Diane and I have discovered a fantastic circuit for mountain biking – 10 kms of forest track around the top of Monte Venere, which is pretty much straight up the hill from our little stone house down in the valley. We have decided to do this circuit every morning this week. Today, Monday, was our 3rd day, so we started out slightly saddle-sore! That soon goes, as we remember from the amazing week we did in Sun Valley, Idaho with Megan, Hannah and Joe – some trip guys, remember? Unfortunately we don’t have the natural hot spring soaks combined with ice-cold beers as part of the deal here! (A boiled egg and a raw carrot in the Landy was my reward this morning!!)
The huge attraction of this circuit is that for 80% of the time you have the most incredible views in every direction because you are going around the top of a mountain at an altitude of 1000 mts, and can see valleys and mountains stretching away from you wherever you look. The air is fresh, and the track has a full-on mix of up and down allowing for grinding ascents and glorious, exhilarating, sweat-evaporating descents.
This photo shows Diane’s anticipation of the ride ahead, and a tiny idea of the vast scale of the surrounding landscape…..
Yesterday we took Papi, Megan’s superstar 4,5 year old black Lab with us – she’s been walking around very tenderly today! We did stop regularly, especially after each sweeping downhill, but I guess her paws need some toughening up………
To avoid going on the road, and to make it a tad shorter for Papi, I suggested we take a “short” cut at the back side of Monte Venere. This resulted in our scaling a really monstrous climb which nearly finished us off, but we both got to the top without stopping – the resultant exhilaration and sense of “screw you, steep hill, you will not defeat me, I am the father of a Scottish Commonwealth Games swimming finalist” is neatly captured in this image:
To be honest, I’m not quite on starvation rations here – am just now enjoying the delights of a “Spritz”, a drink which I think originates in Venice and is no doubt the original behind the “Spritzer” which is white wine and fizzy water. The Spritz involves a thick slice of orange, ice cubes, a good splash of Campari and a fill-up with Prosecco. These Italians are bloody useless at many, many things, but when they get something right it can be fabulously right – Salute!!!