SR Mounta Cala
Mounta Cala means “Go up Go down” in Niçard (dialect that was historically spoken in the city of Nice).
The adventure begins in Menton and ends in Ventimiglia (Ventimiglia), after 622 km and more than 18,000 meters of elevation.
The SR Mounta Cala visits the Alpes-Maritimes, Piedmont and Liguria. The route culminates at Col de la Lombarde (2351 m), crosses the Franco-Italian border three times, and 238 kilometers are covered in Italy.
The route has a third, or 205 km, of unpaved roads.
This Super Randonnée was born from our fascination for this vertical region, difficult to access, which neither wars nor storms have spared.
The dazzling beauty of the Maralpine Mountains has to be earned. Do not ride this route if you do not like long and hard climbs. Mounta Cala!
The dirt roads of Mounta Cala
The dirt roads are mainly cyclable without requiring technical knowledge, but they are not all in good condition. Riders should have some experience of ups and downs on stony roads. The rockiest legs are the road of Vallon d'Orgials (old road of Col de la Lombarde), and the balcony road between Collardente and Colle del Garezzo. They can discourage those who are new to gravel.
Some forest roads, less stony, are likely to become muddy in case of rain (Panoramica dei Ciabot, Colla Domenica, Monte Guardiabella and perhaps others occasionally).
In the descending part of Monte Guardiabella, there are 2.5 km of connection to be made on a road which looks more like a path, where pushing is essential for anyone who does not have the know-how of mountain bikers.
The SR Mounta Cala has three major climbs on dirt roads : Authion (18 km), Granges de la Brasque (12 km) and Baisse de Sanson (12 km). Three memorable experiences for anyone who likes to climb. There are also shorter gravel climbs, such as Col de Brouis (6 km), Col de la Barbenière (6 km), Colle San Cosimo (8 km) and Monte Guardiabella (6 km).
You will also enjoy some long gravel downhills : from Camp d'Argent to La Bollène-Vésubie (17 km), from Baisse d'Ourne towards Tende (10 km), from Col de Barbenière to Puget-Rostang ( 9km).
Nothing like immersing yourself in the adventure by looking at the dirt roads of the SRMC in photos. The description offered under the following three links is the result of several rides carried out from 2019 to 2022.
There are 15 km and 200 m of climb from Ventimiglia to Menton by the seaside... or 18 minutes by TER from Ventimiglia Stazione (a train every half hour).
The route is slightly too long for a Super Randonnée. However, it may be reduced to less than 620 km by future modifications (in particular by integrating the Selva Plane dirt road, when it is repared).
Two controls are optional:
Control 10 : road of Vallon d’Orgials (7.5 km descent from Col de la Lombarde). It has a very rocky passage. Ride it if you want to discover this old road, but do not ride it if you are in a hurry or exhausted.
Control 14 : Baisse d'Ourne. Compulsory in 2023. The Route des 46 lacets is prohibited for cyclists (temporarily).
We offer a variant from Col de Tende, which consists of descending directly into the Roya valley by the Route des 46 lacets. This variant bypasses Baisse de Peirafica and Baisse d’Ourne, reduces the SR to 614 km and 17,935 m of climb, and removes 17 km of gravel. Ride it if you are pressed for time, or if you dream of riding the Route des 46 lacets ("46 bends road").
The SR Mounta Cala has a “sister”, the SR Maralpina, with 100% paved roads.
What time of year? The SR Mounta Cala is passable from the beginning of June (opening of Col de la Lombarde) to the end of autumn. Depending on the snow conditions, the opening may take place earlier in the year.
Which bike to choose? The choice depends on the participant, his or her physical level, and motivations. There is no need to take a full suspension mountain bike. A classic mountain bike or a gravel bike will be fine. We recommend tires at least 44 mm wide, with small studs (rather than a smooth tire). A wider section (for example 47, or 52 mm) is preferable. We recommend using very small developments (MTB type), telescopic fork and straight handlebars. But again, it all depends on your sporting profile and your desires.
List of Places where you will find Water
Non-exhaustive list, to be completed and corrected with your experience - for businesses, check opening days and hours - accommodation and restaurants have been identified on an online map, but for the most part have not been tested. Access to shops may require departing a little of the track.