Giro di Muscoli – Stage 6 Monte Catria, 154km

Photo: Proper mountain climbing today.

Stage 6 Monte Catria, Friday 18th Sep

The shortest ride of the Giro so far, but not the easiest.

Last night I received a number of messages about my ‘cracked’ frame. My friend Neil, a retired engineer called me to explain what he thought of the photo and what I should look out for. I listened very carefully but decided that I had no choice but to give it a go. I planned my route to add a smaller climb and descent before Monte Catria just so I could keep an eye on the crack. It didn’t change so Monte Catria was next.

I don’t usually stop on climbs but after 905km over 5 days and a 1,330km drive I started to struggle on the 12km climb. I decided to stop briefly every 3km, just to take a break from my legs screaming at me and to inspect the crack. It didn’t change so I took that as a good sign. At least it gave me a chance to take a photo of where I had climbed up from.

When faced with a big climb there is only one thing to do. Just keep going. No matter how slowly you progress, if you keep pedalling you will always reach the top. Easy to say, much harder to do, especially when alone. I did make it, but I was proper knackered.

I was rewarded at the top with an alert that Peter, who rode with me on the cycle track yesterday, had made a generous donation. Thank you Peter.

The descent was a nervous affair. I checked the top tube every 100m or so. No change. I got to the bottom in one piece, so did my bike. I rewarded myself with a feast for the eyes and a feast for the stomach.

The glory of riding uphill to a climb, then getting to the top is that the descent and the way home is all downhill, apart from the last climb back up to our house.

A quick shower then off to the railway station to pick up Andy, from ICC, whose come out to keep me company. He even turned up in his own design mask. Brilliant.

Stage Stats: 154km | 2,217m climbing | 5,190 calories

Giro Stats: 6 Stages | 1,059km | 6,298m climbing | 32,522 calories

£ donations (GiftAid please if you can):

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