190. The Muro di Sormano theme park

There is a cycling climb in the Lariano Triangolo, on the shores of the breathtaking Lake Como, called ‘Il Muro di Sormano’. It is the fruit of professional cycling’s continuous search for the next barrier, the latest trick. It is impossibly steep, 1.7kms at an average of 18%, with over half a kilometer well over 21%. Alberto Elli, an ex pro-racer and local entrepreneur, tells me that Il Muro has become the most popular attraction to amateur cyclists who visit the region. This does not surprise me. Once you come to accept that Alton Towers receives more visitors than Stonehenge, in any given year, you should not be shocked by the venerable slopes of Stelvio and Gavia lying in solitary abandon whilst all comers race to take on, and succumb, at Il Muro. It is of course a challenge worth taking on, one more way of answering the question: ‘Am I up to it?’, but also a further sign of today’s fast, intense, immediate retribution culture, since Il Muro will answer you within a few minutes 

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