From Brescia to Lake Garda. 92 kilometers, cycling with Virginia Woolf and others.

(Versione in italiano)

Saturday 19th October

Bike track- Brescia - Desenzano - Sirmione

Cycling track from Brescia to Desenzano, Sirmione, San Martino e Solferino and back. Lake Garda, Italy

I am tired. As usual. My little child doesn’t let me sleep much. It’s been like this since she was born. And now she is almost 3. I got to the  conclusion that she thinks sleeping is a waste of time! But at 41, I do need some rest.

My husband is already ready to cycle. I get ready too, but, to be honest I am still sleeping.

As soon as we leave home,  I think “I am so not making it today! I am tired, I am sleepy, it’s cold. I wish I was still in my pajamas….”.  the sky is grey and so are the clouds.

In order to get straight to Salò, on Lake Garda, and back, we don’t take the cycling path, as we would usually do.  I’d love to cycle about 50 kms, no more than that. I am too sleepy.

Along Viale Venezia , leaving the city center of Brescia, I spot two cars ( always the same two , every single day I go cycling) parked ahead of me on the cycling path . And every single time I feel I’d love  to destroy them and their owners.
My morning hasn’t started in the best way ever.  However …. in Pontenove we then take the cycling path, which runs through the countryside, heading to the lake Garda.

Cycling path towards the lake of Garda

Cycling path towards the lake of Garda, from Brescia to Desenzano

Despite the grey sky, the landscape is beautiful. Alongside the path runs a blanket of yellow leaves. I suddenly find myself thinking about Mrs. Dalloway. I don’t even know why. I was a huge fan of Virginia Wolf when I was younger and I haven’t thought about her and her works for years. And now, out of the blue, in the middle of nowhere, I am thinking about Mrs. Dalloway’s character.

For those who haven’t read it , Mrs. Dalloway is the protagonist of a book, which takes the title from her name, by Virginia Woolf.

It has been ages since I last read a book by V. Woolf and  yet, suddenly,  it is as if Mrs. Dalloway in person was here with me and with her, some other characters of this and other books by Virginia Woolf.

And then, as I cycle on the yellow leaves-covered-path surrounded by green fields and hills with white horses , I think of how much I’ve loved Virginia Woolf and how much I was fascinated by her and by the  Bloomsbury Group, which she created together with her brother.

I remember that when I read about it , I thought of those writers, poets, thinkers, artists, all joined together, who once a week would meet and discuss about Aesthetics, Philosophy and Literature .

I still clearly remember my own feeling, which was a kind of envy (I know, it sounds crazy , but maybe in fact , I am a bit crazy ) towards them. Envy seasoned , however, with affection, and of course great, great respect and immeasurable admiration. I would have liked to live during the Victorian era , too , even only in order to be able to criticize it.

I wonder how it would have been if only I could have had the opportunity to meet Virginia Woolf  and the others from the Bloomsbury Group. I would have loved to savor every single word, spoken or written, during those meetings , I would have listened carefully and learnt.

To me, Mrs Dalloway was an epiphany. Before then I had never read a novel that took place in a single day . I loved and appreciated not only the plot itself , but the unusual way by which Woolf tells a story exclusively from the inner perspective of the protagonist; I loved the sudden time travel, through the thoughts and emotions of Clarissa Dalloway , her monologues and soliloquies as if time and space were melted , the past, the present and the future flowed on the same level , driven by a memory born from an object, a sentence , a thought.

I was really fascinated by this reading, even if , frankly, until this morning , I thought I had forgotten everything about it.  As soon as I think of Clarissa’s stream of consciousness, while I am still riding my bike, I think about James Joyce.

There was a time, in my life, when I was madly in love with Joyce. I see myself as a young woman ( well…let’s say youngER which sounds better ” ) reading Ulysse , without being able to get to the last page and without having the ability to understand it in depth , but still involved and fascinated by the characters’ stream of consciousness. Now my memories go the easier-to-be-read-and-understood “The Dubliners”, which made my personal interest for Ireland grow, despite Joyce’s  point of view of the moral history of his country when both Ireland  in general and Dublin in particular seemed to be centers of paralysis.

