Saturday, September 26, 2009

Futa Pass

Today I made one mistake, which was to ride my bike at all.
I woke up feeling like I needed a rest day, but Lizzano didnt look as if it could maintain my interest for a whole day, so abandoning commonsense and the cheapest hotel room in Europe I set out to conquer another pass.

The first 20kms were downhill, so I felt pretty sharp, but my route to the Passo Futa was via a minor road with plenty of climbing, and it was soon obvious that I left my climbing legs on the Passo delle Radici yesterday.

Half an hour misspent looking for a non-existent turnoff brought me face to face with this puppeteer painted on the front of a church. I disregarded his advice and went in the other direction, eventually finding my route a few kms down the road.

The climb to the pass from Castiglione de Pepoli was pretty unexciting- a fairly new road, steepish, with none of the charm of the other passes I rode this week.
In contrast, the descent, heading south to Mugello, is hard to fault- smooth, well engineered, and incredibly fast.
The other big descents I have ridden this week have been sublime, ridiculous and terrifying, sometimes simultaneously. It is not uncommon for a road to change from smooth and predictable to a narrow, badly sealed goat track with bad camber and unpredictable corner radiuses.

So, after descending the pass, I found myself an expensive room in Borgo San Lorenzo to replace the cheap one in Lizzano. It's Saturday night, and the whole town is out, gossiping and gawping at about a dozen vintage Alfa Romeos that are on display.

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