Days 101 & 102: Over the Passo delle Radici

Hi readers, we finally made it to Lucca today. It hasn’t been easy though!

Yesterday’s ride started well, we blasted up the road from Modena with clearing skies ahead. After reaching the foothills we realised that there were two roads weaving their way up the valley. One followed the river up a gradual incline, the other was on the opposite side of the river and climbed its way up the side of the valley. We were on the more difficult road! After chugging our way to the top, both of us were not feeling at our best. We descended back into the valley and eventually linked up with the other road. How frustrating!

As we followed this road steadily up the valley, the scenery became more and more stunning. On the plus side we were treated to some stunning views, however both of us were left wondering when the climb would end. The map had shown mountains, but we certainly didn’t expect this sort of road!

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As we continued up the relentless gradient, the wind began rising to a gale! We dived into a well placed bar for some pizza for lunch. After refuelling, we continued our seemingly endless slog up the mountain. It just wouldn’t let up! By the time we reached the summit, both of us were exhausted and it was past sunset. There was a hotel at the top, which who’s sky high prices just wouldn’t budge as we unsuccessfully tried to negotiate. We ended up beginning the descent in near total darkness. Fortunately for us, a few kilometres down the road there was another hotel which were far more responsive to our pleas!

We awoke the next morning aching all over! Fortunately for us, the only way from here to Lucca was downhill. Unfortunately though, the weather had taken a turn for the worse overnight. We descended through the clouds along a freezing cold, wet road for the whole ride.

Eventually, two nearly drowned Matt’s arrived in Lucca and promptly checked in to a well priced B&B to escape the rain. We’ve spent the afternoon and evening attempting to dry our cycling gear, thank goodness that our panniers have remained as solid as they look!

Tomorrow we hope to see both Lucca and Pisa before heading back to the Via Francigena, a brilliant pilgrimage route that runs from Canterbury back in the UK all the way to Rome! With any luck we’ll find a campsite and hit the road again the next day!

Matt 2

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