I remember that my favorite story , or perhaps , the only one I distinctly remember was ” The Dead .” Again, I do not know how and I do not know why, but suddenly I remember the sense of loss of the protagonist and his first awareness of the dilemma of whether it is better to die when you are young or when your are old , when mistakes are growing dramatically. And living this dilemma was like to taking his mask off , unlike all the other protagonists of the Dubliners , who never called into question , and while I was reading , I was wondering if, later on, the Irish, had changed their attitude … if something had changed in their soul. And it was , perhaps, from that moment that I began to deeply love Ireland, from every point of view , from literature to history, from poetry to the origins, Celtic myths and legends linked to St. Patrick, from Oscar Wilde to the poets , from WB Yeats , whom I love the most, to Séamus Heaney .. and so on.

When I was immersed in these readings I could not even imagine, then, many years later, I would have lived in Dublin and that I would have walked on the same streets where my favorite writers / poets and protagonists of their stories, had walked before me.

cycling path towards Desenzano, Lake garda, Italy

cycling path towards Desenzano, Lake garda, Italy

While I am cycling towards the lake, time flies and I am not tired anymore, immense , in my personal stream of consciousness … I go back to the Bloomsbury Group, and I think of TS Eliot. I think about how much, at University, I hated studying The Waste Land, and how much, on the contrary, I have loved ” The Hollow Men”. I remember reading somewhere that Virginia Woolf wrote a letter to TS Eliot to tell him that the group collected some money to allow him to quit his job and devote himself exclusively to literature.

I would have wanted to know them so much!

Every now and then my husband turns to check if I am still there and there I am, just behind his wheel.  Today I am in good shape! I’m riding with many writers!  But I am not going to tell him about this…

We then  get to where the track splits: to the left to Salò , Desenzano to the right .

Here, the first change in plans. I ask my husband if he has ever been to Desenzano and I find out, with surprise, that he has not. So we decide not to follow , as we normally would,  the Valtenesi cycling path , but to go to Desenzano . After a couple of kilometers, following the main road , we enter the town.

desenzano little harbour

desenzano little harbour

The clouds are still there . The sun is pale , but the light is wonderful. There are many people strolling on this Saturday morning . We cycle through the narrow roads of the town center and then  stop to take a few pictures of the harbor. Looking at the lake, in front of us, I spot a lighthouse . And I can’t avoid thinking again of Virginia Woolf and her ” To the lighthouse .” But it is time to go.

My bike and myself in Desenzano

My bike and myself in Desenzano

Desenzano small harbour, cycling on Garda lake

Desenzano small harbour, cycling on Garda lake

Looking at the lake, I see the amazing peninsula of Sirmione and find out that my husband has never been there either. And then, we definitely change our program , and we are now cycling to Sirmione.

Sirmione castle - lake Garda - italy

Sirmione castle – lake Garda – italy

And it is wonderful. It’s crowded of foreign tourists, as if it was Venice in the summer time. They all standing and wandering around the main entrance to the castle, which is actually  the only point of access to the village . Inside, among the narrow alleys, a couple of traffic agents are trying , in vain , to drain the crowd and let the cars pass through. (only residents and hotels guests can circulate in here) . It ‘s impossible , however, not to stop and look up at the walls and towers with dovetail battlements, home for seagulls in search of rest .

sirmione - lake Garda

Sirmione castle – lake Garda – italy

We cycle through the crowd, trying hard not to fall off our bikes and we stop to take some pictures. This castle is fascinating. I think that it has a sinister look . When I get home in the afternoon , I find a legend associated with it : ” In the castle a long time ago there lived a happy married couple : the beautiful Arice and Ebengardo . During a dark and stormy night , a man knocked at the door of the castle in search of shelter . The young lovers welcomed him to spend the night there . It was Elalberto , Marquis of Feltre . Enchanted by the beauty of Arice , during the same night, Elalberto snuck into her bedroom with the intent to take advantage of her . Arice strenuously tried to defend herself and her desperate cries attracted the attention of her husband Ebengardo . But when he arrived to her bedroom, he found her dead , stabbed by the fury of Elalberto . After a violent scuffle , Elalberto died pierced by his own dagger, and from that day the ghost of Ebengardo wanders the castle , condemned to remain among the living , separated from her. “

Sirmione - Lake Garda - the Castle

Sirmione castle – lake Garda – italy – with a ghost

We continue to cycle uphill to the ancient caves of Catullus , but we don’t manage to get to the entrance gate because it’s a gravel road and it would be dangerous for our bike wheels .

