Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tuscany Trial 2017 Summary in English

I “stumbled” upon a website called “Bikepacking” a while back. While looking through this I saw a reference to a “race” called Tuscany Trial. This immediately attracted my interest and I followed through to their website. Here I discovered that it was an unsupported “ride/race” through Tuscany, which starts at the beginning of June. Everybody starts together. No support is provided or allowed and you can ride as long as you want to and sleep where you want to.  I mentioned this to Hennie de Clercq, a cycling friend of mine. We started talking and also got our wives interested and towards the end on 2016 we decided that we would make a tour of it. The idea was to combine the Tuscany Trail with a holiday in Italy.

Entries opened on 10 January 2017 at 00:00 hour and I managed to be the first one to enter. Hennie was 187 and entries closed at 593 towards the end of February.

The idea was that we will fly over to Italy a week or two before the race to “explore” the country, give ourselves 5-6 days to do the race and then spend three to four days to get back to the airport to fly out.

We left South Africa on 21 May, met up with Hennie and his wife on 28 May and drove down to Massa, where the race was due to start, to arrive on 1 June for registration. After registration and collection of our race packs and cycling jersey, which we bought to memorise the occasion, we went back to the hotel to relax. We also bumped into a South African husband and wife, who current are living in Perth, Australia.

The next morning we arrived at the start at 07:45 and found parking, which tends to be a big problem in Italy, around the corner. The woman we due to drive our van down to Sam Gimignano where we were due to meet up with them on day 3. We had to be at the start at Plaza Amanci, Massa at 08:00 for the race to start at 08:30. Start was a very low-key affair with no escort and everybody filling through the narrow streets.



The first 22.9 km was fairly flat and easy riding and took us 1:08 to complete. Then the climbing started. First at a reasonable incline, but after a while we went onto a cement path with gradients of 31%! Everybody was pushing their bikes. The incline was just too much and too long to ride. It took us 1:40 to cover the next 7.4 km. The scenery was breathtaking event though we were out of breath pushing our bikes up the hill. 

The next 12.6 km was rolling hills consisting of beautiful single tracks to gravel and tar roads, but everything was ride able and it was mostly in the woods. This was followed b 16 km down hills with lots of twisty turns on good tar roads, with the last 12 km flat.

At 68 km we reached a town and accepted the first available accommodation of a rather second rate hotel, which was not up to the standard of the price charged! We met up with the ex SA couple and had supper at a local restaurant and got to bed at about 23:00. Being summer in the northern hemisphere, it only goes dark at about 21:30! During supper we decided that we would look for accommodation before Florence as it should be cheaper and we felt that to go through the city during peak tourist time in the late afternoon, would not be a good idea.

We got going at 06:23 the next morning. The initial riding was flat, but at 6 km the road started heading up and the beginning of our troubles! I am a fair bit stronger that Hennie on the hills, but that is to be expected as he is 71 years old, so I normally ride my tempo and wait for him that the top of the hill. At 5 km up the hill, there was a gravel road towards the left.  I cycled past this and only realized after a further kilometer that I was on the wrong road and turned around. When I got to the gravel turnoff, I cycled down the tar road to look for Hennie. I waited a while on a corner, but he did not turn up. I went further down the road to look for him, but could not find him. He had quite a nasty fall the previous day when he stepped aside to let somebody though, lost his balance, and fell 3 meters down the hill. No serious damage, but he did hurt his side. I was getting worried that his side was bothering him so much that he decided to turn back. I had no cell phone data or connection, so there was no way for him to contact me. I went further down the hill to look for him, but could not find him. I went back up, but found no Hennie. I rode on to the saddle of the last hill, where there was cafe. I stopped there a sandwich and coffee and to see if Hennie turns up. After two hours, the SA Australians, who had a later start, also turned up. I enquired from them weather they saw Hennie, but the answer was no! They also had a bite and when they left, I decided to join them.

