Giro di Muscoli – Stage 9 Urbino, 115km

Photo: The long and winding road to Urbino via the Alce Nero (Black Elk) climb

Stage 9 Urbino, Monday 21st Sep

Today started and finished not how we expected.

Getting out of bed this morning my thighs were quite stiff. Perhaps not surprising after three days in the mountains. I wondered if this might be a difficult week. I turned out to be a difficult day, but not until the end.

I’d spotted that some donations had come in overnight to the main site and to the UK JustGiving page. I did the calculations in the hope that we might have reached a magical number. After converting the Sterling number to Euros up popped a very special number in my spreadsheet:


I couldn’t resist a quick message to Gerben and Jeanne so that they’d have good news when they woke up (though knowing Jeanne she’d probably already been for a run, cut the grass, repainted the house and made breakfast).

That’s an astounding amount of money to raise for patients of Motor Neurone Disease in the UK, Netherlands and Italy. The Giro di Muscoli is a great success thanks to so many generous people around the world. Suddenly my thighs weren’t stiff any more.

Once on the road another surprise. Four Pansèrs joined us for the loop to Urbino and back to Fano. The Alce Nero climb is 7km, rising 400m, so a relatively straightforward climb. Straightforward until Mauro got a puncture. Andy and I stopped to help him. Even though it was a short stop my thighs tightened up again. It took another km or two of climbing to get them back at operating temperature.

After the Alce Nero the small band of happy riders performed the Italian tribute to the Giro di Muscoli:

The descent from Urbino is always fun and a decent speed too. 33km covered in one hour. Then nice and easy as we rode along the beach side cycle path between Pesaro and Fano.

A stop for a biretta and a few nibbles in Fano before Andy and I said goodbye to the Pansèrs to complete another 60km. Or so we thought.

The weather up to then was warm and sunny. As we climbed towards San Costanzo we could see rain and lightening ahead. We were riding straight towards the storm. We discussed our options. Turn round and try to out ride it, or ride through it. With much bravado we decided to try and ride through it. In Piagge the storm got the better of us. With lightening striking nearby and mini hail stones hitting the road we concluded it was too dangerous to continue. We found shelter in a porch big enough for our bikes and us.

After the rain eased, we rode to a peak to get a better view of the oncoming weather. It didn’t look good. We decided to head for home. As we descended it started to rain again, but more worryingly the lightening was striking overhead. The road was strewn with gravel and mud from the storm, so we decided to call it a day. We headed for a café and called our support vehicle. Jan came to the rescue.

The day started with exciting news and ended with a damp squib.

Stage Stats: 115km | 1,210m climbing | 3,185 calories

Giro Stats: 9 Stages | 1,455km | 11,315m climbing | 44,594 calories

£ donations (GiftAid please if you can):

€ donations:

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