Foglia River Valley Road Tour (Sunday, May 13, 2007)

I woke about an hour before I needed to, still adjusting to the time difference. But I got up and sat by the pool in the early morning quiet and wrote about the day before.

Breakfast was not dissimilar to the day before, except perhaps that the scrambled eggs were even yellower. Four choices of tours: panorama, easy, road tour, racing tour. Liam had responded to the question politely the day before and let us know we might find the racing tour too much. And the road tour description seemed just fine.

We collected our bikes and met at the hotel’s cabanas at #58 on the beach. The route left town along the coast, eventually heading upwards at Cattolica and following a high coastal road southward with great views of the ocean. After a long descent into Pesaro, we regrouped for the run through town. At a stoplight, our guide Daniel, pulled up to a large piece of farm equipment, at three times his height. Daniel motioned our intent to go forward, and the driver pulled left quickly and then back right again. With the steering pivoting in the midsection of the machine, the maneuver caused the entire machine to shudder violently in place. A strong laugh rose up from the group.

We followed the Foglia River up a long valley, in a double paceline at about 20 mph on a red road, finally making a coffee stop at a “cozy” bar in Montecchio. Shortly thereafter, we turned uphill for a 3 mile climb at 5 or 6 percent with sections at 8, 9, 10 percent. Given the hour, it was quite warm. The top of the climb was Taveleto, which we recognized as the town we road through yesterday. Today we stopped for water from the tap along the defensive wall of the ancient municipal building. The structure reminded me of the municipal building in Sienna at about half the grandeur.

Yesterday, we arrived by a more gradual route, and today we bypassed the screaming descent for a different route home that was again more gradual. Once back to the main roads into town, we formed into a group again.

17. Viewpoint above Cattolica
18. Glen and Daniel
19. Taveleto
20. Countryside
21. Coffee Stop, Montecchio
Back into town, and as we neared the complicated intersection near the bike shop, the light just around a curve turned red. Only a few riders in front signaled the abrupt stop, and Rick found himself having to make a hard sudden stop in the back of the group. He went up and over the bars, slowly, and simultaneously the sudden tenseness caused him to cramp up in his leg. When I looked back to see what had happened, Rick was in the gutter, curled up (clutching the cramp which was his greatest concern). Despite appearances, Rick only got minor cuts on his knee and elbow and rotated his seat askew. As we reformed and prepared to ride again, two ambulances arrived and we waved them off.

The guide’s timing is uncanny - we arrived back just a few minutes before lunch. We ended up with 60 miles and 3500 feet for the day. David inspected Rick’s road rash and made sure it was clean, that it saw some antibiotic, and dressed the knee. David set out for some windsurfing, located the club very far up the beach, and contracted for a 4 PM lesson the next day. Tony headed for the beach, fell asleep on the sand, and never did get into the water. Rick slept off the day’s excitement with a short nap.

Rob and Ken cleaned up and watched the final half-hour of the second stage of the Giro d’Italia. Robbie McEwen bested Paulo Bettini in the final sprint with Alessandro Petacchi giving up in the last 10 meters. It was interesting to see McEwen (an Australian) struggle to provide a few words of Italian for the interview.

I wandered out to run an errand before dinner, and walking back with my shopping bag a local stopped to ask me for directions. She realized her error before I could say “No Italiano” and she was quite embarrassed to have been fooled like that.

Dinner began with an Italian version of a quessadilla that was more like a soft taco, cooked on the patio. Then we moved inside for the remainder of dinner in the more usual style. Our table has now moved out of the far corner, and we are closer to the food than the guides.

Tomorrow the plan is to visit a whole ’nother country.