We had one last small climb, which ended at 26 km and then some very nice down hills, some of which was very rough and technical. I really enjoyed myself on these sections. The wife of the ex SA couple was on her first MTB race, so I spent quite a bit of time waiting for them to catch up with me. At 40 km we were on the flat and aiming for a town by the name of Signa, where we hoped to find accommodation for the night.  We were now cycling on purpose built gravel cycling paths along the backs of the river Arno, which flows through Florence. One even had the name of Via Fausto Coppi! The surface was of bright white gravel. It was so white that we tended to have problems with the glare of the son reflecting back to us.  We started looking for accommodation at about 16:30. The first hotel was full. So was the second, but the manager started phoning around to see if he could find place for us. After a while he found place at Euro 130.00 for the night. That is about R1,950 for two people.  We decided that beggars couldn’t be choosers, so we accepted it. We also realized that Italian MotoGP was scheduled for Mugello, about 60 km from Florence, the next day and that is why all the hotels were full. We booked in at 17:45. I immediately tried to phone Hennie on WhatsApp, but no reply. As I got out of the shower, my phone started ringing. It was Hennie. He was about 20 km past Florence! We later worked out that he passed me when I went off course at 12 km into the days riding, but we must have missed one another with seconds!

The SA couple decided to get going early. I felt that at R1,950 for the room, breakfast included, I needed to get value for my money and would only leave after breakfast, which was served form 07:30. I got going at 07:52 and started one of the best days of riding on this Tuscany Trail. The first 25 km to Florence is flat and continues next to the river. I took me 1:15 to cover this. In Florence we were taken through the center of town past the main tourist attractions, which did slow progress down.
Once through town the rolling hills started with a number of very steep climbs. Every now and then we would leave the tar roads and went off on obscure little gravel paths, which made for some very interesting and beautiful rides. The Tuscan countryside really is extraordinarily beautiful and it was a pleasure riding up and down these hills. My aim for the day was San Gimignano, where I would meet up with my wife and Hennie and his wife again. I did pass the ex SA couple along the way. They were planning to go through to Siena, a further 47 km past San Gimignano. I really had a good ride and rode into San Gimignano at just before 16:00 and one of the first people I saw as I cycled through the cycle gate, was my wife! One of those amasing co-incidences of life! Hennie, who had to sleep in the bush the previous evening, as he could not find any accommodation, arrived just before 13:00. We all had a lovely supper and got the bed fairly early. The hotel did not provide breakfast, so we bought some provisions for an early breakfast in our rooms with the hope of getting going at 06:00.

Our timing was good and we hit the road at 06:00. The first 5 km was all down hill and the only problem we had was to take it easy on the gravel corners! The view once again was something to behold! Once we finished the decent, the rolling hills started. During the next 80 km we would climb 1,500 meter, but also descent 1,500 meters, with the result that our progress was not too good.
After 47 km we reached Siena. The tourist traffic was so dense that we had to push our bikes! We stopped on the city square for a light lunch. During the previous evening we decided that we would sleep at Buonconvento, giving us only 84 km for the day. The next town was 21 km away and while we were riding, I forgot about the previous evening’s discussion and had the idea in my head that we would do 105 km for the day. Our riding was good, Hennie was feeling refreshed after his rest in San Gimignano and we were once again enjoying the Tusvany countryside. We cycled through Buonconvento at about 13:45 not even thinking about the fact that we really decided to sleep there. I think we both had it in our minds the next place, San Quirico was only 21 km away and that we should get there in good time. Hennie felt that I should ride at my pace if his pace is too slow. I felt that we should stay together and if I feel good, I will accelerate for the last 20 km, find a hotel, and wait for Hennie at the next town. With about 15 km to go, we caught up with two other guys, who we have bumped into a number of times during the previous days. We rode together for a while and when we got to the first incline, two of us went ahead leave Hennie and one of the other in our wake. When we got to the top, I felt good and decided to keep going. I managed to maintain a good pace and was riding away form the other three. Just before San Quirico I passed the ex SA couple again! As I rode into town, I waited for them and we rode together to the first restaurant here we stopped for some refreshments. Hennie and the two other guys arrived 30 minutes later. We managed to find a hotel and all checked in after another good days riding. The hotel agreed to open breakfast for us at 06:00. The ex SA couple felt that they were running into timing problems and decided to call it a day. They would start making their way back to Milan to catch their plane.


