Thursday, October 1, 2015

Guglielmo la Gazzella

Let’s ride Coast to Coast; from the Adriatic to the Mediterranean.  We did just that and thanks to friends Gil Rappaport and Mike Perlmutter, I was invited on the trip, organized by Ciclismo, a high-end Italian bike touring company.

Eight days of riding,  about 400 miles or so and 24000 ft of climbing, give or take. We made it up a "virtual" Annapurna, even if we missed climbing Everest and along the way, I must have consumed three dozen macchiatos and even more glasses of fine Italian wine. Here we start from Pesaro on one of the rare wet days. 

The senior guide did warn us that the trip would be quite intense (his word).  He was right: in addition to the days' rides there were history lessons, Italian lessons, wine tasting and various tours. We are pretty much on the go from about 6 in the morning till 11 at night and by the end of the trip, we understood what he meant. What a hardship!

We had hills-a-plenty but they were usually longish rather than steep.

All the towns we traveled through were "drop-dead" gorgeous with narrow winding streets that must have held many secrets. All our hotels were centrally-located and several were been built in the 13th or 14th centuries. I suppose I can forgive the fact that the d├ęcor and furnishings of a few were inevitably rather tired looking.

Over many parts of Central Italy, massive volcanic activity spewed hundreds of feet of ash (tuff), some of which resisted erosion and formed the foundations of many of the medieval hill towns.

Each town square has its Duomo and Town Hall.  Most are huge and impressive though often rather inelegant.

And I was constantly being warned what might happen if I do not mend my ways.

On the occasion below, a well-known wine merchant hires a Michelin-star chef to cook for us. Sadly (for him), though the food and wine were delicious, no sales transactions were consummated. I guess most cyclists are just not into $80 bottles of wine.

Here I was trying to blend in with the local bathers at the Saturni thermal springs. More white quivering flesh than you can shake a stick at.

Occasionally, we did allow our achievements to get the better of us ......

But then, we did make it, finishing up at Porto Ercole, yeah ...... !!!!