Rode out of Castelnuovo de Garfagnana headed for the Passo di Radice, and found a shortcut!
Anything that cuts 27km down to 15 has to be good, right?
And it was, a nice steady bottom gear gradient all the way to 1200m where the climb turned into a series of steps and switchbacks at what felt like 20% or steeper.
This section I rode step at a time, gasping and dribbling.
And did I mention the wind? Yep, it was blowing hard, not that you would know it here in thriving Pievepelago where I stopped for lunch.
The afternoon turned into a bit of a slog, finishing up at Lizzano in Belvedere, where I found a 15 euro hotel room.