Although the climb is not terribly demanding (average gradient of 4.4%), it must be run with due respect given the distance (16.5 km), the height (720 metres, more than any other route described), and also because the second part of the tour regularly presents gradients of more than 5.5-6%. The road surface is in good condition in the first part of the excursion and acceptable in the second. Traffic is normally scarce except on Sundays in summer. The climb is rather shady and there are numerous places to refill water-bottles. We suggest 39/17-19 inch gears for the first nine kilometres and 39/21-23 in. for the second part. The average time it takes an amateur cyclist goes from 55 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes, while an excursionist may take from 1’20” to 1’35”.
Borgo San Lorenzo. From the ring road, (viale IV novembre), we take state road S.S. 302, Brisighellese – Ravennate towards Faenza along the “100 chilometri del Passatore” route, which is a traditional marathon held every year in June.The climb starts in
Apart from the initial climb that has a gradient of 5-6%, the first few kilometres are easy going and we can admire the typical landscape of the Mugello countryside with its wheat fields and grazing animals. Once past the hamlet of Panicaglia (3.7 km, water fountain on the right) we travel towards Ronta.
As we approach Ronta (7.3 km, traditional climatic station of Mugello) the road starts to climb (3-4%) but then levels towards the centre of the town. Outside the town (water fountain on the left) the road starts to climb again – steeper this time – and then to dip towards Madonna dei Tre Fiumi (8.7 km; 410 above sea level) where we find the sanctuary by the same name.
At this point things start to get serious and for the next eight kilometres we won’t have much of a chance to “catch our breath”. We cycle through the narrow Ensa River valley, through the shade and airiness, even on hot summer days, of the forest. The gradient remains for the most part constant at 5-7% until we reach Razzuolo (12.5 km, 635 metres above sea level) and the road levels for a few hundred metres (fountain on the right) until it leaves the town and starts to climb rather steeply again near the cemetery, (700-800 metres at a gradient of 9-10%).
The road now climbs regularly at a rate of 6-7% and remains so almost all the way to the pass. One kilometre short of reaching the pass we come to Fonte dell’Alpe, a natural spring that is among the freshest and most abundant in this part of the Apennines. At this point, for approximately 500 metres, the road ascends more gently before coming to the last steep stretch that leads to Passo della Colla di Casaglia (16.5 km, and 913 above sea level) where we find a restaurant-bar that serves numerous motorcyclists in summer.
Moving down the road for 18 or so kilometres, we reach Marradi. From here we can cycle back to Borgo San Lorenzo by way of the Passo dell’Eremo and the Muraglione (100 km, go to route 5, alternative route 2), or by way of Palazzuolo sul Senio and the Sambuca Pass (82k km). Both routes are enchanting although somewhat demanding.