The Jump Off is a 90km route that starts in Bologna and climbs the ridges drawn by three different streams: Samoggia, Lavino and the smaller Venola stream.
The Jump Off is the military operation during the Gothic Line, which took place on April 14, 1945. It encompasses the entire ridge from Montese to Vergato, and is just one operations of the Operation Craftsman. The battle front change names as the Germans retreat attacked by the american 10th Mountain Division, while the sky blackens in the great shadows of bombers, followed at breakneck speed by Allied fighters. The positions of the two armies are once again upgraded and the conquest becomes more and more relentless. The front is now under the new Genghis Khan Line.
The Pradole Pass-or Pradole Cross – is one of the most symbolic places of the local Resistance. It mark the border between Monte San Pietro and Valsamoggia, but it also introduces us to the mountain province of Modena, made very clear by the great mass of Mount Cimone, which shows all its 2,250 meters of peaceful presence.
For the locals riders we are in more than familiar land, where any budding cyclist has tackled his or her first real climbs. Once the stride becomes more confident in Val di Zena, it is Ca’ Bortolani that becomes the gym for the more challenging climbs. Time to catch our breath and we swoop and dive between small valleys that showcase a rural landscape into which we do not hesitate to dive.
However, the descent can wait because we begin to climb the dirt road up to Monte della Croce where the signs assure us that we are in the middle of the Gothic Line.
We follow the entire ridge threading Via delle Serre, a beautiful road that straddles the entire ridge of Monte Mosca among centuries-old chestnut trees and lavender fields. The roadbed is all dirt and runs along a path that seems to be used to seeing few people. There is no shortage of the obvious presence of dirt bikes, but one can proceed expeditiously anyway. This section of the trail is a real surprise, and it is worth taking a break to admire the wide view of the mountains ahead; from the Reno valley down to the Setta valley, the panorama is completed with the snow-capped peaks of the higher Emilian mountains rising in the background.
Points of interest
On the border between the municipalities of Monte San Pietro and Valsamoggia there’s a memorial stone in memory of the civilian casualties of summer 1944, who lost their lives under the bombing or during the roundups in that phase of the war. The Lavino stream also born here and is one of the points touched by the Piccola Cassia, which runs from Bologna to Pistoia.
It is one of the main elevations dividing the Lavino territory from the Reno valley. During World War II it was the site of several armed clashes by partisans and Americans on one side, and Germans and Republicans on the other. In particular, the partisan group Stella Rossa (red star), well known and feared on the hills of Mount Sole, but equally aggressive on Mount Vignola, operated strongly here.
Near San Lorenzo in Collina we will cross part of the complete route of the Brentatori; a road system that was used to bring wine from the hills to the city.
Via delle Gardelline
Historic dirt road that from the valley floor reaches Merlano and the ridge of Ca’ Bortolani. The first hairpin bends are steep but wide and rideable, while the last stretch is rather bumpy. It is a well-known climb for local cycling and has hosted some MTB events such as the Savigno Race.
Since April 14, 1945, the 10th Mountain Division has been attacking the Germans with Operation “The Jump Off,” covering a front of as much as 3 kilometers on the Gothic Line. Our route crosses the ridge from Monte Croce to Monte Mosca.
The section is almost totally unpaved, with only a few meters of hike-a-bike.
38% unpaved. Recommended bike: MTB or Gravel with minimum 35mm tires.