Giro di Muscoli – Stage 8 Monte Petrano, 133km

Photo: Our escort for the day, La Centinarolese (Pansèr)

Stage 8 Monte Petrano Sunday 20th Sep

Monte Petrano. The last of the three big mountain climbs. I kept the smallest to the last of the three days but the cumulative effect of 1,207km riding and a 1,330km drive are beginning to tell.

Andy and I had a big morale boost when my Italian cycling club, La Centinarolese made the ride to Cagli their club ride. The good news was that we had a group to help us along the way. This meant we were transported at a much faster pace than we’d managed when just the two of us. We were escorted to the base of the mountain before a Giro di Muscoli salute to send us on our way. Thank you Pansèrs.

The climb starts with a few steep sections just to put you under pressure, it teases you with flatter sections, then more ramps. Once through the tree line the hairpin bends are exposed to the wind. If you want to know what it felt like, imagine trying to climb a mountain with a huge foot pressing down on you. Then one appeared right above us.

I was determined to complete the climb without stopping. At times it was so tempting to stop for a rest but Andy by my side kept me going. Two Pansèrs, Mauro and Francesco, also braved the climb. One ahead and one behind. When Mauro reached the summit his reaction showed exactly how I felt.

The monument at the summit reads

“Dedicated to Michele Scarponi and all cycling victims of the road”.

Michele Scarponi monument, Monte Petrano.

Having checked the ‘crack’ in my frame had not changed, we descended. At one point I was overtaken by what I though was a motorbike. The noise was in fact the wind ruffling a cyclists rain jacket. The speed was scary. Even without a suspect frame there’s no way I would do that speed.

Safely down, me, Andy and Mauro stopped at Birra al Pozzo for lunch. I had ridden past it many times and often wondered why you would make beer out of pozzo (well) water. Mauro educated us. Before the days of refrigeration beer was stored down the well to keep it cool. When you ordered a beer, they would use the rope to pull the beer up and serve you.

As I’d climbed three mountains in three days, we decided that our beers represented each summit. Monte Catria, Monte Nerone and Monte Petrano.

Stage Stats: 133km | 1,638m climbing | 3,979 calories

Giro Stats: 8 Stages | 1,340km | 10,105m climbing | 41,409 calories

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