I remember the last time I was in Sirmione, I was studying in France for Erasmus and I came to Italy with some friends, as a tourist. It’s amazing! It has been nearly 20 years ago! Time really flies ! Talking about time… it’s noon already and we have to go back home! We have already cycled  nearly 50 kilometers! On the way back , just left behind Sirmione , I see the tower of San Martino and Solferino and since the signs say only 3 km away…let’s pay a visit!  But soon, we get lost. My husband, like all men , doesn’t want to ask for directions as a principle! Since I don’t have this silly principle, I ask for directions and we soon get to the tower.  While we are getting there , I tell my husband that there is an ossuary, on the right hand side of the road , but as soon as I start explaining what an ossuary is, as soon as hears the words ” skulls ” and ” skeletons ” , his facial exprssion changes and he says, ” Let’s go! Let’s move on!”

We stop for a moment to take some photos of the tower and then look for the way back. The treasure hunt for the way back takes us ages .

Tower of San Martino e Solferino

Tower of San Martino e Solferino

San Martino e Solferino

San Martino e Solferino

We are lost, again, so I rely on Google maps , but after 5 minutes, my phone is dead. We then cycle on the moraine hills . Beautiful landscape , but if you only had a cup of coffee at 9 am , you’ve cycled 60 km, you are cold and hungry, the climb is not exactly what you want to deal with. Eventually we find the Leone shopping mall on our left and then understand that we are cycling in the right direction , towards Brescia. In the center of this town we meet an old lady who, seeing us in trouble asks us “whe-re are you go-ing?” Slowly , enunciating each syllable well , as if we where foreigners, and couldn’t understand her Italian. My husband pretends not to notice , as you know , this is one of the pillars of bike wisdom according to my husband. . .I obviously appreciate her help and reply ” to Brescia .” Then the lady’s attitude change , and she gives me direction not even in Italian but in this village’s old dialect. I thank her, while my husband just nods. I’m starving and I have bad foot cramps . I am cycling very very fast  because I cannot wait to get home . I leave my husband far behind me. When he finally reaches me, with his British aplomb, he asks me : “Sorry love, but …  have they put some hot chili on your ars? “

I can’t stop laughing.

We pass through   Mazzano , Rezzato and after another 15 kilometers we finally get home. I get off my bike , take my empty water bottle, I save my track and take the Garmin device with me. We cycled 92 kilometers . I’m really dead.

As soon as I open my home door, my children run towards me with open arms and ask me ” Mom , you’re finally here! Are you going to play with us now?” . 🙂

My bike track - lake Garda

My bike track – lake Garda

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60 kilometers of joy and a PS for my husband

percorso-171013

(Verione in italiano qui)

The other night I went to sleep with a unstoppable desire to go cycling. When that happens, the next morning, usually, with the same intensity, I find any possible excuse to do something else. Instead, yesterday morning, at 10 to 7am, I woke up full of energy ,despite my little girl, as usual, had kept us awake all night long.
I got my big girl ready for school and we left home for school. She walked next to me while I was rode my Pinarello Dogma 2 with her Winx school backpack on my shoulders.
Once we got to the school , my daughter wanted me to stand at the doorway waiting for her and her class mates to go to class. So I waiting for the school bell to ring,  with my bike at the main school entrance door,  wearing my very tight cycling outfit, my helmet and sunglassed… I felt “slightly” uncomfortable , among other parents, who were, of course, dressed with appropriate clothes, but then I thought “who cares?” I waited for my daughter to go upstairs, I sent her a kiss and then I left  for a solo ride and it was beautiful .

watermill
I realize that I seem repetitive. In the sense that whenever I write about my bike rides , I say that it was beautiful. But it really  is! There have been non super interesting cycling rides, like the one on the Lake Iseo , but generally speaking, I could cycle on the same path 100 times and every single time I would find and appreciate something new , not necessarily around me, maybe even inside myself.

fiume

And while I am pedaling, I often smile . Then if I realize that I’m smiling …I laugh. Yes, I admit, I sound crazy, but if you don’t cycle maybe you can’t understand…

 As I ride on the Gavardina cycling path, I greet the trees , the river , and so on and, as I have already had occasion to write, I get the impression they greet me back.

gavardina

I always meet different kinds of morning cyclists … elderly who, despite their age, are still riding their road bikes and who, as a rule, get furious if you overtake them and do everything possible on earth, even risking a heart attack, to overtake you back to prove themselves they can still make it… grandparents who stroll their grandchildren in a pushchair and who stop every three steps to check if the child is well … middle-aged ladies who are there for the morning jogging who can’t stop chatting… foreign couples who are cycling as tourists on their super equipped, and super heavy bike, with the luggage tied to the bike, who despite that, look always super happy and satisfied … and everyone greets the others…with a nod , a formal ” good morning ” or , more often, with a basic “hello “. It ‘ a greeting that does not cost anything, and that makes you happy . Or at least I am very pleased . Whenever that happens to me, I get the feeling of being in a parallel world, where everyone is kind , where, even if for a nanosecond only, all are friends.
As I wrote on my Facebook page , the bike is good for the heart and the soul.

