Picos Original Riders

Picos Original Riders
Highlights of 2010

Last of the Picos Riders - to Rome Alone!

Our first two charity rides were a huge success - raising over £20,000 for the South East Cancer Help Centre.

The Centre does a fantastic job of supporting patients and carers at the most difficult times of their lives. They make a real difference and you could help them in their work by contributing to our fundraising. Donations can be made via JustGiving.comhttps://www.justgiving.com/Tom-Vaz/ or directly into the Centre. For more details of the Centre and their work see their website at http://www.sechc.org.uk/

After 3 years of rest it seemed time to dust off the old muscles, bones and sinews and do one more spectacular ride in aid of this fabulous charity.

This time I will travel alone for 25 days, mainly following the ancient pilgrimage route to Rome, the Via Francigene, covering a distance of around 1,400 miles.

The route travels through Newhaven - Dieppe - Paris before I eventually reach the Via Francigene in Eastern France. From then on it is pretty simple apart from having to cross the Alps without an elephant!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A Day of Difficulty

Last night's lovely bed quickly faded in memory as we faced a horrendous climb up to the mountain pass at 540m on a steep old road designed for asses. Sweat poured off us as temperatures quickly reached 30C.
When we finally reached the top there wasn't even a sign to celebrate, just a very busy road to negotiate as we headed into Vilalba. After the big lorries finally stopped bugging us by going onto the motorway, we faced a long road which undulated for miles before getting to town in time for lunch.
As we went to a restaurant Des realised that his back wheel was buckled and rubbing against the brakes. Fortunately everything stops for lunch and I had the pleasure of watching Des and an old Spanish gentleman using Google maps on my tablet to try and locate the bike repair shop. Eventually we worked it out and a mechanic took care of it. No more cheap tyres for Des, as the actual problem was due to a damaged sidewall.
After the repairs Des was a new man and we had to hurry to keep up with him. GB team cyclists please note this new training method. Unfortunately Des was travelling so fast that we took a wrong turning and ended up in the middle of some woods. As Des puzzled over maps I watched a snake chase a frog towards Ricky before it realised he was bigger and uglier than it.
Eventually we got to to the hostel only to find that it was full. We had to go back Parga, the village we had previously gotten lost in where we stayed in a very grand pension.
A very long day, 50 mountainous miles from Mondonedo to Parga.

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