This time with lunch

Photo: One of the many tributes to Marco Simoncelli in Coriano where he grew up.

For the second time in five days I rode to San Marino. It was a very different experience from the previous ride. Last time I was me and another four. This time it was me and another fourteen. A much slower and sociable ride.

We rolled out of Centinarola a little after 8am, not bad for our 07:45 start time. It was that kind of day. Relaxed. We headed along the Adriatic coast at a much more leisurely pace than the five man team pursuit experience a few days before. As we rode the same route I ended up as the navigator.

We stopped in Coriano for coffee at the Marco Simoncelli bar. As I was first at the bar I ended up with the kitty. I was now navigator and treasurer.

Stopping to pay our respects to Marco I spotted a Liverpool Football Club scarf on one of the memorials. Sport both unites and divides.

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‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ so the saying goes. Not so for climbing. I’ve always found that the second time on a given climb is so much easier than the first. Knowing what comes next makes a huge difference to how one paces a climb. Last time I was last up, this time in silver medal position with a 32 minute wait for the last climber. I was very happy to enjoy the rest after ascending much quicker than last Thursday.

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Photo: Waiting for Godot. Just three more riders to come.

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Photo: San Marino City. Six riders were wearing ICC caps, a legacy of the twinning events. So popular are they I’ve had to order another thirteen.

Unlike last Thursday’s return to Fano, we agreed no more climbing. Lunch was the priority. Fourteen Italians and one Englishman isn’t the most efficient decision making machine. We hunted for restaurants on the descent, but no luck, including a km detour uphill to find one closed. If only we’d thought to ask Maddalena’s brother who we met in San Marino for some local advice.

As we entered Mercatino Conca there was good news. It was a three day ravioli festival (Italians celebrate their food very seriously). The bad news was that it was in the evening and they were only setting up. On we went using the mapping on my Wahoo to try various villages.

Then we stumbled across a roadside bar and restaurant. I asked if they were open for fifteen hungry cyclists? “Absolutely not” the owner joked. “Of course we’re open, come on in”. The decision making machine was back in action. So many choices, so many hungry riders. “What would you like Colin?”. “Food”. I wasn’t fussy. We settled on eight portions of penne arrabbiata and eight tagliatelle al ragù. We destroyed those so ordered cheese, prosciutto, and bread. We also cleared them out of all the cold beer they had. A great lunch.

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As it was a social ride, our next stop was Pesaro for ice cream.

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Our final stop was Fano for a “one for the road”.

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Cycling, eating, cycling, chatting, cycling, drinking, cycling, laughing and cycling.

A great day out.

Year to date

10,819km / 92 rides / 117 km average per ride

103,699m elevation gain (11.7 Everests)

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