 PS for my husband only: check my average speed on the way back. I went very fast! Maybe in five year time…but ONE DAY, I AM GOING TO RIDE AS FAST AS YOU DO!laps

Towards the Lake of Garda and back. (82 kilometres of joy)

(Versione in italiano)

Saturday morning-ride:
Brescia Castenedolo – Bedizzole – Padenghe – Soiano – (Lake Garda)  Gavardo – Botticino

today cycling ride
Before leaving, I have a look at ilmeteo.it , othersiwe called, by me,  ” cosmic pessimism “; it forecasts non stop rain from 11am.
I normally sleep 5/6 hours . Tonight , however , I think for the only time since the beginning of this new millennium, I have  slept nine hours and , inexplicably, I am dead !

I go on the balcony and have a look at the skyp.  I do this every morning and like every morning , I realize that I cannot see the sky , as there is the terrace curtain.  But , just in order  to find a plausible excuse for not cycling, I go back inside  and say to my husband : “I think it is going to rain. Pretty soon .” It doesn’t work, he knows I am lying.
We get ready.
Last night my husband put a new pair of  lenses on my sunglasses. These ones are polarized, orange, and are the ideal choice for the bad weather or foggy days.  I wear them and I look fabulous: more or less like an internationally wanted human organs dealer . Beautiful . ( I put the photo of the glasses, avoiding , however, the effect they have on me)

okley polarised lenses
To  complete the Barbamamma autumn / winter look: a new jacket . My husband bought it for me (if it wasn’t  clear yet , he is the one in charge of my cycling outfit ) the winter jacket is black (and so far ok) with a nice ENOUMOUS WHITE BAND that goes from the neck to the end of the zipper. Something very nice to underline your… curves .
Very well. It’s freezing . It is 10 am and 7 degrees Celsius . But it can only get warmer, can’t it? Sure, but if has  snowed all around and a very chilly wind blows very strong…, no, it won’t heat up so much … at least not now.

I place the Garmin device on the bike and I press the GO button. I feel that maybe I missed something , but it works , so I do not worry .
We leave home  and I say to my husband that I’d like to cycle only for about  50 kilometers because I am too sleepy to cycle further more . He answers, “ Of course! ” And when he says “Of course ” , it usually means the opposite.
We go towards the south of Brescia, and while I’m pedaling I think that if one wanted to commit suicide , and he wanted to do it on a bike , this would be the perfect place. Trucks, cars whizzing by , non-existing bike path … a real jewel…

I realize that I have underestimated how annoying the wind can be.  But it also brings an advantage : the sky is opening up and it is deep blue, the view is as far as the eye can see. The mountains of Botticino in the distance are beautiful. The light marble , carved into the rock ,  seems brilliant with the  contrasting green of the pine trees.  I suddenly  think that those marble mountains seem to have been eaten by  a giant dinosaur. Then I think I have to stop watching cartoons with my daughters.

We pass over the highway and head towards Bedizzole to get to the Lake of Garda.

We see the signs of a castle and we would like to see it. My husband turns right,  OBVIOUSLY, not waiting for me. I guess I have spotted the castle, but I have neither the time to pause and see well , or the occasion to tell my husband , because the road is downhill and , of course, he is already at the very end of it.

We follow the narrow road. We do not know where it leads , and we find ourselves in the middle of nowhere, and I must admit this nowhere is beautiful.  Only a few cars , bucolic landscape . This small, county road takes us to the village of San Tommaso and then at a crossroads that we already know and that is tied up to the path that goes down to the lake Garda. (via Bagatte ) My husband , at the entrance of the road, turns to me and says : “See where we ended up ? All planned! . ” Obviously it was a stroke of luck .

We cross the countryside of  Bagatte , PonteZocco and Sedena , then get to  Barcuzzi . Right here , among other things, on October 7 , opened the Ciclovia del Benaco , a  cycling  path that leads up in the province of Mantua , Castiglione delle Stiviere .
It would be nice to do it, but I have read that there are some pieces of dirt road, so you should ride a  mountain bike.

