Photo: A well earned break at the top of the biggest climb of the day (the dog wasn’t with us).
“Basta” (Enough). Gio decided he’d gone far enough. It was always going to be a big ask as he’d had to drive to Paris and back unexpectedly a few days before. Driving 2,500 km wasn’t the ideal preparation. He was tired and we’d waited for him after the climbs, but it was too much. We were in Piobbico, 88km into the 200km Randonnée della Fortuna. With 2,800m of climbing it was an ambitious target for Gio’s first audax. Sometimes it takes more courage to stop rather than keep going. Bravo Gio. Next time.
Lorenzo, Marco and I had to catch up with the rest of the group having waited for Gio. We closed the gap just before the biggest climb of the day (859m above sea level) to Acquapartita.
We climbed at our own pace. I was near the back as I’m not a strong climber and I wanted to keep an eye on my brood. I was like a proud father. For a few years I’d been the only audaxer in the club. Now that a few tried their first in January, a few more signed up for their first 200km ride. I really wanted everyone else to make it to the finish within the time limit. We’d left the first control point in Urbino with only half an hour to spare so we needed to keep up the pace a little. I needn’t have worried. We all completed the climb, enjoyed a lunch at the top before setting off back to Fano.
Whilst at the top we received a message from Gio that he’d been picked up by Loris “sono in ammiraglia col coc” (with coach). I was curious what ‘coc’ meant, as the English pronounciation confused me! The second c is pronounced softly, a bit like ‘cotch’ meaning coach.
Just like our audax in January it started to rain just as we stopped for a puncture. I explained that all audaxes aren’t like this. They’re an adventure, so you never know what might happen. At least it was a short sharp downpour. We resumed while it was still raining, so a very tentative descent. The rain soon stopped so we could enjoy the downhill whilst catching up on some time.
Our final control was in Mombarocchio, which was a bit of a celebration. It was at the top of the last climb of the day, so downhill/flat for the remaining 20km. It had been my birthday three days before so the beers were on me.
As we approached the finish, with a couple of hours to spare, they insisted that Nadia and I lead them across the line.
As their coach, I was Coc-a-hoop.
I was so proud that Andrea, Lorenzo, Marco, Nadia, Sandro and Vicenzo completed their first official audax and they, as well as Luigi and Roberto, recorded their first ever 200km ride. Hopefully many more to come. Welcome to the house of fun.
Bravissimi ragazzi. Sono molto orgoglioso.