Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, your body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, "Woo hoo! What a ride!..attributed in this form to either Maxine Cartoon or anon
Monday, May 31, 2010
Our lunch stop this day was at a play ground, complete with bike racks…we made use of all the facilities.
Not sure what sort of duct this is..but it sure looks impressive
Day 16- Cassino to Tagliacozzo...110km, 1726m climbing
Day 17- Tagliacozza to Roma....134km, 1496m climbing
Days 18 and 19- Rest
Day 20- Roma to Capodimonte...117km, 1546m climbing
so we're at Cassino today..famous for the war time bombing and then fighting forthe monte Cassino monastery. Hopefully pix will follow tomorrow when we're in a hotel..today's camp ground is just a tad basic.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
So..to the composition of the group..there are 35of us..3 non riders and more Aussies than not....we have a Brit, 3 from NZ, 2 Germans, 2 Dutch and 2 from Brazil to add an exotic touch...mostly guys and mostly either as couples or with a friend......a real mix of characters.
For those reading this that might be thinking of doing the ride sometime..the level of bike riding ability varies from racers to those who have only just taken up bike riding. However, despite this variance the amout of training prior to coming on the trip is similar....high to very high.
The daily routine..the previous day we're given a briefing about "the day of tomorrow" which includes a map complete with instructions and distances between navgiational decision points, weather forecast and time for breakfast and start.
A great lunch is provided along the way..usually somewhere from 50-70km, then we ride the rest of the way (more coffee stops are slotted in) and miraculously always get to the camp site at beer o'clock. The cooks do a fine job providing us with an evening meal plus red wine and once the housekeeping jobs are done we're not long out of our beds to rest up for the next day.
= riding Every F"*&^ing Inch of the tour..which is the aim of some but by no means all of the group. There's never any pressure to complete the ride if you chose not to..you can ride half a day, have a day off or bail out if it gets all too much for you....
wil be a touristy type day..although it would be good to find a decent bike shop to stock up on the aforementioned cream.
Friday, May 28, 2010
The climbing legs have finally kicked in, which is good..I even managed a 15%
grovel today and before you say ..well so what ..15%, pfft easy peasy..don't forget the series of >100km days and the inherent fatigue.......
My riding group...you tend to gravitate to people you can keep up with...are in the throes of a discussion about the large number of holes in many of the buildings' walls...i reckoned they are/were holes for pigeons ie a pigeon loft and during lunch today was delighted to see a pigeon fly into one of the holes...there you are I said...QED. However I'm a lone voice on this topic...i'll post a pix tomorrow on my day off for your comments.
We all agree on one thing and that is...... as we are slogging up a 15km hill and with the road weaving left and right and there in front of us is an even steeper road than what we are on.......we ALL hope/wish/pray fervently that that road is NOT the one we're about to take..trust me some of those roads are waaaaaay steep.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
We need the carbohydrate++++, but my gut struggles to deal with so much of it…..!
First stop is always for coffee..and I’ve changed to caffe lungo..just need the drug, not the liquid.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
struggling on the hills..both in body and mind. Some parts are mega fun..some not.
tomorrow’s profile has me worried…total ascent >2400m
better get a good night’s sleep and heaps of food…..actually I am spoiling myself today with 2 nights in a hotel…100 euros very well spent
The weather has been a bit unkind with a couple of stormy nights. our first night in Calabria was thunderous and lightning-ous but our Quechua tents were up to the task..all except the poor guy who parked his in a bit of a dip.
The terrain has been somewhat challenging ..so much so that I threw in the towel and bought a compact gear. So I’ve moved from 53/39 chain ring to a 50/34..so I’ve lost 3 fast gears but gained 5 slow ones and boy oh boy do i need them.
Each uphill/mountain in itself might not be huge by what we’re going to face later on in the Dolomiti, but add them up together and you’ve got a sufferfest for most of us.
Today our route had an unexpected diversion which took us for about a 5 km extra trip over roads that maxxed out at 19%….I had to get off and walk a coupla times.
6 degrees of separation is in force here with someone having done a workshop at PJC, someone else’s daughter being a 3rd year physio student at La Trobe and yet another person having an orienteering connection.
