June 19, 2014  |  The real thing

Day 5 – Grosseto to Tarquina

As I write today’s post I am sipping prosecco in a bar that has a whole rack of haribo and the England match on a big screen. It looks more like a kebab shop but when all your needs are met, who cares.

As per usual the ride has been eventful. We set off after a lie in which has perked us all up and then enjoyed miles and miles of beautiful sunshine and a relatively flat road. Happy days; until…

Andy, giving Christine a push up a hill, misjudged the push off and ended up sending Christine in to the grass verge and hitting the ground with a thud. The rest of us heard the scream and looked back to find them picking themselves up. Unfortunately Andy landed on the same arm as his previous fall and is now somewhat achy. Ian was quick to hand over the ouch badge. Luckily both are ok, although I suspect Andy will hurt in the morning.

Fortunately we stopped for a drink and supplies around midday. After that, with the aim of riding for another hour and finding lunch, we set off in to the countryside and it has been beautiful and barren. Nowhere to stop until we reached our destination. Off road again and this time down a dirt track that saw me and Ian pushing our bikes for about a mile. We had to ford a river at the beginning then, at the end, Ian earned the good boy badge by saving me from a wolf. Well it was a really really big dog that was disturbed by us riding past. It chased me and tried to take a bite out of my back wheel. A grunt and a kick from Ian saved my bacon but it was a close call.

We pootled on for a few more miles, then, 10 miles from our destination we got caught in the heaviest downpour I’ve ever experienced on the road – hail, thunder and lightning, and streams of water running down the hills towards us. So, we have finished another day absolutely wet through. The hotel owners did not looked pleased as we dripped all over the floor.

We knew this morning that the gradient finished with an unexplained spike at the end. A few miles from the hotel the cause of the spike became apparent – Tarquina is a walled town on top of a hill. A lowest gear climb at the end of the day is hard enough but add to that, crossing the river that was flowing down the road and avoiding the cars on the sharp bends, then you can imagine how glad we were to reach out hotel. A launderette has saved the day for washing and drying the kit but I suspect we will all be donning wet shoes in the morning.

We found a medieval restaurant to refuel for our first proper meal of the day since breakfast and then Mark and I wandered round the town and realised that from here, we can see the sea.

And so, at 1-0 Uruguay I shall conclude. Whatever happens in the football, for us, tomorrow to Rome.




By Becci Johnson

Chief blogger and haribo coordinator.

1 Comment

  1. Such an adventure! Simultaneously jealous and glad to be just reading about it all. Everything is fine here. L & A are doing well and say hello (or rather, meow) and I ate some delicious strawberries from your garden this morning! Happy cycling…