Tried to get away before 8 this morning but didn’t quite make it. As we rode off down the road on a quiet Sunday morning, the Ferrari club zoomed past. Must have been at least 20 of them out for a drive along country roads.
Wasn’t long before our route took us on a very narrow walking track next to the highway. It was lined with overgrown blackberries so tore at our arms as we passed.
We soon found ourselves on more gravel roads and this time there were plenty of mountain bike riders about. Surely we impressed them doing the same trails with our fully laden panniers and no suspension. And even on a road bike in the case of Richard!
We went off route slightly along as we made our way along forest tracks and eventually popped out back on the route after an amazingly steep climb up to the town of Campagnano di Roma. It was a killer and a car came up and sat on our tails making it impossible to stay on the bikes. Too dangerous. But Ian Tom and I managed to remount and cycle the last bit that got even steeper as we turned the last corner. Must have been over 20% at that point.
Into the interesting old town for coffee then quickly in the road again. We were keen to get to Rome by 4pm to get our pilgrim Testamonium before the office closed.
About 20km out of Rome we heard a loud crack and found Goran’s bike had a broken spoke. The road was very rough although we’ve been in rough roads for a couple of weeks now. His expensive light wheels need all the spokes to remain unbuckled. Luckily Tom’s temporary spoke came to the rescue again. Richard was able to assist installing it and it wasn’t too long before we were all riding again. Although Goran had to be careful as his wheel wasn’t 100% true.
Eventually we stopped in an outskirts suburb and had a quick lunch at a cafe. Lots of translation challenges.
After what seemed like endless small but steep climbs we finally make it to the flat 16km bike path by the river, that takes us into the center of Rome. It’s very exciting as we turn into the street leading up to the Vatican. There are surprisingly few people about. It’s easy to ride right up there. But not so easy to find the pilgrim office. Everyone sends us somewhere else. All my information with addresses seems to be wrong. The Swiss guards were the only ones who seemed to know where it was in general and that it was closed in Sundays!!! So much for my Via francigena website information !!
We finally locate the building and indeed it’s closed. Oh well... tomorrow. Ian’s leaving in the morning and we hope we can get a Testamonium for him
I guide the group 5km through the city to our hotel. Seems quite a tourist route. We see lots of the sights and although it’s quite busy we are happy it’s Sunday. Traffic isn’t too bad.
So good to check into the hotel, store the bikes in the foyer (!!!) and relax at last.
Distance Today. 70km Total Distancer 1735 km
Elevation Gain1004 m
Usual conditions, overcast start to day and lovely in the shade in afternoon but hot when in the sun. 29C on arrival in Rome
Hotel California. Near the main Termini Train station
# Punctures 0. Another broken spoke - Goran.
Total Punctures 5