We follow the cycling path towards the lake. the view is truly breathtaking. The sky is deep blue and the clouds look like whipped cream . I am gaining energy . Of course , if I had eaten something , rather than just drink a coffee, maybe I’d feel better ….
Countryside of Soiano (BS)
We cycle next to next to the castle of Padenghe and then turn left, following the path. The road surface is not the best for road bikes because it has rained for the past week . This is perhaps my favorite part of this path. The fields , the hills in front , the snowy mountains … every time it is the same and different. Every single time this landscape gives me so many positive emotions. It is as if these places hold me and wrap me, with their positive energy. I feel free and happy.
Follow the sing "salo'"
If you cycle along the path towards the lake , in Levrini  road, remember to turn right and follow the sign “Salò.”. At the only intersection here, remember not to stop in the middle of the road because it is slightly downhill and it is possible that some cyclist has to suddenly brake because of  for your presence . (I say this because that’s what I did to take some pictures of the wonderful clouds in the blue sky : ) )

Near the Lake of Garda
Cycling towards the lake of Garda

A few meters later , we do not follow the  cycling path (which is on the left though a small forest)  because it certainly would be full of needles and pebbles. So we try a new road and continue straight ahead . Shortly after,  the road then rejoins the main route 25 . The view of the lake is wonderful. Today it is so clear that you can clearly see the peninsula of Sirmione. It is amazing.
We cycle uphill  towards Soiano . Also from here you can see the lake and it is wonderful . We both stop to contemplate the landscape. It seems to be in a fairy tale.

view from padenghe over the Lake of Garda
The sun is warm , the clouds ” turned ” far away and thanks to ilmeteo.it forecasts I am still wearing the polazied lenses and in this sun my eyes are painful.

We go to Polpenazze and the road is very steep.. too steep for me … a guy who is jogging overtakes me … and with the typical dialect from this area, turns and tells me , ” going up is hard here, isn’t it ” Oh yes, it surely is!!

Then, finally, after  Castrezzone and Muscoline  we are in Gavardo . After 60 miles, I’m so hungry that I could eat my husband!

At the table on a bar, on a terrace,  I order a toasted sandwich but it takes too long and it’s freezing outside! It’s better to go and ride!

Gavardo

I have cycled on this cycling path  many, many times, but it has never been like today.

I don’t know if it is because of the marvelous light , the white clouds or  fog  glasses ( ! ), but today this cycling the path is magic.

The river Chiese next to the Gavardina cycling path

Cyclepath Gavardina

” A river Seems a magic thing . A magic , moving , living part of the very earth itself. ” – Laura Gilpin

We then stop to take a couple of pictures. We are speechless looking this wonderful landscape. on the cycling path "la Gavardina" - the mistery treesAn ancient bridge over the river
( Back home , I did a little ‘ research about this river that flows next to the Gavardina. At bottom of the page you will find a few links that I found about this Naviglio and other interesting places nearby)

In Mazzano we leave the cycling path and we continue on the road . We go through  Virle , Rezzato , Caionvico and then finally home .
I notice that my Garmin hasn’t  loaded the map of this ride . Very well! I find out that when you turn it on , you should wait it to display “GPFIX acquired “  otherwise it doesn’t keep record for your track.

( I am posting my husband’s bike tracks because he had waited for the ” GPFix acquired” signal)

We cycled for nearly 4 and a half hours . Apart from the first hour, it was really beautiful. Each ride  is unique and each time it really gives me so much energy . Kilometers cycled today : 82.9 . Just a nice ” shot ride” as my husband would call it ! 😉

track map from the satelliteriepilogo
Places of interest:
Castle Bedizzole :
http://www.5castellibedizzole.it/5castelli/note % 20castelli/castbed.html
http://www.mondimedievali.net/castelli/lombardia/brescia/bedizzole.htm
http://www.bresciainvetrina.it/bresciaturismo/bassabresciana_bedizzole.htm

Padenghe Castle
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Padenghe_sul_Garda

Archaeological Museum of Gavardo
http://www.comune.gavardo.bs.it/museoarcheologico

Fashion Museum – Ciliverghe of Mazzano
http://www.museimazzucchelli.it/

The Naviglio Grande
http://www.silvanodanesi.info/?page_id=188
http://www.lombardiabeniculturali.it/dolly/oggetti/443/bookreader/ # page/1/mode/2up

Spin the wheel…100!!! and more…

Spin the wheel, spin the wheel … 100 100 100 100 ! 100 ! ! In fact, to be precise “spin the  wheel for 117 km” ! I’m really enthusiastic of my performance!

100! 100! 100!

