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!
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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 .
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 )
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.
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!
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) .
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 .
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!
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!!!
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!
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” .
Next step : 150 kilometers.