Thursday, May 19, 2011
A Big Climb May 17
It was cold this morning as we piled out of our tents and there was rain clouds threatening to soak us. So with full arm and leg warmers on as well as my rain coat I headed off, from our campsite under the olive trees. It was 16 kms from Gerace to the Enna and that is where the rain caught us. You could see the rain clouds crawling over the hilltop and dumping on the town. Maybe this why all the towns are on hill tops as this where the rain falls.
The rain let up in about 30 minutes and I was off. There were lots of ups and downs with most of the climbs under 2 kms and although they are all pretty steep they were short. There was only one climb which was over 10 kms before lunch and it wasn’t all that bad. Lunch on this tour is always half way into the ride. So as today was 116 kms lunch was at 60 kms. The rain clouds were still threatening and the wind from yesterday was still nagging at you every time you turned a corner. There are a lot of corners here as I think that the longest straight stretch that I have seen is something less than 300 meters.
At the 84 kms mark you started the big climb which was 2500 meters over 18 kms. I rode the first 9 kms at about 9 kms/hr. This took us up to a town called Adrano. After we left Adrano we started up Mount Etna. This huge volcano had its head it the clouds today however I am told that Mount Etna has recently started to smoke and there are some people who think it is getting ready to blow. We were on a little used back road which was not marked in any way. I was riding by myself so not knowing that I was on the right road was a worry. By now I am totally exhausted and so the best I could do was ride about 1 kms and then walk 500 meters then ride again. Fortunately I ran into some Swizz cyclists going the other way and they confirmed my direction.
Well I made it into camp about 3-4th which was pretty good. And so ends another exciting day.