Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bike Across Italy - Day 10 - Sorano to Porto Ecole (56 miles)

Breakfast in a fort on the penultimate day. Ciao Italia, buon giorno to new found friends in cycling.

May 21, 2007: A descent through the Tuscan Maremma to the magical Meditarranean

Day 10 PHOTO GALLERY

The final day. The final hill. The final 7 course wine dinner blowout.

And a 56 mile slight downhill all the way to the Mediterranean. What more could you want?

Maybe a gold leather bag.

"See you in the Prada shop," said Andreas back in Orvieto. I didn't see any Prada shop, but Sandra somehow managed to located all the cool shoe places.

The first half of the day covered what Dana called the Tuscan Maremma. Here's what the Wiki says about it:

 ... an area in Italy, consisting of part of southern Tuscany (and partly coincident with province of Grosseto area) and some part of northern Lazio (a bordering region of the province of Viterbo).

It was traditionally populated by the Butteri, cattle-breeders who used horses until recently, with a distinctive style of saddle. Once unhealthy because of the many marshes, Maremma was drained during the fascist regime and re-populated with people coming from other Italian regions, notably from Veneto.

Provided with significant natural and environmental resources, Maremma is today one of the best tourist destinations in Italy, where ancient traditions have survived and Tuscan culture is preserved. It is being promoted as a destination for agritourism ...


I could imagine cowboys galloping across the sweeping undulations shouting, "Andiamo tootie!"

We stopped a cafe where Dana showed us a room decorated with photos of the Tuscan cowboys and hunters, including one shot of a man's bloody face - from victoriously rubbing it in the kill - all part of the testosteroni.


There was a bit of commotion outside around a cyclist - let's call him Dante - who turned up on a Viner bicycle. I was given the important stats: 6 kilograms, 6,000 Euro. Carbon fiber alloyed with thin air, but of course. I took some shots of Sandra, our CC team blonde bombshell draped over Dante and lifting it the bike with one manicured fore finger. The man must have thought all his fast downhills had come at once. I offered up my Pocket Rocket Pro for him to try.

"What is this, a children's bike?" he said?


He then hopped on, took it for a bit of a spin, returning with a big smile. That's one thing I've noticed - anyone who tries out my Bike Friday always ends up grinning. Little wheels make you smile ...

I took the sag from rest of the way to Porto Ecole thinking I'd get this report finished. Fat chance.

Porto Ecole is a laid back seaside town flanked by two dramatic hills with a fort perched on the summit of each.
The view from my room.

That night, over dinner, we engaged in another of CC's bonding rituals - the personal dedication of a Certificate of Completion to each participant, to the person they drew from a hat the night before.

I was congratulated for keeping a stiff upper lip while being under the weather for the first half of the trip, then berated for almost wiping out poor Sharon when I slowed to film without warning. I am still getting used to touring with a group. When you conduct the formative years (for me, my 30's) largely as a soloist, there are moments when you lapse into a self-absorbed bubble even when people are right in your face.

Bob made a wonderful observation about the boy in the big shorts - David from Team Colorado - "he came dressed for mountain bike ride - but it was a road bike ride!"

Sharon in turn revealed Bob's new book about how to look 40 when you're actually 60. I see a NYT best seller on the horizon.

And so on.



Then it was back to Rome and back to the future, leaving the magic of 4-star, 7-course, medieval Italy for the next time.

Thank you Lauren, Erika, Joe, Jewel, Dana and Andrea of Ciclismo Classico for enabling me to share your excellent trips with the Bike Friday community and beyond!

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