Hennie and myself got going at 06:24. The total distance for the day was scheduled for 89 km, but we would climb 1,660 meter, including the climb to Radicofani, which is at 785 meter above sea level and about 360 meter higher than San Quirico, but before we got there was a number hills and valleys to negotiate! We stopped for some light refreshments. While sitting there, a group of mountain bikers turned up. In this group were two South Africans, Gary Green and his wife, from Winterton. They were on tour from Siena to Rome, a distance of 300 km over six days. It is a small world. Gary has also done the Freedom Challenge from Pietermaritsburg to Wellington. We spent about an hour eating and chatting with various people.
From here it is a drastic descent on a tar road, but it was not long before we were take off onto a very good gravel road. Once down in the valley, the rolling hills started once again. This carried on until we reached the beautiful medieval town of Sorano at 75 km. This was such a beautiful little town that we felt we just had to spend some time here even though it was only about another 10 km to our destination for the day. We saw a little restaurant with four other bicycles parked outside and stopped there. We spent some time conversing in broken English, with a couple of Italian words in between. Two of the guys were Italian while the other two were Lavanians. So the six of us represented 3 nationalities! One of the Italians rode in their Eroica and I was quite pleased when I could show him a photo of me participating in the SA Eroica, which was held in the Montague district on 18 March. We spent 45 minute here and Hennie and myself agreed that moments like these make an adventure like the Tuscany Trail special. Our next port of call was Pitigliano, another magnificent medieval town. The entry into this town took us up an obscure walking trail and finally up some steps before we were led down one of the narrow old town streets to the main plaza. We caught up with another rider on our way her and we old stopped at the first café for a beer and a cold drink. This guy was a 61-year-old Frenchman, with very peculiar legs, who did Ironman 20 years ago! He had a booking at a hotel and we managed to get a room in the same hotel. So we reached the end of the second last day of this amasing trip!



The last days include a loop around a peninsula, which include a 500-meter climb. Hennie decided that he has had enough and the he was going to cut this loop out. The next morning we got going at 07:07. From Pitigliano, which is on a hill, it is downhill again before we have to climb out the other side. Once on the small plato were led down some gravel roads through some woods, making for some spectacular riding. Pitigliano is about 350 above sea level. We first went down to 200 meter before climbing to 380 and from there it was steady descent to Albina, which is at sea level and after 59 km. Hennie was going to take a direct rout from here to Ansedonia, cutting about 40 km and 800 meter of climbing. We stopped at a café, were there were some Belgium cyclist from Gent. Hennie plotted his route on his Garmin and after we had some refreshments, we went our different ways.

My route took me down a natural causeway linking Albinia with Porto San Stefano, where the hilly part of the peninsula begins.
The climb out of Porto San Stefano starts off as a tar road, which becomes a gravel road and then turns into a gravel footpath, climbing steadily up the hill. It was around 12:00 and the temperature was reaching the high thirties and I was running out of water. I managed to fill my water bottle from a water tank at one of the farms, but I was not sure of the cleanliness of this water, so I only used it to cool me down. I still had some clean water in my backpack. The climb up the hill and over the other side was very spectacular. Just before I went over the last hill, I came upon the most beautiful, exclusive beach resort with some very expensive houses! The path went over the last hill on the peninsula and into Porto Ercole, another beautiful little harbor town that reminded me of Hout Bay.
Porto Ercole was linked to the mainland with a natural causeway through a pine forest. Out the other side there was a 150-meter climb and then the run onto the finish at Capalbio. At 112 km I switch the display of my Garmin from navigating the route to check the distance. When I tried to go back to the navigation display, the unit seized! This happened before and the only way to resolve it is to witch if off and on again, but normally that results in loosing all the data for the days ride. I still had 6 km to go and the only way to get to the end was with the track on my Garmin, so I had no other option! Fortunately I managed to go through the procedure and get the track displayed. The last six km went off without a hitch and I was glad to see Hennie waiting for me at the finish.


From there he escorted me to the hotel where we were staying, only about 2 km from the finish, where I was welcomed by my wife.


Thus ended a wonderful and amasing experience. This “race” is something that someone from outside Italy should not “race” but ride at a reasonable pace to absorb the beautiful scenery, experience the wonderful camaraderie and friendship. Our aim was ride for 5-6 days and I did it in 5 days 7 hours and 46 minutes. An experience well worth the effort and investment!