The ferry from Messina onto the mainland caused us a bit of concern as although the vehicles got on ok, we got left behind.
Luckily there was another in 30 minutes which just gave me enough time to buy a limone granite..a must, along with Arencini if you’re in Sicily (so I was told)…spellings are possibly wrong!
I’ve had a driving lesson here.
There was only one bad driver on the road and it was me.
Manual car..changing gear with right hand
Driving on the other side of the road.
Wind screen wipers and indicator on the other side.
Parking..do it when ever/where ever you want to
after all my packing, padding and care there’s nothing you can do if your carbon bars get a direct blow. Luckily the mechanic had a spare.
half way on day 1 and the weather was totally crap..wind, hail, rain.
Days 2 and 3 have been windy but a bit warmer. All days have been over 100km (and a bit extra when you get lost). My Garmin tells me I’ve used over 3000 calories each day..the climbing is never ending or so it seems but the downhill hoons are to die for.
I had hoped to get back into Agrigento to take some pix of the narrow+++++++ streets I drove down but …too tired..too far away.
Tomorrow is Gerace to Nicolosi (near Mt Etna) and we’ve been told its the toughest day of the whole trip.
Wine flows every day..here is Sicily’s solution to the no cork situation…
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Day 8- Palmi to Pizzo...85km, 1314m climbing
Day 9- Pizzo to Lorica 120km, 2552m climbing
Day 10- Rest day
Day 11- Lorica to Castrovillari ...127km, 1728m climbing
Day 12- Castrovillari to Sapri ...113km, 2163m climbing
this is next..posting now in case I can't find a cafe or wifi
Friday, May 14, 2010
Finding a place to park in a busy city remains a major problem for this little Aussie driver. Eventaully we found a spot..like about an hour later.......
Anyhow we tramped around the old city and looked at a Roman Ampitheatre and then sat down for a meal.
It was at this point that I went into eye-bulge mode as I realised just how small this world is as a guy rode by in full St Kilda CC kit . Other options are available for tourists or residents who want to ride:
next stop Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
FYI my bike box weighs in at just over 15kg, my checked in baggage is just under 6kg, carry on backpack 7kg exactly, I also have musette with a "reasonable amount of reading matter" and lap top, and finally a bum bag stuffed with precious goodies..garmin, phones, money, passport, ticket. I don't expect to have to pay for the 1kg over on the long haul but might get stung from Rome to Palermo.
May 15th let the sufferfest begin.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
- The front wheel comes off and a spacer placed in the forks to stop them being bounced and to prevent damage to the box..
- The head stem loosened, bars repositioned to fit snugly and fixed in place.
- The pedals are off and the cranks positioned and tied in place.
- The chain is on big ring and zip tied into place complete with foam under it to spread the pressure on the cardboard.
- The wheel is covered with something to protect it (I used a bubble wrap bag ) and a stopper is put into each skewer hole. In the end I put the wheel on the non drive side not as in the pix. And I had the chain mid way on the cogs at the back. Actually I really wanted it on the biggest cog, but with it also on the 53 chain ring....nah! too long a time for big and big chain stretch.
- The saddle is dropped to be just touching the lid when its closed.
Generally speaking I'm into overkill and tend to pad the bike out rather more than is necessary but have never had any damage to any of my bikes on the many trips I've had over the years.The white tubes from a bike shop are lighter than pipe lagging. The camelback is to prevent spot pressure at the front, the crank is pointing forward to allow as much room as possible for the wheel.
I have a major issue with regard to moving it around. The hand holds are ok if you're 2 metres tall with an appropriately wide arm span and have no other luggage but at 162cm (well ok 160cm) I haven't a hope. I change planes at Rome, having to retrieve my luggage and book it onto the flight to Palermo and who knows whether there'll be trolleys at either of those airports..I've been caught that way before (Moscow airport springs to mind, no trolleys staff with a "you want a what....? attitude). Off to my local Pack and Send I went where Herb put on some polypropylene straps so at least I'll have something to grab onto ($20) and weighed it for me...15kg.
It's now in my car and will stay there til I go to the airport...and yes that is sunshine!