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  • Abruzo Cescastina to Altovia!

    Cesacastina in Terarno Province is down a narrow, road which branches oh National Route number 80 that runs between [Aquila and Teramo. The iunction is at kilometra 54 on the National Route; Cesacastina is 9,3 km down tlw narrow road. The bike route begins with a moderate climb along a dirt road which starts at the edge ofthe villageztmd

    leads up to the surrounding moun- tains The cyclist enters a pristine envtronment rich in water and plant ltle. All around are dense woods and great meadows where flocks graze. A myriad of little streams, rills and small cascades are encountered along the wa? and are accompanied by the corr stant sound of cuckoo birds and the continuous wheeling overhead

    of hawks. Hitters. nomic skiers. alpinists me mormam tra;. ers are drawn here by the wildness and unspoilt nature el the area drscoverable along the Loge Mo¤ntains' many dle paths and unpaved roads. These are - and it is to be hoped will remain - closed to all forms of rnotorised lraltic. But back to the mountain biking and the route lust begun. At a point 2.2 km on from the start, whorethere is a splen- did green meadow [altitude 1,350 ml. the road The fork to the left goes down to a bridge over a stream, than climbs and plunges imo deep woods. The cyclist, however, takes the fork to the right, encountering an uphill stretch which can he managed pedalling all the way and that car· ries steadily higher, reaching 1,500 m at the Mon point and 1,500 m at the 5·lrm mark. A stream and a small waterfall are sen at this point. lmmediately beyond, at Prati della Macchia, the biker comes upon a derelict hut made ol ce- ment blocks. Another torrent and another spectacular cas- cade is at the 5.5 km mark laltitude 1,700 ml. A part over level ground comes next and is followed by a gentle down- hill stretch as lar as a font in the road near a refuge hut in cement blocks and a yellow sign that gives the times need- ed for excursions on the trails to Mt. Gorzano {2,455 m. 2 hrs. and 30 minutesl. Pizzo di Moscio l2,4l1 m, 3 hrsand 30 minutes} and Pizzo di Sevo {2,422 m, 4 hrs. and 30 minutcsl.

    to the source of theTort!i- no 11.800 m, 1 hr.}, to Fi- umata Refuge Hutl1,?U{] m, 1 hr,] and to the refuge hut on Mt. Peloni {1,750 m, 1 hr]. The biker might well con- sider the option of cyciing upto the fork in the road from one ofthe isolated hamieis on the slopes of the Lago Mountains, us~ ing the reiuge hut as a base and then continuing

    on toot up one of the trails. Besides the seductiveness of the natural beauty there is the strong appeal of the old abandoned harnlets; these are now being rebuilt. The en- counters them on the way down along the unpaved road to the right. After a mils down- hill ride that continues for 8 km amid fields and woods, in the distance suddenly appears what seems a miniature creche set up against a mountain bu-twhat is really a littlegroop of very old houses in a stone, evidently local, of a reddish colour. This is Altovia - 15.5 lim lfftm the starting point, altitude 1,200 rn - easily reached by going left at a fork elmo U18 route onto another easy-to—ride, unpaved road that slopes slightly downward. Alter the visit to Altovia, the mountain biker retums up the approximately 2 km of unpaved road, continues the ride back down that was briefly interrupted for the side trip, and 19.5 km from the starting point comes to the end of the dirt road, ncwat altitude 1,t20m. and so comes onto a narrow paved road To the right, after a stretchof iustunder Wd! |l¤P‘ *00 siightlv upward, appears Villa Vaccara. another deserted hamlet new Y" building. To the left, the cyclist continues downhill to the place where the ruuid $9** the road {21 km, altitude 1,000 ml which the cyclist had driven along the mad dl! reads to Cervara and Cesacastrna. Five more kilometres of pedalling to e point ifi} instr! higher up brings the biker back to the starting point.

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