The theme of this day is sleep! We got to sleep in an extra 15 minutes this morning due to a later departure from our last day in Castelle Del Nero. We heard today that it was a top 50 hotel in the world. Yea Backroads! In addition and more importantly Cindy slept a full night! She was running on fumes. After bags by the room door at 8am and another high quality and quantity breakfast we took in the route rap and a special birthday song for Tracy – finally her 40th! Backroads presented her with a cool gift and even had balloons attached to her bike. Cool folks these Backroads leaders are. The gift ties into the theme of our riding day: L'Eroica. The gift was a book about this historic race where all entrants must follow the vintage cycling rules: no bikes newer than 1986, no water bottles but instead only bottles with corks, no sports drinks but instead only water or wine and all vintage clothes and gear. This race apparently now sells out in minutes for 5000+ entrants and draws huge crowds along the 200km route. The tie in you ask? Our route today followed a good bit of the L'Eroica route.
It was a beautiful day of riding over terrain that was very challenging and hilly but also shared some nice downhills (some quite steep which means very fast!). The first few climbs from Castello Del Nero were ridiculous with 15-18% grades. From there we rolled along a ridge line while continuing upward until we reached a cool town called Cantalina where the buildings were right beside the road and a quaint church in the middle. The great people of Italy seem to put such a premium on building high quality structures that are built to last. They also seem to place such value on traditions and heritage. These trump all other things except for maybe their love for great food and wine. We heard a saying tonight, wine and oil makes old things younger while water just makes them rusty. That plus 'no chefrette' (no worries) pretty much sums up the Italian way. These great folks still take siesta, enjoy long meals and tend to favor the traditional way over the latest and greatest thing or way.
After the short stop off in the town we road onward towards lunch at 44km. The terrain was a mix of longer uphills and longer downhills. Some ridge riding and some valley riding until the 4k climb up to the lunch spot. Lunch up top was brief as Alex and I decided to push onward to the 70k point and our second hotel of the trip a Borgo de Scopeta. We had a great 25k into the hotel with some great and extended downhills, one treacherous section of hugely step downhill (>20%?) and a couple of solid climbs including nearly 5k up to the hotel. It was actually more like a castle and the cypress-lined street leading to the buildings was amazing. This hotel is home to some of the filming for “The English Patient” and numerous Ferrari club outings. Cool place on a huge piece of land.
Truth be told I'm in a little bit of the doghouse today. I made some miscues: too much riding ahead and not enough riding as couple with too few points where I'm waiting to regroup is flaw número uno. Not hanging with Cindy for lunch was issue número due. I rode on with Alex and maybe didnt think that through like I should have. Less assumptions and more checking in with the reason why I am here. Tomorrow I improve. Tomorrow I'll be on my full game here. Here's to the the pendulum swinging back to center.
Once back we spent time poolside celebrating Tracy's birthday, then a quick shower and off to dinner at the hotel with the group (another 5-6 course meal with great food, wine and cheeses and chocolate cake). Great way to cap off Day 3. Fun times, I'm beat and it isn't quite midnight yet.