Total riding time 49:02:17; total distance 564.94; total meters climbed 9,742.









Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Tuscany Trail Dag 6

 Die hotel eienaar was betyds en ons het ons fietse 07:00 gekry nadat ons in die kamer ontbyt ge-eet het en die wiele het 7:07 begin rol.

Aangesien Pitigliano op ‘n “rots” gebou is, daal ons weer vining met ‘n kronkelpad tot by die rivier en moet dan weer die bult anderkant uit met ‘n soortgelyke kronkelpad. Dit word gevolg deur ‘n geleidelike afdraand totdat ons afdraai na ‘n natuurreservaat. Hier ry ons aanvanklik met ‘n teerpad al langs ‘n rivier. Die pad raak later grond en ons begin klim. Ons is omring deur bome en dit laat my dink aan Knysna se bosse. Na ‘n lang klim plat die pad af voordat ons weer verder klim. Die eerste 10 km het ons 30 minute geneem. Ons ry gedurende die volgende dertig minute net 3.5 km! 12.5 vir die eerste uur.

Die roete word weer gereeld afgewissel tussen sekondêre teerpaaie en redelik goeie grondpaaie. Elke nou en dan ry ons deur ‘n laning bome wat baie mooi is en ook koelte verskaf. Na omtrent 38 km kom ons langs ‘n rivier. Die pad kronkel saam met die rivierloop vir die volgende 20 km. Ons stop by ‘n groterige olyfboom om in die koelte te sit en rus terwyl ons ‘n ietsie eet. Langs die rivier is koring en “chick pea” landerye. Na ongeveer 3:40 ry ons Albinia binne. Ons hou by ‘n restaurant stil vir iets om te eet.

Na Albinia loop die roete oor ‘n soort van eiland voordat dit ongeveer 15 km suid weer by die land aansluit. Die eiland is aan die noorde en suide kant met die land verbind met small stroke land! Tussen die stroke is daar twee groot mere. Hennie het besluit hy gaan hierdie gedeelte uitsluit en direk deur ry van Albinia na Ansedonia waar hy dan weer die offisiële roete sal optel. Ek gaan by die offisiële roete hou. Nadat ons klaar ge-eet het, skei ons paaie. Hennei behoort so 2-3 uur voor my by die einde aan te kom.

Van Albinia na die eiland is ‘n plat pad met heelwat vakansie plekke aan albei kante. Die pad se naam is Strata Provincale della Giannella. Wanneer ek die “eiland” bereik styg die pad en om die draai het ek die mooiste uitsig. Noord is dele van die Italianse kus en suid is die “eiland” se kus. Dit is nie so big bebou en die helling is nie heeltamal so styl soos Clifton nie, maar dit laat my daaraan dink. Om die draai is die mooiste dorpie met ‘n hawe en baie klein seevaartuie. Die dorpie se naam is Potro Santo Stefano.

In die dorp draai die roete links en begin die eerste groot klim van die eiland. Die pad is aanvanklik teer maar raak later grond. Na ‘n hele paar kilometer word ek gelei na ‘n enkelspoor paadjie wat seker eintlik ‘n wandelpad is maar skynbaar ook deur bergfietse gebruik word. Die pad kronkel die berg uit. Daar is ‘n paar boerdery bedrywighede, maar op ‘n redelike klein skaal. Dele van die pad se helling is kwaai, maar ek kry dit reg om alles te ry behalwe vir een gedeelte van ongeveer 30 keter wat te veel los klippe het. Ek is nou aan die weste kant van die eiland en kan die see sien.

Hier is geen strande nie en die topografie is baie soos by Chapman’s Peak met rotse tot by die water. Die paadjie kronkel weereens teen die heuwel op totdat ek oor ‘n nek gaan. Anderkant ry ek met ‘n kontoerpad teen die hang langs totdat ek weer oor ‘n nek gaan. Hier is daar so ‘n paar huise en ‘n paar rybare paaie, waarvan sommiges geteer is. Nadat met ‘n baie styl (18%) teerpad weer oor ‘n nek gelei word, kom ek af op ‘n area wat skynbaar redelik ekslusief is. Die huise is redelik groot en modern en daar is ook ‘n paar strande. Ek ry al met die kus langs oor nog ‘n nek totdat ek op ‘n klein, weereens skynbaar redeleik eklusiewe, kusdorpie, af kom met die naam Porto Ercole.

