Sweat, Slopes and Scenery on the SS45

Today’s post is written by Bert. Enjoy!

We started our day in Varazze and started cycling on the coast. After 6 consecutive days of enjoying the coastline, ocean views, villas and beaches, the moment had come for a change in scenery.

We cycled into Genoa to start the day. To put it kindly, it is an industrial city. Interspersed among the city skyline were the Ligurian Apennines, which are beautiful mountains in northwest Italy.

The stop lights were frequent and determined to show off their rosy hues. As a consequence, our pace throughout the city was slow; we battled cars and buses for road space.

As we left Genoa, the glorious mountains grew in stature. Our objective for the day: pass through the Ligurian mountains by ascending to 850 meters above sea level. This was always planned to be one of our most challenging days; in total we would be cycling nearly 30km on an upslope.

With each grueling km, the teachings of sensei Horton rattled through my head: I hate it, but I love it; just imagine you’re ascending to 1800 meters, 900 doesn’t sound so bad?; if you need a break, take a break!

We took many breaks; one at a fruit stand where we drank water and ate watermelon to reclaim lost fluids that now saturated our shirts.

The physical effort was rewarded with eye watering mountain views and cycling through remote Italian villages. From a distance, these looked like houses built randomly into the mountain face without a linear connection, like darts thrown into a dartboard on a mountain wall.

After a long period of time and cycling effort, we knew we were close to 850 meters. Every bend in the road brought hope that we had finally reached the top. Hope….and then despair, as each ascent was followed by a descent and the realization that these vertical meters would need to be reclaimed once again.

As we mentally prepared for one final summit, we enterred a period of prolonged downhill cycling and realized that we had reached and passed the summit without even knowing it.

The tree leaves overhanging the guard rails to our right offered high fives and pats on our backs for our accomplishment, gladly accepted.

Poor signage directed us to the Le Fontanelle camp site. After missing our turn, we again prepared mentally for one last unplanned ascent.

Gigi, the curator of the camp site, greeted us, took one look and said: ‘one tent, two people? I know exactly what you need’. Leading us to an outdoor sheltered dining area, he told us to camp there, away from the rain that would come overnight and directed us to the pizza tavern. Gigi was our third guardian angel on our bicycling journey.

7 thoughts on “Sweat, Slopes and Scenery on the SS45

  1. Quite the wordsmith you are, my faux son. You paint quite a picture with your prose! The envy runs deep amongst your readers. Alternate your entries between the two of you, you should. Starting to sound like Yoda, I am. Eagerly awaiting the next entry, we are. Draw strength from our love, you must!


  2. Favourite line: “the tree leaves overhanging the guard rails to our right offered high fives and pats on our backs for our accomplishment, gladly accepted.”

    You guys should start a travel magazine!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved your entry Bert! You guys are going to have so many great stories. Yesterdays accomplishments were amazing! I am glad you guys stayed in a hotel – it must have been great to have a real shower and sleep in a bed. Have fun and be safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I felt like I was on the ride with Bert’s descriptions! The challenge, the hope, and the despair. I enjoyed the P90X references! I didn’t know where Gigi was going to lead you with a line like “one tent two people? I know exactly what you need”. I’m glad you passed the summit and capped off the night with some pizza!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gigi sounds like a nice lady. I love hearing about the people. They seem so nice. No one would be that nice here in the City. I thought Ralph said you were heading to cold temperatures next week? Where will this adventures lead to next? I hope you meet more Gigi’s along the way. Take care and be careful. Xo


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