Break for the border

Photo: We’d crossed the border out of Italy but we still had to climb to the city beyond the castles.

Yesterday in Italy was Ferragosto (lit. Ironaugust). A national holiday. By using ‘bridge’ days and various other techniques Italians manage to stretch a single day off to include as much of August as they can. Sometimes all of it. In late June/early July one starts to hear excuses from shops etc. that Ferragosto is approaching so they can’t deliver the goods until September at the earliest. La dolce vita.

Yesterday, some of the Pansèrs decided that they’d had enough of all this hedonism and wanted to get out of Italy. We hatched a plan to cycle out of the country for some respite. I should have been suspicious when there was no mention of lunch. I thought a morning in the saddle, lunch, then all afternoon at a slower pace. Not a bit of it.

We were one rider down before we started. He had contracted ENS the day before (Excessive Negroni Syndrome). Five of us left at 07:29 and headed for the border at a pace/distance I’d never ridden before. The first 50km were at an average speed of 30.3 km/h. When we stopped at traffic lights I joked about us having an urgent appointment at 10:00 in another country. We crossed the border at 09:34. We had made it. Sanctuary. We were in The Republic of San Marino.

I didn’t realise the plan was to cycle up to the highest point of the Republic of San Marino, the capital city, San Marino. Then grab a coffee and a photo and head back. I was easily the weakest of the five of us. Thanks to their kindness by taking turns to drop back to keep me company on the climbs we did all make it there and back. At least I took my turn on the front on the flatter bits.


Photo: I notice that despite exposing my legs all summer I still have the lightest legs of the group.

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It may have been a hard ride but well worth it for scenery like this.


One final thought. When we got to the small bar in San Marino, a song by Madonna was blasting out across the small piazza. There was only one young lady serving with this jam jar on the bar:


“Leave 2 Euro to re-do the barmaid’s tits”. We are indeed “living in a material world”.


Year to date

10,517km / 90 rides / 116.8 km average per ride

101,152m elevation gain (11.4 Everests)


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