Very alliterative; it appeals to my sense of order. 70 km again today; but some serious climbing. Remember the mountains I’ve conquered over the past week? The buggers don’t know when they’re beaten. Overnight they regrouped and surrounded me, so I had to show them who was boss, again. It hurt, but my quads are now so solid they could act as a blacksmith’s anvil.
Here’s the route:
Note the elevation gain. Scary, huh? They blindfold the mules before taking them up here. Here’s the profile:
Uphill most of the day.
Last night’s pub was interesting – Vivienne Grey – and Rosalie, who’s a dancer from way back – would have loved it. There was a weekend tango class happening; the hotel owner and her daughter are both tango teachers, very fit and lithe, and they had a dozen or so students – mostly in their 30s – attending. I watched some of the dance, but had to go and have a cold shower – the Tango is sex with your clothes on; amazingly sensual. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have two left feet…..
Breakfast was typically Italian. Sweet things, cereal only (some sort of bran today) – you have to ask for milk; I think Italians don’t do cereal), OJ and coffee. Some yogurts in a fridge, along with a range of sliced meats and cheeses. I avoided these; a couple of large flies were the first to breakfast, and raw meat and cheese seemed to be their preferred food.Two bowls of bran, one with strawberry yogurt, the other with frutti di busco; a couple of slices of chocolate cake, two croissants, coffee and OJ. Ready to climb a mountain – lucky as it happens…
Over the road to a tobacconist – they still do a lively trade here; nearly everyone smokes – where I bought some stamps, and mailed some cards. I hope they arrive, folks…
Choices. I could have followed the beachfront for a few more k’s, but would have been forced inland to the SS1 eventually, and messily, looking at the map. So I headed straight uphill on Via Roma (where all roads lead) to Massa, where I chucked a left, following the signs to La Spezia. It’s Sunday, and there is an Autostrada that goes to Genoa, so the only traffic on the route was local, and very bike friendly. Some very gentle climbing, then along a pseudo ridge, then a drop back to La Spezia. Ian supervised Liz and Ben completing a jigsaw of here; they obviously did it well, as there were no flaws in the view, or gaps in the road where they’d forced in a bit that didn’t quite fit. Sea level; a biggish town, with a proper bike path.
And a climb out. And the longest tunnel yet; 2,4 km…. Scary, but a modern tunnel, with a sort of bike path. I survived. To face yet more climbing. One massive drop into a valley, and then…. another, seemingly endless climb. Passo del Bracco – It’s often in the Giro as a mountain stage, and is quite steep 🙂 I pushed for a while. then manged to get back on and grind my way to Mattarana. Steep, Relentless. Fun? definitely yes. A few roadies passed me, all grinding away. Respect; they knew the mountain was there, and chose to ride it.
70 km, over six hours on the bike, and a fair way still to go to Genoa; I’m in no rush, it was after 3:00 pm, the Luigina hoteLuigina hotelLuigina hotel was there, so I stopped. Not cheap – in fact my most expensive pub to date; 85 Euro, including dinner and breakfast. Didn’t have the energy to go much further, so I paid. Ouch though.
My room is clean, has a decent bathroom, and a firm bed. I’ll shower, have dinner, and sleep well.
I’ve just had dinner, and have to review my concept of value. Dinner was an absolute delight – three courses of brilliantly cooked food, beautifully presented. If it doesn’t have a hat, this place should have. Best meal in a long while.
Bed is calling – it’s 10:00 pm, and I’m weary.
See you down the road.