Day 15: Sunday, July 12, 2020
Levanto to Salsomaggiore Terme via Borgo Val di Taro (and Parma)
144 km, 1650 m of climbing

detail berg T15

Well rested riders will be eager for a moderate day in the mountains. Instead of riding about 70 km to Borgo Val di Taro, I have opted to add another 70 km to the day, which will generally be downhill. This way, the planning for the following days will be somewhat easier.
Crossing the Apennin range could possibly be more spectacular in other places, but this is a nice one, without doubt.

As you can see from the elevation profile, you pay for the rest day in Levanto with a 400 m climb up from sea level over the first 8 km, half of which you will lose over the following 8 km, only to be climbing 900 m or so up again. The high point of the day, Passo di Centocroci (pass of the 100 crosses, which has a little rest area to the left of the road where we can celebrate the ascent) almost 1100 m will be reached at about 50 km — which means we will quickly climb from sea level to 1060 m near Monte Foppo, crossing into Emilia Romagna  the map on the right has that part of the climb up, beyond the town of Varese. This will be the hard part; the rest is downhill.

I have ridden this route extensively on Google Street View; SP523 is small but the pavment is ok, it is often shaded with occasional grand views — should be a pure pleasure to ride if it wasn’t for all that climbing. At the bottom of this page is a picture from my virtual ride up there.

Over the following 14 km the route drops 600 m until we reach the river Taro, which the route follows downstream for much of the remaining distance. When we leave the river at about 120 km into the ride, we will have dropped another 300 m.

You may want to stop for refreshments or lunch at our original destination, Borgo Val di Taro, 70 km into the ride. The afternoon should be an easy ride with some minor hills or rollers. We will be crossing some small towns by the river, so food and drinks should not be a problem.

The road leads to Parma, but the city offers no camping. Therefore we will ride on some 15 km (actually, the track does not touch Parma — but you may choose to dip into town off the track).

Accommodation:
Camping Arizona
Via Tabiano, 42/A - 43039 Salsomaggiore Terme - Tabiano (PR)
Tel. +39 0524 565648
Email: info@camping-arizona.it 

© Josef Janning 2019