Nadat ek met ‘n fietspad, wat langs die grootpad loop, oor nog ‘n nekkie gelei word, sluit die pad aan by die strook land wat die eilnad met die vasteland verbind. Hierdie is ‘n natuur reservaat wat bekend staan as Dana Feniglia. Die roete gaan deur ‘n dene bos tot by Ansedonia. Die laaste bult van die dag volg voordat ek met ‘n sanderige pad langs ry tot by nog ‘n teerpad.

Op 112 km besluit my Garmin om te “vries”. Dit het al van tevore gebeur. Al genade is om hom af te skakel en dan weer aan te skakel. Die problem is dat ek dan al my data vir die dag verloor! Baie frustrerend. Ek kry hom weer aan die gang en ry die laaste 6 km na die einde, waar Hennie, wat 12:26 klaar gemaak het met sy korter roete, my in wag.


Die einde is by ‘n sport klub en al wat daar is, is ‘n boek waar jy jou naam, die tyd, die datum inskryf en teken. Geen offisiële verwelkomming nie. Regtig baie “low key”.

Hennie koop vir my ‘n Coke en bottle water en ons twee ry die 2 km na ons bly plek waar die vrouens ons in wag. Ek word met ope arms en baie foto’s verwelkom. Dit maak op vir “low key”einde!

So eindig ‘n merkwaardige ondervinding. Die landskap waar ons deur gery het was voorwaar iets besonders. Die mense wat on slangs die pad ontmoet het, veral die ander deelnemers was altyd vriendelik en behulpsaam.

Dankie aan Hennie wat hierdie ondervinding saam met my geniet het. Dankie ook aan Sue en Helena wat ons so goed bygestaan het en daar was toe ons klaar gemaak het.

Laaste, maar baie belankrik, dankie aan ons Hemelse Vader wat ons die krag  en vermoë gegee het om hierdie wonderlike ses dae op ‘n fiets te geniet. Ons het absoluut geen meganiese problem gehad nie, net kettings ge-olie!

Data vir die dag: tyd 8:40, afstand 106 km, klim ongeveer 1,550 meter.

Totale tyd, slaap ingesluit, 5 dae 7 uur en 40 minute, 530 km en 10,300 meter se klim!



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tuscany Trail Dag 5

Tuscany Trail Dag 5

Ons het vir 'n 06:00 ontbyt gereël en val 06:24 in die pad. Aanvanklik klim ons 50 meter in die eerste half uur. Dit word gevolg deur die wonderlikste afdraand en ons daal gedurende die volgende 10 minute 300 meter met 'n pad wat teen die heuwel af kronkel. Dele van die pad is sement. Dit word gevolg deur teer en grondpaaie oor drie heuwels en twee afdraends. Ons ry deur koringlande en wingerde wat afgewissel word deur inheemse bome en struike. 


Dan kom ons aan die voet van die Radicofani bult. Dit is 'n klim 500 meter oor 7 km. Dit neem my ongeveer 'n uur om tot by die dorp te kom.

Ek hou by die eerste kafee stil om vir Hennie te wag. Hy daag 10 minute later op. Terwyl ek daar wag, daag 'n groep bergfietsryers ook daar op. Een het 'n Joburg2C top aan. Dit blyk toe Gary Green van Winterton, wat verlede jaar die Freedom Challenge gedoen het, te wees. Hy en sy vrou is op 'n bergfiets toe, met 'n plaaslike gids vanaf Siena na Rome, ongeveer 300 km. Ons ontspan lekker, drink koffie en eet van ons padkos. Ons vertrek 45 minute later nadat ons ons waterbottels gevul het.

 Anderkant af daal ons 550 meter in minder as 10 minute. Nou is ons weer in die Toskaanse platteland met sy lieflike rollende heuwels en valleie. Ons ry ook op 'n teerpad langs 'n rivier op deur 'n nasionale park. Nadat ons weer 'n heuwel uit is, begin ons daal voordat ons die klim na Sorano toe begin. Dit is 'n lieflike middeleeuse stad op 'n heuwel. Baie indrukwekkend om binne te ry. 

