Florence to Amsterdam – 1,900km 21 days – Leonardo (GCR Europe Ride Manager) – follow his story – Stage 1.

July 21, 2015

Stage 1 https://www.strava.com/activities/337640739
from Florence railway station to a bungalow on the rives of Lake of Suviana

We meet at Termini station in Rome, bikes and accessories are fitted properly, bags do not shake, all is in its place.
There is a bit of anxiety in the air, that’s normal, my sister came for an arrivederci kiss at the track.
Hey, the train leaves in time, that’s a good starting point, good.

Nope, bad: my mate GF forgot to validate the tickets for the bikes, we got fined for that. Well, happens…
So, we jump off the train in Florence, we cross the town and the air is really hot, the temp is actually 37deg C and it’s only 11am;
We cross Prato and start the climb to cross a part of the Apennines, we need to reach a B&B in Grizzana, the gps track is quite clear so….
the gradients are serious, the bike complete package is something around 23kg but slowly we climb, riding on small streets surrounded by olive trees, afterall we are just 350mt over sea level.
Some more km climbing, sometimes walking and pushing the bike, the sun shines, we are at 550mt and stop for a while in the central square of a little village; some beer, ice creams, coke and chips and the road is there waiting for us.
From this point I start losing my mate GF. From here I felt he couldn’t do it.
The track says we have to climb for 400mt more, we had food and feel ready and the ride continues slowly, my mate stops frequently, I stop with him everytime until we agree that I would wait for him on the top, so I did it and reached the gpm at 950mt, prepared some food on a wood table and waited for him;
he reached the gmp after 40 mins, had a break, and with a good feeling in the legs we started the descent, but climbs are not yet over: some more spikes “leg killers” and we reach the village of Badi, where locals tell us that the road for our B&B on this side of the mountain is ruined due the recent earthquake, and can’t be ridden;
hey Houston we have a problem. Brainstorming with local people, they tell us about a bungalow on the rives of the Lake of Suviana that can be rent for 15€ per night.
Perfect, it’s ours: we reach it, find a place for dinner, take a walk around the artificial lake, check plans for tomorrow. You see? Plans are changing on the very first ride…
Night flows with cramps in my legs.

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