Photo: My neck roll bears the symbol of Fano in tribute to Michele.
2019 did not end well. On Monday 30th December my father in law, Roy, passed away after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease eight years ago. He was 85. Although expected it is a difficult time for my wife. He had donated his brain to medical research when he was diagnosed. He hoped to help others knowing full well he couldn’t help himself.
On the same day, an Italian cycling friend of mine Michele Pietrelli died of a sudden heart attack. He was 53. He rode with the other club in Fano (not mine), the SCD Fanese. Only the day before he had celebrated riding 10,005km for the year.
As with cycling, and life, we never know what’s around the next corner.
On Sunday 5th January SCD Fanese, and Giuseppe Leone in particular, had organised the inaugural Rando BeFano, a 200km ride through the hills and along the Adriatic coast of Marche, starting and finishing in Fano. The audax became a tribute to Michele.
I decided to ride 200km on the same day as my own tribute. As my ride was to be significantly colder and a little wetter than the ride in Italy I chose the ICC Great Escape route, a relatively flat ride into Essex.
On Strava I called it the Rando BeFano Edizione non ufficiale di Londra (Solo) In onore di Michele Pietrelli.
The start in Italy was “alla francese” meaning riders could leave anytime between 07:00 and 08:00 CET. I left at 06:55 GMT just so I could make the start time in Italy, stopping only once for brunch at 85km then non stop for the remaining 118km back to London.
It was an incident free ride, but it did give me plenty of time to reflect on how fragile life can be.