Day 19…

…was a food and drink failure in the most part, I think. By that, I mean that I think I left stopping for lunch too late and that is a deciding factor in the day.

Hotels are over-rated! I am not sure I slept any better last night and the shower was certainly not as good as most of the campsites I have stayed in. Breakfast was cheap at €3 but you get what you pay for! I actually missed my tent!

I set off a bit earlier than normal, waking at the usual time and not having to pack, and I was all set for a full, hard day of cycling. My GPS said that La Spezia was about 70km away so I set off. Then a road sign after about 10km said 99km! The coast road was obviously longer- this could be my first day over 100km! I was well up for it, and set the goal of making Sestri Levante by 2pm, about half way. It was a tough ride, up and down along the coast with beautiful new scenery, I must have climbed 600m again in small increments and with just as much downhill, but I made it. However, as I said, I had left having lunch until then. I was famished, and devoured a pizza at a seafront café in no time. then I refolded my map for the next section and my heart sank. The road I was taking leaves the coast and goes over the mountains in front of me. The name of one of the towns en route was something ‘pass’, and I knew I didn’t want it.

Many comments after my Alps cross said things like, ‘you’ve done this, now you can do anything?’ Well, I know I ‘can’ but the question is rather ‘do I want to?’ And this afternoon the answer was ‘no’. I wasn’t going to make my target which would mean not making it to Pisa for my day off. The coast road didn’t go all the way, but it did go some of the way before climbing, so I set off for the campsite along there. About 5km in, the road went into a tunnel that I was not allowed to go through, I was stuck. The train station next to tunnel was just too inviting with its €6 fair and its imminent train!
My plans changed. Rather than just get past the tunnel, why don’t I get to La Spezia, on target?

That is what I did. Although when I got there I found that the next campsite was 15km down the coast, or rather over the hills along the coast. My lunch must have taken hold by then because 90mins more climbing didn’t daunt me, and I set off with gusto!
Sadly I arrived in Tellero just as the pool closed, but thankfully in time to get the last pitch! Max and Luca, next door, invited me to eat with them and we muddled through in a mixture of French, Spanish, Italian and English! This now leaves me a bit closer to Pisa, so my intention is to cycle it no matter what terrain; I have a day off afterwards.

I am finding it very difficult to be motivated for the hard rides, and I am not sure if that is bad or not? The Lord has been so good to me with the weather this past week. Climbing to Andermatt, St. Gotthard and today would have been much harder in glorious, hot sunshine, or in rain. On all those days it has been overcast and at least a bit cooler!


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