Ons hou by die eerste kafee stil en Hennie eet 'n skyf pizza. Ons het vir 'n 06:00 ontbyt gereël en val 06:24 in die pad. Aanvanklik klim ons 50 meter in die eerste half uur. Dit word gevolg deur die wonderlikste afdraand en ons daal gedurende die volgende 10 minute 300 meter met 'n pad wat teen die heuwel af kronkel. Dele van die pad is sement. Dit word gevolg deur teer en grondpaaie oor drie heuwels en twee afdraends. Ons ry deur koringlande en wingerde wat afgewissel word deur inheemse bome en struike. 

Dan kom ons aan die voet van die Radicofani bult. Dit is 'n klim 500 meter oor 7 km. Dit neem my ongeveer 'n uur om tot by die dorp te kom. Ek hou by die eerste kafee stil om vir Hennie te wag. Hy daag 10 minute later op. Terwyl ek daar wag, daag 'n groep bergfietsryers ook daar op. Een het 'n Joburg2C top aan. Dit blyk toe Gary Green van Winterton, wat verlede jaar die Freedom Challenge gedoen het, te wees. Hy en sy vrou is op 'n bergfiets toe, met 'n plaaslike gids vanaf Siena na Rome, ongeveer 300 km. Ons ontspan lekker, drink koffie en eet van ons padkos. Ons vertrek 45 minute later nadat ons ons waterbottels gevul het.

 Anderkant af daal ons 550 meter in minder as 10 minute. Nou is ons weer in die Toskaanse platteland met sy lieflike rollende heuwels en valleie. Ons ry ook op 'n teerpad langs 'n rivier op deur 'n nasionale park. Nadat ons weer 'n heuwel uit is, begin ons daal voordat ons die klim na Sorano toe begin. Dit is 'n lieflike middeleeuse stad op 'n heuwel. Baie indrukwekkend om binne te ry. 




Ons hou by die eerste kafee stil en Hennie eet 'n skyf pizza. Ek besluit om 'n volle pizza te bestel. Daar is ook vier ander deelnemers, twee van Italië en twee van Latvia. Ek het toevallig op dag twee so 'n rukkie saam met die Latviers gery. Ons gesels lekker, in gebroke Engels, en vertoef 'n half uur. Ons roete die dorp uit kronkel eers vinnig af met 'n pad wat deur die plaaslike sandsteen uit kerf is. Die wande is loodregop en ongeveer 6-8 meter hoog. Ek het nog nooit so iets beleef nie. Nadat ons oor die rivier is, moet ons weer anderkant, met 'n kronkelende pad die bult uit. Ons het net nog 9 km om te ry Pitigliano toe, waar ons beplan om te slaap.

Die wind het intussen begin waai en ons ry meesal reguit teen 'n redelike sterk suide wind in. Ons tel ook 'n ander deelnemer "op" en hy ry agter ons aan. Dit neem ons nie lank om die lieflike Pitigliano van die pad af te sien nie, maar dit lê baie hoër as die pad! Ook nie lank nie voordat ons op 'n voetpaadjie, wat so styl soos die eerste dag se sementstroke is, opgelei word nie. Dit bring ons by 'n stel platterige trappe waar, ons verplig us om ons fietse op te stoot. Bo-op die trappe raak die GPS 'n bietjie deurmakaar as gevlog van die hoë geboue en nou straatjies, maar ons kry darem die pad. Ons drie stop by die eerste kafee en bestel iets koels om te drink. Die ander ryer, 'n Fransman van Strassbourg, het reeds vooraf by 'n hotel bespreek. Hy gee ons die naam en ons kry 'n kamer met twee enkel beddens vir Euro 75.00. Nadat ons klaar gedrink het, volg ons hom hotel toe. Daar aangekom is daar geen lewe nie. Hy skakel die nommer en die eienaars daag 5 minute later op. Hulle kan ons egter nie twee enkels beddens op kort kennisgewing gee nie. Ons moet dus maar weer die dubbelbed aanvaar. Die volgende probleem is die fietse. Gelukkig is die winkel langsaan, wat reeds toe is, ook hulle eiendom en hulle stoor ons fietse daar.  Die volgende probleem is dat die winkel eers 08:00 oopmaak. Ons wil 06:00 ry! Na baie gesmeek, onderneem hulle om 07:00 vir ons te kom oopsluit sodat ons ons fietse kan kry. So eindig ons tweede laaste dag  van hierdie ongelooflike ondervinding.





