Slept like the proverbial log last
night. Thought it had been a hard day yesterday. After breakfast, we left the
hotel and Sirolo and rolled down to sea level for a 13km
run along pan flat roads along the seashore. There were lots of cyclists out on
gleaming Colnago's and the like - made ours look a bit tatty! After a while two joined us
and rode with us along the coastal strip for a couple of kilometres. Konrad got the
one who spoke a little English, mine didn't, but that didn't stop him continually talking
to me the whole time. He didn't seem the least bit bothered that I couldn't
understand a word he was saying to me. Still, it was fun trying. They left us
at Porto Recanati, after kindly showing us the road for Recanati. This was another
good road with a steady gradient.
Twelve kilometres of almost continuous climbing later
we reached Recanati, where once again, it was market
day. Lots of people around in this very pretty town. Piazza Leopardi is particularly picturesque, with its statue
of Giacomo Leopardi - who I believe is the chap who wrote a
lot of very depressing poetry? (Sorry poetry lovers).
Once again, everyone was very friendly, and came over
to chat with us. One of the stall holders told us his daughter worked in London, and
that he went over to visit when he could. If I remember rightly he was the one who
first warned us about the climb up to Cingoli with an arm
raised skywards. So, something to look forward to then.
From Recanati, we
headed for Montefano along a rolling ridge, after which we bore right and plunged down to
cross the river Fiumicelle. Shortly after crossing the river, there was a road off
to the left (not signposted). There was a sign which read something like 'For
residents only', but it was obvious on the map that this road led to Cingoli, so we took it anyway. After about 2 kilometres,
we realised that the sign probably said more than 'Residents Only', as we were met by a
barrier at the other side of which, major work was going on to repair a small collapsed
bridge. I say 'going on'. Actually, nothing was going on at all, there was
nobody in sight, so, we wheeled the bikes around the barrier and over the makeshift bridge
and carried on. This road was idyllic. A bit bumpy in parts, but so quiet, and
through some lovely countryside. It was very hot now (30c again), so we decided to
stop and eat our pannini's and rest under some lovely willow trees along the
roadside. We could see the road starting to climb not too far ahead.
Make no bones about it, the climb up to Cingoli was pretty tough, especially in this heat.
Without doubt, the bottom third of the climb is the steepest, it does get easier nearer
the top, but I found my gear of 26x26 quite adequate even with the loaded panniers.
We took it easy all the way up, and I did stop at one point to tip half a litre of water
over myself. By this time there were a few more cyclists on the climb, obviously a
favourite training run. You do get some funny looks when they see you struggling up
these hills with heavy panniers that are trying to drag you back down.
We pulled in to the town, and soon found our hotel,
the Hotel Diana. The owner (Luigi Cippilloni) was
standing outside obviously looking out for us, and he greeted us like long lost friends -
so different from the chap in Sirolo. Added to that,
his wife was sat in the hotel reception area watching the Giro on TV, and she beckoned us
to come and sit down with her on the sofa to watch the end. Meanwhile, he went and
got us a couple of cold drinks. Heaven! To make this the perfect end to a
perfect day, she explained to us that David Mackenzie of the Linda McCartney team had been
away in a lone break for most of the race, and it was great to see that tactic come off
for once and for him to win! Once the race was over, we went up to the room,
showered and changed. I noticed that my nose was peeling a bit, and that my right
leg was a bit burnt. Obviously more lotion required!
We went for a walk around the town before tea, and it
really is a lovely old place. Very medieval looking. The views from the town
are fantastic, looking down over the rolling hills below, to the sea on the far horizon.
It certainly lives up to its name of the 'Balcony of the
Marche'. There are lots of very old looking churches in the town, and some of
the buildings look as though they've been patched up after earthquake damage.
We went back to the hotel for our dinner. There
was one chap in there apart from us. He was wearing a very grand uniform, and I
assumed he was the Chief of Police or something. He ate his meal, drank half a
bottle of red wine and then left. Soon after another chap in the same uniform came
in, had his meal and finished off the other half bottle. It turned out they were not
police at all, but something to do with the 'Fiscal' side of things, tax etc. They
were there to oversee the local referendum that was going on at the time. It seems
they're not well liked (a bit like our tax man I suppose), though they seemed friendly
enough to us.
Our meal was excellent. Bruschetta Pomodoro
with local Pruscetto crudo and aubergines followed by home made Ravioli (cheese and meat),
home made Tiramisu and all washed down with a couple of bottles of Verdecchio dei Castelli
di Jesi Classico!