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!

Friday, 31 July 2015

Day 19 Fornovo di Taro to Pontremoli

What a day - from flat, boring Lombardy to beautiful mountains and Tuscany and a bizarre German festival in just 41 miles!

The day started with grey skies and a drop in temperature to below 20C. Fantastic, this was exactly what I needed with a long mountain climb ahead. 32 km going up 1km in three stages.

The mountainous scenery appeared soon after leaving Fornovo di Taro and as I reached  500m altitude I was already in the low lying clouds. Sweaty and alternating between feeling hot and cold plus with poor visibility I had to put my bright rain jacket on. Cue more hot and sweaty!

Plenty of signs for the Via Francigena have started to appear now. I'm tempted to steal one of these pottery models but I know I shouldn't!

After two climbs followed by short descents I reached my lunch stop at Berceto. The town has links with Enzo Ferrari who made his first racing appearance on the hill climb that follows this winding Parma Poggio-Berceto route. Eventually he stopped racing himself and created the famous marque.

At this point I discovered that I had a slow puncture. Taking the easy option I decided to just pump it up and keep going a decision that I'm sure will come back to haunt me.

Another couple of miles later I could see big changes ahead. For a start I was leaving the land of the Parma Reggiano cheese which has embellished all my pizza and pasta meals since arriving in Italy.

Then the sun came out and I was at the Passo della Cisa and Tuscany lay just ahead. A quick visit to the chapel and the point at which the Via Francigena crosses into Tuscany before the GORGEOUS ride down swishing, sweeping, swooping curves into my overnight stop at Pontremoli. A very beautiful town set among lovely hills and mountains.

HOWEVER I still have to get up early tomorrow to fix my puncture before a long ride to Pisa where I will hopefully meet up with Luke and the Tower will lean naturally without any help from my camera.

As for the German Festival? Sausages, beer and VERY LOUD music - just perfect for the vegetarian with an early morning start. Anyone for pizza and ear plugs?

1 comment:

  1. If you have sausages why do you need ear plugs?!?!