrease slightly near the underpass of the Autostrada del Sole motorway, but rise sharply again. From 3.5 to 4.7 kilometres from the start of the tour the slopes are extremely difficult (touching gradients of 15-16%) and therefore require great strength and low gears. At 5.1 kilometres the road finally levels, and 200 metres later it dips for a stretch.
Two kilometres of climbs and descents follow until we reach the town of Mangona (7.5 km, 500 m.a.s.l.). From here the road starts to climb again. This time the climb is regular with slopes that are less challenging (average gradient of 7.7%) until we reach the road sign that states the confines of the province (10.7 km). Here the climb becomes more gentle (4-5%) and once through the thick but small forest we finally reach Valico della Crocette (12 km) at 817 metres above sea level. Three more kilometres of descent take us to Montepiano.