Tydens aandete kom ek en Hennie tot die gevolgtrekking dat ons mekaar op dag twee misgeloop het toe ek verkeerd gery het op die eerste bult. Hy is by my verby voordat ek na hom begin soek het! So werk die noodlot!


Statestiek vir die dag: 87.66 km, tyd 8:26:40  totale klim 1,660 meter, daal 1,771 meter. 

Tuscany Trail Dag 4

Tuscany Trail Dag 4

Die hotel gee nie ontbyt nie, dus het ek en Hennie sommer in die kamer ontbyt genuttig. Ons het op die kop 06:00 aan die gang gekom, maar Hennie sukkel met sy Garmin met die gevolg dat ons eers 06:20 begin ry. 

Die hotel gee nie ontbyt nie, dus het ek en Hennie sommer in die kamer ontbyt genuttig. Ons het op die kop 06:00 aan die gang gekom, maar Hennie sukkel met sy Garmin met die gevolg dat ons eers 06:20 begin ry. 

Ons het besluit om saam te ry en indien ek so voel, kan ek die laaste 20 km teen 'n vinniger pas aflê. Ons daal amper 300 meter binne die eerste 30 minute, maar met bergfiets ry beteken 'n afdraand dat daar 'n opdraand gaan volg, veral in Tuscany!  Dit word dus gevolg deur 'n uur se klim waar tydens ons weer 260 meter klim. Die roete bly baie mooi met golwende heuwels in die Toskaanse plattteland.
Ons eerste mikpunt is Siena, wat ons na 3:40 bereik. Daar is so baie toeriste dat ons soms ons fietse moet stoot! Die roete neem ons oor die stadsplein en ons stop vir 'n ligte ete. Die plein is baie besonders en daar word blykbaar nog jaarliks 'n perde wedren om die plein gehou. Ek weet net nie hoe die perde op die gladde klippe gehardloop kry nie! Ons kom na 33 minute weer aan die gang.

Ons het die vorige aand besluit tot waar ons sou ry, en indien ek vinniger as Hennie ry dan reël ek slaapplek en wag daar. Ek voel egter nie te sterk nie en Hennie ry baie goed.  Ons word elke nou en dan van die groter paaie weggeneem op onder andere die Francigena Pelgrims wandelpad, maar ook oor private plaasgrond. Ons is gedurig in verwondering oor hoe goed die roete saamgestel is. Terwyl ons nog so ry gaan my Garmin sommer vanself af! Ek moet hom weer aanskakel en alles werk reg! 


Ons kom na 84 km by Buonconveto en word om die dorp gelei. Terwyl ons ry gesels ek en Hennie oor afstand en ek het 106 km in my kom. Die afstand van Buonconvento na San Quirico is 21 km. Na 'n rukkie haal ons twee ander manne in. Ons ry so saam-saam maar ek en een van hulle is sterker en ry vinniger bult op. Toe ek bo kom besluit ek voel goed en begin vinniger ry oor die rollende heuwels. Ek haal ook 'n ander deelnemer in. Ek ry regtig baie lekker en vlieg teen die bulte uit. Net voor San Quirico haal ek die Sholtze in. Ons ry saam die dorp binne en stop in die hoofstraat by 'n kaffee sodat dit maklik sal wees vir Hennie om ons te kry. Ernst kry ook vir ons almal plek in 'n hotel. Hennie daag 30 minute later, saam met die twee ander manne op en is 'n bietjie ongelukkig. Hy weet nie wat van my geword het nie en ons het afgespreek om in Buonconvento te slaap! Ons is egter saam daardeur en het nie een daaraan gedink nie of daarna verwys nie. Na 'n bier voel hy beter. Tydens ons gesprek die volgende aand stem ons saam dat dit die regte besluit was om in San Quirico te oornag. 


Statesiek vir die dag: afstand 106 km; tyd 9:27:08, klim 1,581, daal 1.551 meter.