A step back … last night I was up until 2 AM to post the pictures photos of “Ari rides her bike” onto Instagram, then when , under the blankets, I suddenly woke up with my cell phone in my hand, I realised it was time to sleep, listening to the usual chamber orchestra : the melodious sound of the snoring of my husband.

At 3am my oldest daughter wakes me up because of a bad cold : her nose is bleeding. Very good …. I’m beginning to suspect that this is going to be a long and stormy night . At 3 and a half I go back to sleep . My husband, is still sleeping like a baby. (a baby without a cold) .  At 4 my little girl wakes up , crying like never before. And she goes on to cry until 5 and a half. So, at first  we camp on the couch in the living room , side by side , with the Winnie the Pooh cover. Comfortable …. then at 6 am, when I finally have found the perfect Tetris positioning , with one arm under her pillow and the other resting on the Ikea pink coffee table, which now stands in our living room , she wakes up and wants to go in the big bed . Very well. Let’s say that if it had been a long and stormy night , perhaps, it would have been better .

At 8 am the happy family is already active. When I open my eyes and realize it’s Saturday and I promised my husband that I would go riding with him to have the complete tour of Lake Iseo , I shut my eyes , squeezing them very strongly , hoping that this is just a very bad nightmare. But no, it is NOT . I really have to go . I promised myself that today, for the first time in my life , I will ride for 100 kilometers and I promised him that I’ll manage it. And I do not want to disappoint him, and, first of all, I don’t want to disappoint myself. I make my coffee , and still asleep , I forget to add sugar in it and it tastes so horrible, that I suddenly wake up! My husband tells me: ” But how nice that once in a while both girls have slept all night long!”
Then he goes to the fridge and takes out his breakfast, which he always prepares carefully the night before.

colazione-marito-e-io

From this picture your can easily spot who the family athlete is. And who is not.

It takes me at least five long minutes to wear my contact lenses and while I try to reach my target (my eye)  I think, ” But why on earth am I doing this?!?!? I could go back bed or lay on the couch in my pajamas! ” But it is time to go. I get dressed , as usual , in black, I give a look at myself in the mirror and , as always , I look like that “beautiful” Barbamamma ,but..never mind.  I go to the garage, with my shoes with hooks, I hurl a figure … I put my hand on the bike, pat the saddle and I find myself saying , “Goodmorning!”

I TALKED WITH MY BIKE .

I swear I did it. I gave her a good morning and I told her that I have been missing her, and I apologize for being out during the week , with my mountain bike . The most dramatic thing is that I realized that this is not normal , only when I reported the matter to a person who commented one my posst here on the blog .
We leave home, heading towards Lake Iseo . The sky is gloomy . I ride next to my  husband and I ask him ” do you think it is going to rain ? “. He turns and says, very sure of himself “The weather can only get better”  Ok , if he says so… We cross the center of Brescia , which on Saturday mornings , with the open-air-market , it is even more beautiful than usual. We then take Volturno road and I think “I am a crazy , unconscious. For once in my life I could have breakfast , I mean a decent breakfast , not just coffee, even without sugar in it! I am sure I’ll never make it today! My legs feel already heavy , I have the usual tingling in his left knee . I’m tired , I’m hungry… I wanna go back home! ” My husband turns  his head to me and asks ” is Everything okay my little puppy? ” I give him one of my best smiles and say “I feel excellent , my love! “

We cross Gussago and Rodengo Saiano , then turn right and go up to Ome . At the top of the hill, I turn my sight to the left as if in search of something and I spot, in the green of Franciacorta , the country home of a dear friend of mine who died only a few years ago and an infinite sadness comes over me . Surrounded by vineyards , I am overwhelmed with memories and thoughts, then I look at the sky in search of comfort and it is cloudy and dark. It looks sad , too.

We ride next to the natural paradise of the “torbiere” and we finally get to Iseo, where you begin to glimpse the lake. We continue on the road that I had already rode last week, and cross Paratico , over the bridge, we are now in Sarnico , in the county of  Bergamo. This is where we ended up to last week and at that time it seemed to be already too much for me.  If I stop to think  that this is where our tour is going to START today , I’d like to die, so I take the decision to tell  myself that it is going to be very easy . And I have a very high power of persuasion , because I believe it!

We follow a piece of cycle path along the lakeside, which I like so much. The lake here has a kind of magic power.

