The Italian job -part deux

Written by on February 19, 2012 in Travel - No comments

The view on route to Verruchio

As you, dear reader, might remember, in the previous article, I distinctively argued that Italy, and more so Emilia-Romagna, represented all things bright and beautiful. I still do maintain all those things, and I’m still loving it.

Last September, I went down to my friends at the Hotel Adlon in Riccione doing a reckie for the club’s next training camp in May 2012. Mind you, when I say ”training camp”, I really mean a week’s worth of fun, food and glorious scenery during our tours along the stunning countryside in Emilia-Romagna. Basically, you get back home 2 pounds heavier than when you left.

This time, I promised myself not to indulge too much in all the local specialties. Chef Daniele at the hotel cooked up for breakfast, after bike brunch, and dinner.

Let me paint you the picture how each day (food wise) looks like:

Really early o’clock:
Rise and shine, stumbling out of bed, trying desperately to find the bog without hitting anything with your pinkie.

After San Marino - down hill after this point!

An hour and half later o’clock:
Outside the locked door to the dining hall, with some even earlier German and French guests, eagerly waiting for the colazione.

Finishing the colazione, having stuffed one’s gob with espresso, breads, seven types of cheese, and at least the same amount of salciccias and of course finishing it off with more coffee and juice, one stumbles out filled to the rim – for a quick relief, before the guided tour starts.

Oh bugger, the tour starts o’clock:
Good old Francesco, the head Guide, assembles all waiting cyclists with a cheerful “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears” and behold today’s tours!

San Marino in the Background

Then you really have to decide whether you’d go with the Café Latte group, or if you’d fancy the painstaking Espresso group where all participants have shaved oiled legs, no one weighing more than 150 pounds. One could opt for the in the middle of the road option, The Tiramisú squad – fast, but not too fast – long, but not to long type of option.

The Route - 85 km of picturesgue countryside and small villages.

The Ride Profile - Over 1000 meters of climbing

Me? Well being on my own, I had the privilege of again having my own private guide, Enrico. I had my eye on a particular route called the “Cuckold’s Tour”! After recovering from an almost laugh induced hart failure I realized that my friends at the Rimini Tourist Board got lost somewhere in translation as it were. Surely they must have meant “The Cuckoo’s Tour”, no?

Hey Giorgio(me), there’s only one big climb left, says Enrico

The route is absolutely mind blowing – about 85 km with approximately 1000 meters worth of climbing, passing through picturesque towns and villages and of course through the small state of San Marino. Perhaps you didn’t know that within the boundaries of Italy, there are two autonomous states, San Marino and The Vatican State. Considering that “Italy” as we know it today, didn’t really exist prior to 1861, when Garibaldi succeeded in uniting the various small states in the Apennine Peninsula.

The route starts gently enough and by the 35 km mark, you reach a fantastic little town with the most beautiful name I’ve ever come across, Sant’ Arcangelo di Romagna. A small vibrant town with no more than about 23,000 inhabitants, and of course a castle, the Rocca Malatestiana, right in the middle of it.

After an additional 16 kms you’re beginning to see road signs pointing towards the small town of Verrucchio where a reward in form of an espresso and pane con prosciutto awaits the ones who managed the 4 km climb with a view overlooking the valley. Take your time to enjoy your coffee, have a gelato and just do what the Romans do, in this case relax. ‘Cause you’ll need it.

On yer bike and off you go – enjoy the scenery and the 2 km descent while you can, next stop – San Marino!

After the nice fast descent an eight Kilometer ascent is in front of you. If you plan to do the route during summer, remember to fill your water bottles in Verrucchio. The summer months in Italy can be hot, really hot, about 30-35 degrees Celsius (86-90 degrees Fahrenheit).

Giorgio’s reaction to Enricos info!

The penultimate stage for the day, the climb to San Marino, is long and comes in two steps. The second step kicks of right when you think you’ve finished, think again my friend, because the final ascent to San Marino is truly an epic climb. Sit on your saddle, move slightly back, put your hands right on the handlebars, change down a click or two and find your own rhythm. Don’t think, it only makes it worse, just find your cadence and move those pedals in a steady beat, what ever you do, don’t stop until you reach San Marino.

The final 27 km’s to Riccione is 27 km’s worth of easy cycling, downhill all the way. When you finally arrive to hotel Adlon in Riccione, you are tired, sweaty and so full of endorphins you could power Las Vegas!

The “After Bike Brunch” is next stop.. Chef Daniele with crew has prepared a little something for all those hungry and tired cyclists. There’s pizza slices, bread, cheeses, soups, desserts. Wash it all down with a glass or two of the local Sangiovese wine.

If you’re still awake, a fantastic dinner buffet is served in the dinner lounge. OMG! They have everything you’d ever wanted to experience in Italian cuisine! The starters for one thing. The small dishes keep coming in, all different, it never stops. Then there’s the secundo piatti – at least three different pastas. The third dish is either fish or meat. Here Chef Daniele personally carves slices of meat or fish and serves it on to your plate. Finally yet importantly, there’s the dolce – the desserts, nuff said?

Did I mention I gained 4 kilos after my cycling trip?

More info:
http://www.comune.santarcangelo.rn.it/
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Europe/Italy/Emilia-Romagna/Rimini/Santarcangelo_di_Romagna/Santarcangelo_di_Romagna/home.html
http://www.sanmarinosite.com/eng/index.php

Georg Gyllenfjell

About Georg Gyllenfjell

I live on a Swedish island, situated in the Baltic Sea, called Gotland with my wife. Together we have two grown up boys ages 21 and 24. I just love the cycling scene! It's not so much about racing per se, but rather the cycling life style you know.. The cycling fashion, the notion of traveling abroad on cycling camps or holidays. The sunday club run with your club mates to a local café some 50-60 km's away. The racing part for me, is something I just might do if I feel like it. For me the important thing is the road to the event, not so much the event itself. Which brings me to my other passion which is Italy. I love to cook, and combine good food with good wine - all Italian! When it comes to cycling; I'm the president of a local cycling club since 2008 and I just might get elected to the Regional Cycling Association as well. Besides cycling, I'm a food and wine junkie - and I also take photographs which I turn into posters. On everyday basis, I am the co-owner of a small recently started advertising company called "Isle of Design" where I am the Creative Director. Take care G

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