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!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Day 24 San Lorenzo Nuovo to Bracciano

Helped by a great salad and a bottle of beer plus the kind help of two very decent Norwegian hosts, I almost recovered from yesterday's excitement overnight.

I had a very hearty breakfast before spending 40 minutes on the phone to someone in a call Centre sorting out a hotel booking in Rome. I need to make sure that there's safe storage for my bike!

Today proves to be even hotter and my hosts warn me to carry plenty of water as there is quite a climb to the first stage of my journey - the papal fortress at Montefiascone.

Not huge nor steep but up and up 300m. The road surface is really appalling and the cars are uncomfortably close as I weave around the worst pot holes.

This church marks the 100km from Rome. There is a fancy placque but my phone decides not to store that picture.

When the road reaches the top of the pass I realise that the papal fortress and basilica are even higher up but on a different road.

The view from the Peregrino's Tower at the very peak is spectacular. I can back to where I began today and I can also see the SS2 shimmering on its way towards Rome. The shimmer is not gold it's a heat haze. The sight plus the altitude and something else make me feel a bit nauseous. The something else is a tummy bug which has plagued me for a couple of weeks now.

After an attempt at this thingy for lunch I have up and headed off hitting 35 mph going down the hill to the shimmering SR2 and there you could feel the heat rising in waves off the tarmac. Not great but at least I was flying now.

Eventually the SR2 merged with the SR675 which skirts Vitero courtesy of a fast, smooth dual carriageway. Even I manage to do 20 mph going along it.

Eventually I start my second climb of the day and the old tummy trouble gives me gyp and I'm running into a cafe. At least I can get a coke and some fresh, cold water.

At the top of the second climb I have the same grief but this time there is no cafe just hazelnut trees and bushes which allow me to save my blushes yet again.

Part of the way through I fly down another spectacular castle with houses literally hanging onto a cliff but I'm going too fast to stop. The next town at the bottom of the valley, Sutri, though is worth stopping for because it has an amphitheatre as well as tombs cut into the tufa alongside the road!

The final climb takes me away from the SR2 and towards Lake Bracciano. At the top of the climb I get excited because I can finally see Rome in the far distance.

When I finally reach my overnight stop I can see that I've picked a real winner. Right on the lake's shore, with a balcony and window overlooking the lake it is idyllic. What's more it has a very decent restaurant so no salad tonight!

Another 60 miles today but that means that tomorrow I will finally reach Rome.

1 comment:

  1. Rome's just a breeze away. You're almost there Tom!