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Soon after we leave the lake and follow the road that runs along, just higher . My husband had told me that along these roads he had seen some very strange trees which have roots that seem to grow vertically. I see them too, I can hardly believe my eyes!  Picturesque , but at the same time , I find very disturbing. The photos are not the best, but the choice was to  place myself. 1) next to the fence 2) in the middle of the road and being smashed within a second by a car. I opted for the solution number 1.piante

We cross a couple of tunnels and survive to fear only by a miracle. My husband lets me go ahead, but I feel guilty because riding behind is much more dangerous . I love him so much also for these small, big gestures. Riding a bike in a tunnel is too much for me. The roar of the engine of a motorbike which pulls over me, scares me to death. I feel that my legs are trembling with fear. I cannot even close my eyes , otherwise I’d crash . I begin to count the pedal rides to try to figure out how many meters are left to the end of this nightmare. I am not  wearing my  photochromic sunglass lenses (because, spotting them in my Okley case,I ‘ve always wondered what they were for … as you can guess my husband takes care of my equipment. If it was for me I’d still be wearing the posh city sunglasses….) However , the tunnel, as said, are a real nightmare for me! We arrive in Tavernole Bergamo , from which we see Montisola, a big, amazing island in the middle of the lake. I have been living around here for 41 and this is the first time in my life I am here on the lake!

Suddenly my legs aren’t pushing anymore; my husband is now a very little (very very very indeed) dot ahead of me. I look at the elevation on my Garmin and I see that, in fact , the road is uphill. The climb is minimal, but I can feel each of the 40 kilometers that I have already rode. And I wonder how I’ll make it for another 80 … better not think about it.

Sarnico , Zù , we go through the scenic Orrido and then we get to Castro. I begin to have visions. … I think it ‘s time to eat an energy bar ( which, by the way, sounds sooooo athlete!) . Obviously I chose the bar at random at the supermarket, it is by Enervit , and it contains magnesium or something similar, and, beyond any expectation, it’s delicious !
I feel that I am regaining energy .

pausa-enervitEcco che mando un bacio al mio fotografo, mio marito.

We arrive and cross Lovere to come again in the territory of Brescia , in Pisogne . We decide to stop for a coffee. As soon as we are about to cross the train level crossing , the bars go down , and a lifetime later, here comes the train . What a thrill ! It’s called train of flavors and , through the windows , I see many people sitting at lunch. I ‘m starving , by the way .Treno dei sapori, a Pisogne (BS)

In my imagination Pisogne was a faraway place, where, at the elementary school, they would led me to pick chestnuts. And today, many years later, I find out that it is a fascinating place , a small ancient village with a beautiful bell tower . (the picture is horrible , but trust me on word )pisogne

So, once home, I can tell and I find that the request for Santa Maria della Neve , in the town center , is home to the frescoes by Romanino .

In a bar on the lake , we stop to rest. I order a  Coca Cola which is probably the disgusting in the world, which tastes of everything except from a Coca Cola. Really undrinkable! While my husband drinks his cappuccino with my Coca Cola, (and when I say “with” i really mean it. A sip of cappuccino and a drink of my Coca Cola…)  I take some pictures of the small harbor. The clouds are now less “angry” and a few sun rays are shining on  the boats. On the catwalk there are  three giant colorful pinwheels . It suddenly seems to be in a non-place, and I am in peace with myself. This feeling lasts a nanosecond because it is already time to go.Porticciolo di Pisogne

My friend Cristina , the Bionic Woman, calls me just before I am back on my bike . When I tell her that we did 60 km and that we lack another 60, she says “f**k, Ari , then you’re already there then! ” “No, Cristina ,” I say , I’m only halfway through!” I replied.  She insists: “No! Look : when you turn the ass to get back, the worst is over , now it’s as if you were already home .” I do not know what magic power she has on me, but I trust her and I regain all my energies. I am ready to go!Mega girandole sul porticciolo di Pisogne

We leave Pisogne behind , and take a fantastic cycling path, which is…impossible to be spotted ! Iam going to get into a tunnel, when , fortunately, my husband who is behind me ( Oh yes! ! he was BEHIND !) yelled at me to turn right , in a charming little tunnel reserved to bikes ( suggestive , but for me, that I suffer from claustrophobia , it is , however, a nightmare. A suggestive nightmare, but still a nightmare) .Vello
From here the path is  really cool ! It’s the old road, which was re-opened to bikes only recently, after 3 years, due to landslides . My husband told me that on Sundays, and, anyway, in the summer season , it  is full of people. Today we are alone , apart from the whispering of the wind and the waves of the lake. Pure poetry .ciclabile-lago-d'iseo

