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CIAO ITALIA 🇮🇹 (week 2)

With week one coming to an abrupt end at the hands of a crazed moped driver, week two was obviously going to start a little gingerly, but road rash or not, it wasn't going to ruin my break...and there was a lot more to see before my time in Riccione was done.

As a little bonus, at the start of week two I got upgraded aka moved to a window seat. My morning coffee, granola and yogurt (and eggs, bacon, etc) was now going to be combined with an amazing view from my newly acquired corner office. The hotel I was staying at, The Fedora, closes at the end of September (aligned to the unofficial end to the local season), as does most of the rest of the town, only to reopen around April to welcome back the flocks of tourists. I personally quite like the quiet of the end of season, as you can visualise how busy this area would get during summer thank you.

So week two started with a walk, hip was still pretty sore, so decided to head up to Santarcangel Di Romagna (what a beautiful name for a town) to stretch out, have some lunch, maybe a wine, and chill. Just wandering around the small cobblestoned alleyways was sooo relaxing, and the perfect antidote to what had digressed before. I was going to, well panning to, do a big ride the next day, so needed to take it easy - umm, 24km was about right for a slow day 🤦🏼

The "Cippo", the local, fearsome, climb where the Pirate Marco Pantani cut his teeth and left all in his wake. Heading right out of Carpegna (after a 40km ride to the base) it was just up. The current KOM is held by Tadej Pogačar, so his title was pretty safe as I was going to take over double that and stop to take some photos...don't think they do that in the Giro. The strava segment is 4.7km long, with an average gradient of 11.7%, and I felt every metre and percentage of that. However, what a view...

Although I would be more than happy to stop, take more photos and just breathe in the landscape, there was a very steep, leg hurting, lung busting climb ahead, and it wasn't going to climb itself (although I guess that is what e-bikes are for).

Up diddly up up, past the dedication to Marco...

...until the top. After the last couple of days I was very proud of myself for hauling up here, so did take a moment to take it all in...but not too long, as it was actually quite cold (and lycra is not warm).

The next day I was tired, and sore, so a walk was back on the cards. This time however it was more local, up to Rimini and back, for you guessed it - coffee, lunch and a well earned glass of wine. Rude not to. Taking some time out to rest a little is always good, and although people find it a little odd that I will do a 20km+ to wind down, relax and recover, I find peace in it. It is hard to describe but I can almost completely zone out (still aware of my surroundings), but almost go into a meditative state - my zen place (although my feet don't always agree).

What a glorious start to the day, and a perfect day for a 200km solo ride. I had the second part of my 28h Project challenge in a few weeks, so good to get some saddle time in and some kilometres in the legs. Keeping it local, and hugging the coastline, anything where distance is the objective you try to minimise the ascents as much as possible. With 202km done and only 132m of climbing, I would say that was a successful 7h bike ride. Now for some pasta.

The final couple of days in Riccione were incredible, some amazing rides climbing up into the hills, and some great food (and copious amount of it). The photo above and below were a couple of my personal highlights. I would quite happily sit in this chair, moving from coffee to wine throughout the day, and just watch the world go by...incredible.

My two weeks in Riccione were at an end, and what an incredible experience - have met some new friends that I will stay in touch with and definitely see again. Kurt, Philip and Charlie will be first on the list as my next challenge is going to be in their neck of the woods - Germany, and the amazing cycle guide Paolo will have to wait until next year, when I return and ride some new and exciting routes. Although now, it is time for ice cream.

Sleep now, for tomorrow I ride.

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