The blog is back after having a rest day yesterday. There is a lot to get through so I hope you stick with it!
Day 106 started in brilliant fashion. Firstly, our German neighbours next to us, Yvonne and Werner kindly made a donation to the charities. Secondly, our German neighbours behind us also made a donation! We chatted to Eva about the trip and she shared my passion for helping people. She enthusiastically told us about her time working in Africa. See Eva below with her husband Jorg and children Nil, Mattis and Pontus and Yvonne. It was great to meet everyone!
Our ride today was a long one. We had to avoid the dual carriage way along the coast because bikes aren’t allowed to cycle on them. This was quite annoying as the alternate routes were thin on the ground. Therefore, we had to get creative with the route planning. We were looking at an 85km+ ride compared to the van’s 60km drive. Help!
The first 35km was delightful. We only saw a couple of cars and the road surface was in good condition. We hadn’t seen much sign of life but we were happy with our progress. Here we are on road!
The next 15km was farcical. We highlighted this as an area for concern during the planning phase. There weren’t any main roads so we’d have to risk the smaller ones. The road started off as tarmac but soon turned into a muddy, rocky, gravelly mess. We had to push our bikes around puddles and carry them across bogged areas. More of the same followed when we turned off from our first road. Both of these roads belonged to the ‘Tractor Only’ club. Our bikes survived the experience though- see below!
The last 27km was hard work. My legs and shoulders were starting to ache so the strong wind timed itself perfectly. Tim encouraged me as we got closer to Tarquinia and gave me the last of his water- what a kind boy. We made it to the campsite in record time (the longest ride so far) and record distance (see the data below).
It had been a strange ride. We cycled for 87km but we had only passed through one small village. The rest of the time felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. Brandi and I stayed in a farmhouse that evening while Dad and Tim had the van to themselves. I was glad to crash out on a decent bed after the tough ride today!
Day 107: Another long ride was in store for me today. My body was aching from the epic ride yesterday and I was lacking energy. The wind had really picked up so I wasn’t looking forward to cycling in these conditions. Yeah, I know, I love moaning about the wind.
Before we set off, Dad checked his bike and discovered a puncture. He got to work as I finished off my stretches and final route checking. Check us out below!
We started off with a climb into Tarquinia and we see found ourselves on a busy main road. The headwind over the next 5-7 kms was ferocious. Lots of effort was required to power my way along and at times, it knocked me from side to side. The wind remained like this throughout the ride- occasionally we turned away from it but we were mostly up against it. Check out the view from the first part of the ride.
At Monte Romano we decided to leave the busy main road behind. Dad cracked open some secret Haribo he had stashed away. An inspired move! Check out a few snaps below.
The next section of road was much more enjoyable. Dad loved the new road but he didn’t enjoy the surface. This ride had the worst quality of road on the whole trip. They wouldn’t have looked out of place on the moon- craters everywhere!
We carried on at a decent pace considering the conditions. There were lots of hills to climb and potholes to do battle with. With about 10km to go we turned down the option of riding on a main road and instead chose a gravel one. This track was the Francigena- the old pilgrim route I’ve loosely being following. It was a mostly free from cars and took us through some orchards and vineyards (see below).
The last section of road was downhill- at last! You had to pay close attention because the potholes were the size of Frisbees. The ride ended in a car park in Sutri. Brandi and I are staying in Sutri this evening and the boys are heading to a campsite 20km away.
So, another tough ride finished to complete the week of difficult cycling. I’ve made it to 2000 miles though so I’m feeling chuffed with that. It’s probably the last long ride with Dad- he’s done a brilliant job and supported me amazingly throughout each ride- thanks Keitheo!