123 km: 800 meters up and 430 down
This is the start of another four day section, and this was the easiest of the four days.
Instead of having to take notes from a whiteboard like previous trips, this trip we get them passed out in their already printed version. Some riders pour over them, highlighting certain bits, others – like me – shove them in their pocket to be taken out if needed if there is confusion about which way to go.
We started at 8am with a convoy, which was meant to be for 4 km but after 1.5 km most of the convoy was out of sight due to having to stop at the lights. As Gergo doesn’t flag or give notes for the convoy to ensure riders don’t go off on the their own, it was just by good luck and guessing that we managed to stay on the right track.
The first 18 km was along along the coast, then we turned inward and took the last view of the Adriatic Sea (the top of the Mediterranean). The next time we see the sea we will be in the Netherlands.
We went through a town called Palmanova, which is an excellent example of a star fort from the Renaissance. This was built by the Venetians in 1593. The whole town is walled, and there are only entrances/exits through the walls.
There was a big market in the square with lots of stalls selling food, clothes, cooking ware, and lots of fresh flowers.
Where we stopped for lunch there was a man trimming his hedge who was chatting away to all the riders, and telling to make sure that they stopped in the next town Mortegliano to see the biggest bell tower in Europe.
One of the TDA staff Ozgur had made homemade lemonade for lunch, which was very thirst quenching. It’s made from lemonade, honey, water and soda water.
In the afternoon the breeze from most of morning was replaced by beating sun, it was 35 degrees C and felt hotter.
There were lots of very long straights, broken up with interesting small towns. All the town were deserted and the shops were shut as it was siesta time.
Whilst going around a roundabout I was bit/stung by bug (through my riding top!). I wasn’t sure what it was, but took an antihistamine just in case it was a bee or a wasp. Luckily I did, as later that night when I had a look I had a big welt.
The last twenty km of the day seemed to go on and on, a bit of an uphill gradient, and into a bit of head wind.
Although we were riding towards the Dolomites, because of the heat haze we did not get a view of them until about 8 km before the end of the ride, where they slowly started to appear through the haze.
We got to the hotel at 5pm and found out dinner would not be until 8pm. To start off with I could not find my bag anywhere. I looked through the bags twice, and was starting to get really worried. I then went through the bags again, bag by bag. I had never noticed until now that my red bag is actually half black. The bottom half is black and it was upside down. Relieved, I went off to the room to get cleaned up.
The hotel room had a nice big bath so I had a relaxing soak and then I intended to have a quick nap, but ended up sleeping for two hours. I was more tired than I would have expected, as not much climbing, but we had had 9 hours in the sun and although there was not much climbing there was no real downhill, so we were constantly peddling all day.
Dinner was tomato pasta, grilled pork and potato, vanilla ice cream, washed down with sparkling water. I had dinner with Brett, Miriam, Tom and Cathy.
Tom and Miriam, retired they live in New York, and have 3 sons and one grandson. No pets. This is their 4th TDA tour. Miriam was a lawyer and then taught law, and Tom was an engineer.
Cathy is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She lives with her partner Peggy (who doesn’t like bike touring, so is not on the trip). They have no children and have a German short haired pointer. Cathy has done 2 previous TDA rides and is an ED doctor.
Tomorrow is going to be a big day, 130 km and 2600 meters climbing and I am feeling a bit daunted. We are going to be climbing through the Dolomites.
The Dolomites are the mountain range located in north-eastern Italy, and form part of the Southern Limestone alps. The Dolomites are also known by the name The Pale Mountains, they take this name from the carbonate rock dolomite. The rock was named for the 18th century French mineralogist Deodat Gratel de Dolomieu (1750 to 1801) who was the first to describe the mineral.
The Dolomites are renown for skiing, mountain climbing, cycling, and BASE jumping.
The first week in July is the Maratona dles Dolomites, where in a single day, road bikers climb all 7 mountain passes.