In Toline this magnificent road ends and you are back on the main road . You cross Marone , Marasino and Sulzano. As I read through a square in Sulzano on a banner over my head ” FESTIVAL OF WILD PIG” and I thank God that I am wearin ​​, despite the 21 degrees today, long pants . With my weight and my legs yelling me” wax us, pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeee ” I would have risked being taken as the festival testimonial!"il marito"

We’re going towards Iseo when just before me , I see the BEE GEES . I cannot believe my eyes! From behind : they look identical ! I overtake them and I am speechless ! There are two ladies in their seventies , dressed with a racing t-shirt and shorts as if they were there for a road cycling competition, with half-finger gloves , and big and heavy sunglasses from the ‘70ies. Just ahead of them: their personal trainer! Sooooooooooooo cool!!!

Vista della sponda bergamasca, da quella bresciana

I love to ride my bike !

Meanwhile, I keep looking at my Garmin device. I never rode for a 100 kilometers in a day and pray Lord to get a puncture : it has never happened in life and I don’t want it to happen now. I am living my dream. Then I begin to think : “If it happens now, I am going to push my bike until I reach a 100  kilometers” and I realize that a streak of madness took citizenship in my head.

We are back in Ome, now . At that precise moment my Garmin tells me that time has come! 100 kilometers. I stop to “celebrate” the moment and from my back pocket I pull out what one would never expect : a fantastic  biological cereal and cereal apple by Hipp , suitable for children 1 to 3 years. Maybe because I was all galvanized , but it seems to me has given me energy!Super poteri : a me!!!!!!!!!!!!

In  Gussago we stopped for refreshment at the fountain and then off to home. In Cellatica I really do my best . I ride  37 Km/h and I leave my husband behing. ( I am super excited !) . Just start climbing the Fantasina , when my husband over takes me, riding sooooooo fast. He turns his head and gives me THAT  look:  I am dead.

We arrive home after nearly six hours, and 5 hours and 10 of actual pedaling . I’m not tired , I am not as fresh as a spring rose, but to be honest, it was not difficult . I was expecting more . More emotions, more feelings, paradoxically, even more effort.

I started (or rather re-started ) to ride a bike at the end of April, riding for 15 km . Up to now  I’ve rode for over 1600km . Never in my life I had gone for a 100 in a single day . It was my dream . And, with commitment, perseverance and sweat I did it today. But perhaps the Italian poet Leopardi was right… Or at least , this was my “Saturday in the village” .Ecco il mio percorso, casa-giro del lago d'Iseo-casa.

Next step : 150 kilometers.

My first uphill – Brescia – Sant’Eusebio and back

As I wrote on my Facebook page,as soon as I just got at the top of the hill of Sant ‘ Eusebio : “Beyond all expectations … from Brescia to the hill of Sant Eusebio , 20 km, 500 meters in altitude. You can do whatever you want to do, if you really want it and I did I ! ”
I did not know , frankly, that I would have made it , but in the end , I hoped so ! When I was a child, I used to come this way to go the mountains and I hated it because of the uncountable  curves … and I always felt sick. Imagine on a bike!
I left Brescia , as usual  and  took the Triumplina road . Nightmare. I would have like to go back home immediately . Traffic, non-existent or impractical cycling path. Then we turn right towards Nave. I am already tired.  Here the traffic begins to decrease and it goes more secure (in the sense : with less fear of having an accident ) . And just after Caino , the climb begins.  It was the first time I did it and I must say that I stopped at least 3 times during the climb. The official excuse was that I was thirsty and I had to stop and drink slowly , the real one is that I felt like dying !
In fact, now that four months have passed since the first time , looking back , it seems almost impossible that I found the climb so hard , because it’s a soft, pleasant, uphill. However, when , FINALLY , I got to the top, I was super happy!

 

After the photo that immortalized my climb to the top, we went down from Vallio Terme. For this descent , which is beautiful , it would be advisable to have a jacket . I had , but I hadn’t fully zipped it, which produced a parachute effect …not the best thing to be done.

The road is very steep .
after nearly 6 months of bike and more than 1500 km, I have not yet learned to hold the handlebars from the bottom, and now I sincerely cataloged this thing in my personal  folder of the missions impossible ( in which we find also: understand a spy movie , let the plants on my terrace to survive … ) . Pedaling down towards Vallio Terme not knowing how to brake from the bottom of the handlebar, means horrible fingers cramps!

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Then we arrived in Gavardo , you resume the path and back to Brescia.

After the effort of the climb , a bit of flat cycling path can only warm the heart ! 🙂 Very nice ride !