3

To the coast!

My uncle once told me that there’s more oxygen in the air by the sea, which is why he liked to go to the beach so much and just breathe.

I guess that’s true about the oxygen, but I find it hard to breathe calmly and deeply when I’m dodging scooters and whipping around corners on my bike.

That’s what we did on Saturday.

Starting further inland, Ged and I rode out to the Ligurian coast, passing La Spezia and stopping in Porto Venere for some lunch.


The ride was mostly flat with some rolling hills and the occasional sneaky steep bit. A solid 80km in my book.

Porto Venere

Awesome wind chimes that my mom would love.

Not much of a beach, but everyone seemed content on the rocks.

Check mate.

Walking through the town center. Quite narrow and steep.

Reward of pesto and prosciutto pizza. Greasy, lovely mess.

1

They miss me

My C’dale and Scott are tucked away in a closet in my family home in Florida.

Mom thought it would be funny to send a pic of them with the caption “They want out!”

She was right.  I laughed.

7

I get knocked down

Some days I feel like a failure.  Today was one of those days.

Ged and I headed out for a 37km ride up to Monte Morello.  There are two ways to climb Monte Morello:  the easy way or the hard way.  We went the hard way.

It get’s a little steep (around 10%-12%) at the beginning of the climb, then about halfway through, there’s a friggin’ wall–a stretch of road that seems to go straight up.

When the climb kicked up to 15%, I started to struggle.  The legs barely turned the pedals.  I said “f*ck it” and shifted into the triple.  I had to zigzag just to keep momentum.  And then I started to lose control of the front wheel.

With every pedal stroke, the wheel would leave the ground for a second.  I got out of the saddle.  Ouch.  That hurts even worse.  As I was about to call it quits and take a break, I had trouble unclipping.

Down I went.



I fell onto some rocks on the side of the road. Don’t worry, Mom. Only flesh wounds.

I was furious and extremely embarrassed. How could I not get up this climb in the triple?! I’ve been riding for a while now (at least in my mind).

I felt like a failure, like I had made no gains as a cyclist since I started riding 2.5 years ago.

I got up and put my cleat covers on. I was going to finish this climb, even if I had to walk (yes, walk) the steep part.

After a couple of minutes of walking, I told myself to stop being a wimp and get back on.

The climb wasn’t over, but the steep part was. Even though my arm was bleeding and my legs were shaking, I was so pissed that I didn’t care about anything else except finishing the ride.

And I did just that.

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4

Around Siena

Recently, Ged and I took a trip to Siena for some excellent riding and camping.

We found a nice campsite just south of Siena in Casciano di Murlo called Le Soline.  Full of Dutch and Germans.  Smiles all around.

Saturday

Woke up after a nice sleep.  The sound of wind came through the tent the entire night but made for a very comforting noise to fall asleep to.  Reminded me of the ocean back home.

About midday we decided we’d better get a move on.  Munched on homemade banana bread then drove off to Montalcino to find a parking space and begin the ride!

Our departure point. Getting the bikes ready.

The original plan was to climb all the way up to Monte Amiata, an old volcano in the region. Once we got 40 km into the ride, we changed our minds. We figured 1,200-1,300 m of climbing was enough for us.



We stopped in Abbadia for a break and a snack.


Cookie coma.


Then it was back to the car! My stomach had started cramping due to it being that time of the month, but I had no other choice but to pedal on. The pain went away eventually, and before I knew it, we were on the last climb to the car.

80 km in pure sunshine.

Sunday
Legs were definitely feeling it from Saturday, so we kept it short and rode 40 km around Gaiole in Chianti. It was a beautiful little loop that I wouldn’t mind doing again.

Also, I would just like to note that I do have more than one jersey. I do wear my UF team jersey a lot because 1. I like it and 2. I need to lose a few kilos to fit nicely into my other ones without looking like Shrek. That is all.

On the West Coast

Last weekend I spent time around Garfagnana and Forte dei Marmi.

We hiked all day Saturday then rode our bikes all day Sunday.

Our campsite was a remote spot overlooking a few small towns and neighboring mountains.

Nighttime at the campsite.

The ride from Garfagnana to Forte dei Marmi and back ended up being around 85km.  The gradient wasn’t that bad and we passed through a bunch of cool tunnels.